Where to Eat in Barcelona
Breakfast at Granja M. Viader
Recommended by Albert Adrià, Co-Owner
Of course. Of course the co-creator of über-modern El Bulli would recommend the most defiantly unreconstructed old-school café imaginable. Granja M. Viader has been around in some form since 1870; in 1931, it made its name with the invention of Cacaolat, a rather lovely bottled cocoa drink. Old-timey posters hawking Cacaolat line the walls; the drink is still sold here, too, albeit in boringly modern plastic bottles. I opt for a cappuccino and some dry sausage from the to-go counter out front. Carrer d’en Xuclà 6; granjaviader.cat.
Lunch at Tlaxcal
Recommended by Jordi Gasó, Cook
Gasó comes from Mexico, so leave it to him to find the best tacos de lengua I’ve ever tried outside of Mexico City. The rest of this white-walled margarita joint is not as impressive, but those cubes of beef tongue—caramelized on all sides, creamy in the center—could rival a few Pakta dishes. Carrer del Comerç 27; tlaxcal.com.
Apéritif at Bar del Pla
Recommended by Kyoko Ii, Head Chef Judging from her choice of a tapas bar hidden in the narrow maze of the Born neighborhood (Barcelona’s Williamsburg), Ii has decided to immerse herself in the Spanish way of things. So do I, by getting a local dessert wine and a great crema Catalan under a blistery lid of burnt sugar, and consuming both the correct way: standing just outside the doors. Carrer Montcada 2; bardelpla.cat.
Dinner at Ceviche 103
Recommended by Jorge Muñoz, Head Chef
“Sure, we know Jorge! Great guy,” beams the maître d’ at this nuevo Peruvian place. The decor consists of graffiti and car art writ large on brick walls, and the food is a great footnote to Pakta’s inventions: Ceviche 103 goes for some of the same flavors, but in a heartier, more idiomatic way. And look: The name-dropping has paid off, in the form of a toothsome pisco sour heading my way from the bar. Carrer de Londres 103; ceviche103.com.
Late Dinner at Nanit
Mario Pérez, Cook
Almost everyone on the Pakta staff suggested Nanit. This funky, two-story Chinese dumpling joint is where they go to unwind. It is precisely the kind of place a pro would seek out: inconspicuous, inexpensive and all about the flavor. The owner’s mother stands in the window making dumplings. The biggest hit, however, is a dish of pungent Shanghai chicken. Carrer de Balmes 79.
Nightcap at Ohla Boutique Bar
Recommended by Zetkin Lian Chung, Dining Room Manager
These days, a designer hotel requires a designer bar with designer cocktails consumed by designer-clad clientele; at Ohla, you get all that. Being a seasoned cocktail geek with favorite speakeasies from Berlin to Moscow to Ann Arbor, Michigan, I am a bit disappointed by the blandness of the room: This could be literally anywhere stylish people congregate to drink and eye each other. However, Giuseppe Santamaria’s witty cocktails—such as the smoked-salt-and-jalapeño-laced Savory Margarita—erase my unease. Via Laietana 49; ohlahotel.com.