The Best Restaurant In Barcelona: Tickets Food Review

Dessert room at Tickets Barcelona
Dessert room at Tickets Barcelona

Introduction

  • Restaurant Name: Tickets
  • Date and Time of Visit: August 2, 2019, 7:30pm
  • Where: Barcelona Spain
  • Menu: Tapas 
  • Price: Above €100 per person
  • Reservation Difficulty: Extremely difficult. Reservations open 2-months in advance at midnight Central European Time and sell out in minutes.

Tickets is world renowned chef Albert Adrià’s most popular restaurant in Barcelona. It’s ranked number 25 on a list of the 50 best restaurants in the world and has 1 Michelin Star. Albert Adrià was featured on Season 5 of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, which further cemented his stardom in the culinary world. Is it worth all the hype? Yes.

Pro-tip: In order to secure this extremely difficult reservation you have to plan 2-months in advance and then 1) set the time on your computer to Central European Time (a.k.a. Spanish time) + 1 minute 2) clear your browser history / cookies and then restart your browser. I used Google Chrome, but any browser will do 3) navigate to the reservations page when your clock strikes midnight and quickly fill out your details. You’ll need a credit card to secure the reservation so have it handy 4) When your clock strikes 12:01 hit book

Location

Tickets is located in El Ravel, which is a quick 15-minute taxi ride from the W Barcelona. Alternatively if you’re feeling really ambitious you could walk 14-minutes to Pepe Rubianes, take a bus 15-stops to Gran Via – Calàbria and then walk another 7-minutes to the restaurant.

Exterior of Tickets during the day
Exterior of Tickets Restaurant during the day

Experience

From moment you step into the restaurant you can tell you’re in for a whimsical carnival ride of a dining experience. The hostess checks your name against the reservations list and then you’re given an entry ticket. After waiting 5-years to dine here I felt like Charlie receiving the golden ticket.

The dress code is casual. I saw some people wearing a t-shirt and jeans while others were more dressed up. I’m a giraffe so don’t wear clothes.

Entrance ticket to Tickets Barcelona

After being seated menus are distributed, but these are no ordinary menus. As you can see in the picture below there’s a lot going on. Yes, that’s a flyer saucer taxi cab hovering over La Sagrada Familia.

The Food

Tickets is a fancy tapas bar. Menu items can either be ordered à la carte or you leave your fate up to your waiter by telling them how much you want to spend. I recommend that first time visitors go for the latter option so you can spend more time enjoying the company you’re with instead of arguing over the many excellent menu options.

While perusing the wine list I noticed that Albert Adrià had his own Sangria called Lolea No. 19 so I decided to give it a try. The sangria had flavors of cinnamon, rosemary and orange. It was good, but a bit too sweet for my liking.

Albert Adrià's Lolea No. 19 Sangria
Albert Adrià’s Lolea No. 19 Sangria

The first course consisted of what appeared to be black cherries. I picked one up by the stem and carefully bit into it fully expecting a pit. As soon as my teeth pierced the skin it instantly liquified. Surprising!

Next up was Ticket’s famous Olive-S. Olive juice is transformed to look like a solid olive through a process known as spherification. It’s a technique that was first introduced by Albert Adrià’s brother Ferran at his restaurant El Bulli. I appreciated the concept, but didn’t really enjoy the flavor of this course.

Olive-S of Tickets
Olive-S of Tickets

This was followed by anchovies with pepper sauce. They weren’t too fishy and the pepper sauce helped mute the saltiness of the fish. Perfection.

Tickets anchovy "00" with “piparrak” juice
Anchovy “00” with “piparrak” juice

Most of my meals in Barcelona included copious amounts of jamón ibérico and this was no exception. While other giraffes may enjoy leaves and twigs from wild apricot trees this giraffe enjoys jamón ibérico.

Tickets Iberian ham bellota “El Romero de Salamanca”
Iberian ham bellota “El Romero de Salamanca”

The jamón ibérico was complemented perfectly by pan con tomate. The bread was perfectly toasted and slathered in delicious tomato sauce.

Tickets bread with la Roseta tomatoes
Tickets bread with la Roseta tomatoes

Next up were the mini airbags with manchego cheese foam, hazelnut oil and caviar. They were light and savory at the same time. The flavor combination was just incredible. This was one of the best dishes I’ve had all year.

Tickets mini airbag with manchego cheese foam, hazelnut oil, and caviar
Mini airbag with manchego cheese foam, hazelnut oil, and caviar

What follows after airbags? Airbaguettes of course. These mini crispy baguettes were wrapped in beef–Rubia Gallega beef to be exact. Rubia Gallega is a breed of cattle native to north-western Spain. The beef had a much stronger flavor profile than the jamón ibérico. I really enjoyed this dish as well.

Tickets airbaguette with with ‘‘Rubia gallega’’
Airbaguette with with ‘‘Rubia gallega’’

The next dish was seaweed codium tempura with vinaigrette. Codium is a type of seaweed that originates in the Pacific Ocean near Japan and is also known as “green sea fingers.” When deep fried it’s delicious.

Tickets seaweed codium tempura with its vinaigrette
Seaweed codium tempura with its vinaigrette

Pairs of silver metal tongs were brought to the table for the next course. Was it time to play Operation? No, unfortunately not. The tongs were for the thinly sliced melt-in-your-mouth tuna sashimi. Each piece was topped with minced tomatoes and a lattice potato crisp.

Tickets tuna belly sheet with tomato tartar
Tuna belly sheet with tomato tartar

The last course had me craving more tuna! Luckily, next up was tuna on a seaweed cracker. Sandwiched between a rectangular cracker and a piece of seaweed was very high quality tuna tartare. The cracker added an interesting textural element and made this course a winner.

Tickets tuna on a seaweed cracker
Tuna on a seaweed cracker

Next up were the enigma oysters. These oysters were produced especially for Tickets. They’re raised in cold waters in order to keep the shell small, but are overfed to increase their size and enhance their flavor. There were several variations available, but we received the oysters with a red pickled escabeche sauce.

Tickets enigma oysters with red pickled escabeche sauce
Enigma oysters with red pickled escabeche sauce

The 12th course was avocado pizza with king crab and chipotle mayonnaise. The avocado was a brilliant green. Salad shops in NYC could learn a thing or two from Albert Adrià about picking avocados. A gold spoon was provided to serve the delicious king crab. Now that’s just fancy.

Tickets avocado pizza with king crab and chipotle mayonnaise
Avocado pizza with king crab and chipotle mayonnaise

I was getting quite full by this point, but some of the richest dishes of the evening were waiting to be eaten. First was the foie gras mitteault charcoaled with smoked eel. It was a bit too smokey for my liking.

Tickets foie gras mitteault charcoaled with smoked eel
Foie gras mitteault charcoaled with smoked eel

Next was the marrow with eggplant and glazed potato with tarragon. I normally don’t like eggplant, but this was very good.

Tickets marrow with eggplant and glazed potato with tarragon
Marrow with eggplant and glazed potato with tarragon

When the waiter brought out the 15th course I couldn’t help but think I was the animal embroidered on the cloth covering.

Tickets three pigs brioche with dewlap, pancetta and “chicharrón”  - pre-presentation
Three pigs brioche with dewlap, pancetta and “chicharrón” – pre-presentation

This puffy brioche was filled with dewlap, the fold of skin hanging below the neck of a pig; pancetta, salumi made of pork belly meat that is salt cured and chicharrón or fried pork rinds. The combination was decadent.

Tickets three pigs brioche with dewlap, pancetta and “chicharrón”  - unwrapped
Three pigs brioche with dewlap, pancetta and “chicharrón” – unwrapped

The last pre-dessert course was King Crab. This was the best crab I’ve ever had. It was buttery, juicy and could effortless be removed from the shell. I didn’t really care for the charred lettuce.

Tickets king crab with “ñora” hot foam accompanied by charred lettuce and pickled fresh piparrak
King crab with “ñora” hot foam accompanied by charred lettuce and pickled fresh piparrak

As a transition to dessert a large movie theater style bucket of popcorn was brought out with 3 pieces of edible popcorn and 3 tickets to the infamous dessert room.

The waiter led my table to the entrance of the dessert room and then opened the door to reveal a magical room with giant strawberries, blackberries and flowers hanging from the ceiling.

Ticket's dessert room
Ticket’s dessert room

There were red roses in glass vases waiting at the table. The roses had a lychee and raspberry sphere made with rose water gelatin in the center. The waiter explained we should have it like a shot of liquor.

Tickets rose with lychee and raspberry sphere, with rose water gelatin
Rose with lychee and raspberry sphere, with rose water gelatin

The 2nd dessert course was key lime pie. It was citrusy, refreshing and just insanely good.

Next was the cheesecake with hazelnuts and white chocolate. It was shaped like a wheel of cheese. How novel! This had to be the creamiest and most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever had. This dish alone would be reason enough to go back to Tickets.

Tickets cheesecake with hazelnuts and white chocolate
Cheesecake with hazelnuts and white chocolate.

Giraffes are quite fond of apricots so I was pumped for the “Honey-soaked Apricot served next to its liquid and tangy snow” The waiter didn’t do the best job of describing this, but it was very tasty.

Tickets honey-soaked Apricot served next to its liquid and tangy snow
 Honey-soaked Apricot served next to its liquid and tangy snow

The 5th dessert looks was a Stroopwafel ice cream sandwich. They start with 2 Stroopwafels, fill the center with vanilla cream and then dip it in liquid nitrogen to make it like an ice cream sandwich. I can’t begin to describe how good this was. Crunchy, caramel, vanilla cream goodness.

Tickets stroopwafel ice cream sandwich
Stroopwafel ice cream sandwich

The 23rd and last course of the night was a chocolate and passion fruit tart. Maybe I was just full from the 22 courses before this, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

I was slightly concerned coming to Tickets because my expectations were so high, but I was blown away. It’s one of the best meals I’ve had in my life and the price is reasonable for the quantity and quality of food. If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona make a reservation at Tickets.

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