Restaurant: Tickets Bar Barcelona Spain
Location: Barcelona, Spain Chefs: Albert and Ferran Adrià (El Bulli)
Michelin stars: 1
World’s 50 Best ranking: 29
Despite the fact that the Barcelona tapas restaurant Tickets Bar by Ferran and Albert Adrià has ninety seats and more turnover than a typical fine dining destination, it’s still practically impenetrable and reservations are notoriously difficult.
After over 6 months trying to get reservations at the Adria brother’s Tickets Bar in Barcelona we decided that desperate measures were in order. Here is our guide to how we managed to eat at Tickets Bar, one of the toughest restaurants in the world to eat at, without a reservation.
We decided to fly to Barcelona from LA-that was our plan in a nutshell. Little did we know that our already ridiculously over-the-top crazy journey would quickly turn into longer than 5,995 miles, we anticipated.
We flew from LAX to Heathrow (London), to catch our connecting flight leaving from Stansted Airport- a smaller airport in the London about an hours drive/train ride from Heathrow.
We missed our connecting flight to Barcelona due to Stansted being insanely busy. At LAX, JFK, SYDNEY and most other international airports, if a passenger is about to miss a closing flight they are ushered through quickly. This is not the case at Stansted! You are made to wait no matter what!
Worst of all, we were flying ‘Ryan Air’ (not recommended) so had to re-book and repay, all due to the impenetrable airport lines.
Here we are 16 hours into our journey and out of pocket another $600. Not a great start to our gastronomic adventure.
Another 6 hours later we finally arrived at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Worn out, but not beat down, we grabbed a taxi and threw down our bags down at our air ‘bnb’ apartment to go and have a glimpse of what we had come for.
Even after the long journey we wanted to go check out Tickets bar and see how we were going to wing a reservation. After all we had traveled to Barcelona to eat the world’s best tapas!
As I mentioned above we had tried for 6 months to get a booking. Reservations are notoriously difficult- the online booking system is supposed to be the only way but the online booking system never ever has availability. We decided that we would ‘wing-it’ and fly to Barcelona, now that we were here nothing was going to stop us.
We arrived at Tickets after a quick stop off for a G&T (Gin and Tonic is the cocktail du jour in Barcelona) where we were met by a ‘Ringmaster’ (the Ringmaster is the gate-keeper outside Tickets, an no one without a booking gets passed her).
With the help of my G&T I confidently gave a long-winded story that we flew all the way to Barcelona just to eat at Tickets as we had tried for 6 months to get a booking online. Luck was on our side that night, the courage from the G&T probably helped my cause. My new found friend-‘The Ringmaster’ told us to come back on Tues and she would be sure to get us a seat. (we arrived on Saturday night so had 2 days in lieu) – We came back Tuesday and sure as our Ringmaster friend had promised we were in!
We came back Tuesday and sure as our Ringmaster friend had promised we were in!
Tickets bar is a perfect contradiction, busy and chaotic while maintaining a very chilled out and relaxed vibe for the customers, The performers/chefs are constantly ‘on’ and moving and handling everything they touch with care and precision. The waiters buzz around making sure that they explain everything, and that the edible art installations arrive on time.
We began with pre-dinner Cava, Catalan’s answer to champagne, and in my opinion better, its fresher and is crisp and dry, and oysters with ponzu topped with ‘sphere-ified’ caviar to compliment the Cava. We then had ‘Olives’ a staple at molecular gastronomy style restaurants.
If you have not had the pleasure, these ‘olives’ which are also served at The Bazaar at the SLS in Beverly Hills, are a thing olive-like skin that is usually filled with an infused olive oil, they look like olives and even taste like olives, but the texture and experience is unique and incredible.
Watermelon injected with Sangria was next, a strong alcohol taste (which I love) and very refreshing. We were given metal ‘forceps’ to to eat this with. ‘Peanuts’ served on top of a bowl of actual peanuts covered with cling wrap, the sweet little praline-sculpted into peanuts were served delicately on top of the cling wrap.
The next small plates came out quickly without much down time in between. Razor clams, simple and succulent, made in Catalan-style tomato, braised artichoke with quail egg and ‘caviar’. Air bread with foam and manchego cheese, prosciutto and mini baguettes, beef carpaccio, tuna tartar and bite-sized ‘pizzas’, once again these little bite-sized ‘pizzas’ use the sphere-ification technique, its mind-boggling how they packed so much flavor into these tiny morsels.
All up we had around 18 courses at Tickets, plus oysters, ‘olives’, cava and cocktails. The serving sizes are ‘bites’ literally only 1-3 bites. We left satisfied but ate a lot of olives and oysters and had cocktails as well.
Tickets Barcelona is the most interesting tapas in the world and we highly recommend experiencing this place at least once in a life time!
The servings are small but it’s about the experience and the drama, the food is not what it seems and the casual and relaxed atmosphere make for a fun evening. Very deserving of its michelin star status and taking no.42 on San Pellegrino’s top 50 restaurants in the world. You must eat here before you die!
You can make reservations for Tickets in Barcelona (or try to here): Tickets Bar Barcelona
Barcelona locals knowledge: If you cannot ‘wing it’ and get a seat at Tickets, just across the road is Bodega 1900. They have delicious tapas, slightly larger servings than Tickets set in a very casual atmosphere. At least you will have the chance to try the molecular style olives and Catalan-style delicacies. My absolute favorite thing at Bodega was the little soft bread rolls will crispy shrimp and mayonnaise.
Read our top 10 things to do in Barcelona (with images) here:
You can find our great little Gin Bar there too! 😉
I hope you enjoyed this post on Tickets Bar Barcelona. If you have manged to score a table here please comment below.