Address: 79 Carrer Indústria, Barcelona

Phone: 34-93-207-6115

alkimia: alchemy in spanish. there's 2 meaning in but the 2nd is most appropriate to describe this restaurant.
[al-kuh-me] - noun, plural -mies for 2
2. any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

Of all the places we have eaten in Barcelona, Alkimia probably surprised us the most. Especially after eating at amazing three Michelin star restaurant Arzak and two Michelin Star restaurant Mugaritz, we thought that nothing else (of course, other than el Bulli) can top that experience in terms of "Nouvelle Spanish" cuisine. So when Alkimia whipped out one after another of the most innovative, world-class dishes, we were totally blown away.

Alkimia dining room

servei de pa i complements #1, pa amb tomàquet

The dishes at Alkimia are Nouvelle Catalan, a trend Ferran Adria of El Bulli started sometime ago. Traditional Catalan dishes are the source of inspiration for most dishes in the Alkimia’s lunch tasting menu. We were only able to identify a handful of them in their non-traditional form. Alkimia’s Pa amb tomàquet amuse bouche for example, is the chef, Jordi Vilá 's take on classic Catalan cuisine. Instead of the traditional way of preparing pa amb tomàquet by rubbing tomatoes against the bread and serving with cured meat/sausage, Jordi created his own deconstructed version with filtered tomatoes “water”, olive oil, bread crumbs and served with a sliced of cured sausage. Equally tasty as the traditional version, but Alkimia’s delivers instant gratification with sophistication, rather than being just the comfort food that Pa amb tomàquet is known for.

servei de pa i complements#2 - white bean and foam soup (just exactly what amuse bouche was supposed to do, to whet your appetite. the tender bean, smoky scallion and savory foam soup leaves you wanting for more)

Marinated tuna fish with tomato, fresh cheese and strawberry (the first salvo was a perfect fish dish. we get a piece of very nicely marinated maguro tuna. sweet, savory, decadent)

coca (light thin bread) of anchovy with roasted vegetables and truffle butter

We also really liked the coca (light thin bread) of anchovy with roasted vegetables and truffle butter grilled vegetables dish. Coca, is a versatile Catalan flat bread, something like pizza, but it can used with sweet or savory toppings. This combination of Coca and Grilled vegetables or escalivada is luxurious (with truffle butter!) and very satisfying. The anchovy definitely provided the necessary saltiness to this coca and escalivada dish.

topinambur cream with iberian ravioli with sea urchin (topinambur is a type of medieval potato root, which has a more nutty taste to it. you usually won't go wrong with a piece of good uni)

Egg bonbon with potatoes and quince

Saute spinach and oyster marinating and pig mask (pork cheek) - absolutely juicy oyster and tender gelatinous texture of pork cheek. This is the most unusual surf and turf we've had but one of the best.

Another dish that we thought was memorable was the marinated pork cheek and oyster dish. Alkimia’s surf and turf, a modern take on the classic Spanish dish with an emphasis on flavor and texture. What makes this modern surf and turf dish incredible is how the pork cheek and oyster taste so alike in terms of its gelatinous texture. I might have thought that both were oysters, one marinated and one not, if I was doing a blind tasting!

Red mullet with seawater

The last dish we should mention is definitely the restaurant’s signatures dish, red mullet with seawater. The dish is one of a kind, bold, and visually stunning, it was as though the chef had just scooped the seawater out of the ocean and serve a fish on it. The blue soup was created from the heads of Escamarlan, seaweed konbu, Catalan fish, and natural coloring made from red cabbage and basil. It was a shock to our palate initially but we quickly learn to appreciate the simplicity yet sophisticated in its preparation. This is seafood, at its purest.

Iberian pork with cheese and preserved tomotoes (the piece of truffle wrapped around the iberian pork did its trick)

Prawn "a la mano", poached and grilled on burnt bay leaf and salt, to be eaten with hands (we were strongly encouraged to use hands sans utensils, as the chef believes this is the only way to eat gambas. probably not as well cooked in heat as the one we had in Asador Etxebarri but definitely more complex spice used which enhances the aroma)

Consomme with partridge emulsified to tartuffe and winter vegetables (meatloaf, spanish style!)

Almond ice cream with citrus, basil and orange blossom (el Bulli's reach is seen everywhere in Spain and the world)

Bitter chocolate with raspberry cream and eucalyptuses ice cream (another interesting trend was the use of eucalyptus, a type of fragrant flower typically used for fragrance)

The Alkimia tasting menu also came with two dessert, Almond ice cream with citrus, basil and orange blossom (microwave sponge cake) and Bitter chocolate with raspberry cream and eucalyptuses ice cream. It was the second microwave sponge cake we have eaten in Spain within a week, and at two separate restaurants. There was no distinctive differences between the microwave sponge cake at Arzak and at Alkimia, but seems like it is a popular dessert trend in Spain. This is only but an example of the many copies of a creation by the endlessly creative and whimsical el Bulli kitchen. Amazingly, this trend has not yet caught on in NYC yet. Definitely did not see it in WD~50 or anywhere else.

Petit Four

The decision to pick Alkimia over Comerc 24 wasn’t an easy one. It just didn’t make sense to go to both restaurants during this trip since their cooking style is similar. But Alkimia turned out to be one of our favorite restaurants in Spain. We were just surprised that Alkimia was only rated one Michelin star, they definitely deserve more for their ability to create such magical dishes.


FoodOfMiami said...

Divine! Such a unique and defined dining experience! I bet the flavors were so unique!

Sarah and Gan said...

Hi! yes the food was amazing at Alkimia. Totally unexpected. This restaurant is really special and the tasting menu is good value compared to most of the molecular gastronomy restaurants we went in Spain. A must try when you go to Barcelona.

Anonymous said...

Hi there- How far ahead did you make reservations for Alkimia? Is this something we can do when we get to Barcelona (like two days notice), or should we call before then?

Thanks for the review, I hope we get to check this restaurant out.


Sarah and Gan said...

Hi TJ, we actually made reservation when we first got to Barcelona, I would say about a week in advance. And when we went to the restaurant for lunch, it wasn't crowded at all. But I have heard from another friend that they couldn't get a table because the restaurant was fully booked. So I think if you really want to try the food at Alkimia, just be safe and make reservation, at least one week ahead. Have fun in Spain!

Anonymous said...

We just got back from Spain yesterday- what a great trip. Unfortunately we couldn't get reservations for Alkimia! It was fully booked every day we were in Barcelona. Well, at least we have an excuse to go back, and for now I can gaze sadly at the beautiful photos you took of your meal there.

Thanks again,


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