This selection of photos is from our last visit in November 2017. I’m sharing it in lieu of a future review.
It’s official: I have completely lost track of how many times we have been to Barcelona. So, what drives us to visit this city again and again? And isn’t it boring to go to the same place every year?
Well, my first time in Barcelona was a mere stopover on the way to Girona, to visit the legendary El Cellar de Can Roca. Not that I knew the first thing about this restaurant at the time. And being blown away by that first experience, we keep coming back for more. But perhaps it was not just a tourist destination for me to begin with – the more we go there, the more new places we discover, the more we want to come back.
Barcelona has everything for everyone. You can do touristy things (sights and food included), or you can go on exploring off the beaten track. People are friendly and the food, generally, is pretty amazing whether it’s a cheap local tapas bar or a more up-market establishment.
Here’s my list of favourites, in no particular order. No doubt I will add more places with my next visit.
- Tickets: Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164 – 08015 Barcelona
- Enigma: Carrer Sepúlveda 38-40, corner with Entença – 08015 – Barcelona
- Hoja Santa: Avenida Mistral, 54-56 – 08015 Barcelona
- Nino Viejo: Avenida Mistral, 54-56 – 08015 Barcelona
- Bodega 1900: Calle Tamarit, 91- 08015 Barcelona
- Tapas 24: Carrer de la Diputació, 269, 08007 Barcelona
- Rocambolesc Gelateria: La Rambla, 51-59, 08002 Barcelona
- El Xampanyet: Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona
- Xiringuito Escriba: Avinguda Litoral, 62, 08005 Barcelona
- El Bitxo: Verdaguer i Callas 9, 08003 Barcelona
As the LA Times critic, Jonathan Gold, cleverly points out, nobody just happens to eat at Noma. It’s become an institution and a Mecca for the food enthusiasts and chefs alike. Privileged as I feel to be able to compare the new establishment to the “old” Noma, I am also deeply impressed with how it managed to re-invent itself once again.
It seems that the ethos that defined the Noma we all got to know and love are still there. If anything, it’s even more seasonal and even more inventive.
No meat on the menu today. It’s the seafood season and the menu is an extravaganza of everything that a Nordic sea has to offer. It starts with the sea snail broth. The taste is delicate and hearty, quite unexpected really.
The dishes that follow in a metronome fashion do not fail to excite: venus clams, the mussel, the dried fruit and shrimps, trout roe and eggs.
It’s hard not to be fooled by these beautifully presented and minimalist dishes. The tastes are easy and clean, which no doubt took hours (if not days) to orchestrate.
The sea food platter will forever stay in my memory, if only just because of the hundred-year-old mahogany clams that survived through the two world wars and everything that follows, only to end up on our table.
The horse mussel ragout is impressive even to the most determined meat-eater. If this was a blind-tasting event, I would never even dream of guessing the key ingredient.
The main dish of the evening, the head of the cod, is simply wow. It’s tender and unbelievably tasty. It is like a perfect exclamation mark in this dining experience.
The desserts – the sea themed of course – are what reminded me once again about Rene’s unyielding determination to avoid sugar. Do not expect a chocolate for the road. Pear and kelp ice cream; cloudberries and pine cones; sugar kelp tart; plankton cake. Only at Noma.
So, you’ve made it to our Travel section. Well done! But this is of course not really a travel blog, so do not expect a list of attractions to visit. You can find plenty of those on TripAdvisor and VisitCopenhagen.com. Having said that, I cannot resist this quote from The Independent, as I can echo what it says, but from the food perspective.
“Copenhagen is regularly voted the happiest city in the world, and has in recent years become something of a beacon for hipsters, given its eminently Instagrammable streets and the supremacy of Danish design”. – The Independent
And why not be happy? Rene Redzepi and Noma not only put Copenhagen on the tourist map again. But they also contributed to this city’s exploding food scene. Former sous chefs, apprentices and mere admirers. The new Nordic cuisine is a force to be reckoned with.
So, here’s my list of the places to try. Bear in mind, the reservations for the first two may be tricky (to say the least).
- Noma: Refshalevej 96, 1432 København K
- Geranium: Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 8, 2100 København Ø
- Stud!o: Havnegade 44, 1058 København K
- Amass: Refshalevej 153, 1432 København K
- Bror: Skt. Peders Stræde 24A, 1453 København K
- Hija de Sanchez: 8 Slagterboderne, 1716 København V
- Restaurant Shonnemann: Hauser Plads 16, 1127 København K
It’s not your usual cookbook. The back story to this one is as remarkable, as the recipes it contains and as the chefs that contributed them. The Expo 2015 in Milan had a theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, which gave Massimo the idea to set up a pop up serving food cooked with the waste from Expo.
“I invited friends and colleagues to cook during the six months of Expo. I called forty chefs in one day asking for their support. Most of them said, “Yes, we will come,” even before I posed the question. Far too often at our restaurants and the food festivals we attend, we are only speaking to the converted. I asked them all, “Wouldn’t it be refreshing to cook for people who had no idea who we were?” – Massimo Bottura
And so they came. The rock stars of modern cuisine – Ferran and Albert Adria, Alex Atala, Joan Roca, Rene Redzepi, Matt Orlando, Alain Ducasse – just to name a few.
Each chapter has a story about the chefs in question, often with funny anecdotes about their experience in Milan. You can almost hear Massimo’s voice, as you read through these nostalgic and warm memories. It’s his tribute to his friends, as much as a contribution to the good cause.
The recipes , some simple, some not so simple, have one common theme: making extraordinary food out of less then perfect ingredients. See, for instance, Ragu of Everything (Ferran & Albert Adria), Chicken on Sticks with Soy Sauce and Popcorn (Alex Atala), Salmorejo (Joan Roca), Hamburger alla Parmigiana with Eggplant chips and Apple Puree (Antonio, Alberto & Giovanni Santini).
The two I already tried are Summer Vegetables and Beans and Pasta with Mint and Breadcrumb Pesto, both by Massimo Bottura himself. The last one can also be viewed on Munchies. So many more to try!
Ever since this place opened in 2016, it’s been on our list of places to visit. The time has come and we finally managed to get ourselves over there this Easter.
The venue is great, in a typical Nordic modern style, very spacious and cool. The restaurant is adjacent to a quaint bar with the same name, where diners can have their pre- or post- dinner drinks.
The place already has a Michelin star, so we decided to go for a 8 servings tasting menu to try as much as this restaurant has to offer. And what a big mistake.
Neither of the first two courses (Lumpfish Roe & Baerii Sturgeon) were particularly impressive. The Yellow Beets that followed were interesting, but rather oily. The Lumpfish Head to Tail was the only course of the whole menu that I actually liked. With every subsequent course that followed the promise of an enjoyable meal got fainter.
As we were waiting for the courses to come, I was reading this review in The Telegraph and wondering to myself which restaurant that writer visited, as I failed to match his description to my immediate experience. At the end, presented with the €200 per person bill, we had nothing but a soured feeling of being cheated. So, is it the new Noma? Definitely not.