Shrimp Funnel Cakes and Lots of Sherry: Jaime Young’s Guide to Barcelona
From conservas galore to great gin and tonics, chef Jaime Young of Sunday in Brooklyn in New York City shares the best bites of his recent trip to Barcelona.
When a chef tells you about a dish he describes as a "shrimp funnel cake," you listen. And take notes.
Jaime Young, the chef behind Sunday in Brooklyn in New York City, recently relayed all of his favorite dishes and drinks in Barcelona after a whirlwind trip to Spain.
Follow his lead here, starting with that intriguing shrimp.
“The vibe of this El Raval bar is absolutely eccentric but totally natural. The staff seems to have been here for a long time, and they joked and messed with us like we were family. We truly felt at home. We started out with a bottle of Manzanilla sherry, then quickly moved right into Albariño. One of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time was the tortilla de gambas here. It’s not an egg-based dish like the traditional egg tortilla, instead it’s made of very tiny shrimp bound by batter and fried until crispy like little funnel cakes.”
“There is so much to take in when walking around this public market in the Ciudad Vieja district. You’ll find stalls with the freshest seafood, produce, charcuterie and meats. We ate a restaurant parked right in the middle of the market called Quim. It’s a pretty stressful experience—you need to wait behind people eating and hurry to grab their seats when they’re finished—but the food is worth it. We had these amazing mushrooms, a type of bolete with a green tinge, and Catalan sausage with beans, which was so satisfying especially when you’re terribly hung over. Touring the market, we bought different types of charcuterie. Obviously jamón is king in Barcelona, but there was this one stall selling dried sausages coated with different flavors, which I’ve never had before. We picked up one dusted in paprika (my favorite) and another with dried garlic.”
“Spain is famous for conservas, tinned seafood, and this place in El Poble-Sec is famous for theirs. The menu is basically all conservas, and we got cockles, tuna belly, even foie gras with volcanic salt. We made sure to order anchovies everywhere we ate, and here they are especially fantastic. I heard about this one from good ole Anthony Bourdain. The walls are lined with all kinds of sherry and wines, there are no tables—just counters and a bar top. I love this kind of dining: It forces guests to interact not only with their company but the restaurant.”
“It’s nearly impossible to get into Albert Adrià’s legendary spot in El Ravel. We ordered basically everything on the menu—when in Rome—starting with the gin and tonic. The highlights were a savory marshmallow with roe that disappears on your tongue, tuna belly slowly braised in jamón fat and an airy sponge-like bread soaked in an intense shrimp broth. Everything was so flavorful and inventive. The great thing about this restaurant is that it gives those of us who didn’t have the chance to dine at El Bulli a second chance. You’ll see some dishes that originated there, like the green olives. But the real draw here are the desserts—every single one blew my mind. There was a cheesecake that looked like cheese!”