Getting a ticket to Tickets Barcelona is no easy feat. The word is out – this may be the best value fine dining in the city, if not the world. The tapas here are a mix of elBulli’s greatest hits, along with equally impressive new creations. You can order a la carte or opt for the tasting menu. After dinner, you may even be invited to the secret dessert room, a willy wonka-esque wonderland complete with a ceiling covered in gigantic berries and candy canes.
We weren’t able to get reservations at first and had to practically beg Enigma (the latest and greatest elBarri family restaurant) to help us. Enigma came through and got us a 10:30pm weeknight seating! It definitely helped to make a reservation at another elBarri restaurant and leverage that.
Still full from the 40+ tasting menu at Enigma the night prior, we opted for the a la carte option at Tickets. With two drinks, a satisfying amount of tapas, and plenty of dessert, the meal ended up being a reasonable €100 per person. Considering Tickets is ranked #25 on the World’s 50 Best, holds 1 Michelin star, and is one of my top meals ever, this was quite a steal.
We kicked it off with excellent, well-balanced cocktails.
The iconic elBulli liquid olives were probably the most forgettable bite of the night – that’s saying something.
Of the raw oysters offered, they featured an exclusive type of oyster produced just for the elBarri family of restaurants. We added caviar which paired well with the incredible brightness and delicate texture of this oyster.
The Mini Airbags had an awesome Manchego foam center. I could eat handfuls of these bites.
The Air Baguette was an impressive hollow mini breadstick wrapped in beef. Good, but I would have preferred ibérico de bellota.
Many of the larger courses had elaborate table-side preparation. The white asparagus was dramatically cut out and plated. The texture was nicely soft, but not mushy at all, and the cream had great acidity.
Next were gigantic morels! The walnut presentation reminded me of the rabbit brain and walnut dish at Enigma the night prior. This was much more tasty for my palette though. The walnut had such rich flavor and soft texture from being cooked in chicken bouillon.
The king crab tacos were a fun, make your own dish. Not to mention the crab was the best crab I’ve tasted – such tender texture!
We were pretty full at this point, but the octopus dish looked quite impressive so I placed a half order – a good decision. The wasabi panko breading was a great contrast to the tender, yet chewy octopus. The pickled cucumbers were great too with a nice crunch.
The bright white wine we enjoyed with dinner was also standout and a great value at €8 a glass.
After dinner, we headed to the wondrous dessert room.
As good as the savory courses were, I thought the desserts were even more impressive. The cheesecake holds a special place in my sweet tooth heart as the best dessert I have tried! Shaped like a cheese round, it had a subtle hazelnut white chocolate outer “rind” and the fluffiest, yet decadent center. The texture, along with the balanced sweetness was better than any cheesecake I could have dreamt of.
After that legendary showing, I wasn’t sure if I could enjoy any other dessert, but the ice cream stroopwaffle and chocolate passionfruit flower were nearly as good! Like the cheesecake, there wasn’t one particular thing that stood out, rather every single aspect was just incredible. A very sweet ending to what will most likely be my favorite meal of 2018.