Tickets is a Michelin-star tapas restaurant in Barcelona’s edgy El Raval barrio. It’s run by Ferran and Albert Adrià, the geniuses behind what was once considered the best restaurant on the planet – El Bulli.
Recently ranked #25 on the list of top #50 restaurants in the world, a lot has been said about Tickets Barcelona. Critics applaud its playful attitude, mastery of molecular gastronomy, and memorable small plates that surprise and delight discerning diners from near and far.
According to the Tickets website,
The concept of “La Vida Tapa” presents a new way of understanding the world of gastronomy and life: an entertaining way to eat that turns the participant into an interpreter of a work of theatre and circus vaudeville. Creating a scene of life itself. In Tickets La Vida Tapa, the laughter, complicity and good company leave no room for boredom, sadness or loneliness.
When it comes to tapas, this is the hottest Ticket town.
But what’s it really like, this restaurant that presents a new way of looking at life?
Let me tell you about my experience eating there…
How to Get a Reservation at Tickets Barcelona
First things first. If you want to experience Tickets Barcelona for yourself, you need to get a reservation. And getting one is no easy task.
Reservations can only be made via the Tickets Barcelona website. The website accepts reservations for all six restaurants offered by Albert and Ferran Adrià, and to be honest, it’s a bit of a nightmare.
To get started, select your language, click on the red icon that says Tickets, then click on the Booking icon.
This opens up a new and confusing webpage where you can try to make your reservation. Here are a few tips to improve your odds of success:
- Tickets reservations run on a two-month booking window. For example, tables for May 18 become available for booking March 18 at midnight local time. They usually sell out in under 10 minutes.
- Not only does it have to be midnight in Barcelona, it also has to be midnight on your computer. Set the time zone on your system clock to CET (Central European Time) before attempting to book your table.
- Tables are reserved based on the size of the table, not the size of your group. As you might have guessed, tables for two are the first to get snapped up. Reservations for eight are a little easier to score.
- Singles cannot reserve a table but they can reserve a seat at the bar counter. (From the bar, you can watch up close and personal as talented young chefs wield their blowtorches, smoking guns, and tweezers.)
- You need to have a credit card to make a reservation. When you reserve, the restaurant will verify your credit card by putting through a charge of 1€. If you’re a no-show, your card will also be charged 50€ per person.
- If there’s nothing available, you can add your name to their waiting list and then pray there’s a cancellation.
The Menu at Tickets Restaurant
You have two options at Tickets BCN. You can order from the menu or you can let your server choose for you.
I was feeling adventurous the night I ate there so I decided to let the server do the choosing. If you do the same, you’ll be asked if there are any foods you don’t like or are allergic to. Don’t hold back. When my server asked me, I didn’t list every single food I don’t like. Just the main ones. Oysters and offal. Then, part way through the meal, I was presented with a heaping dish of green peas. My server wasn’t impressed when I said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. I don’t like peas!”.
You’ll be brought dish after dish until you say STOP. There is no talk of prices so if you’re concerned about budget, keep a running tally in your head. You can estimate about 6€ per person per dish.
Here’s a look at the tapas I ate (minus the peas).
It looks like a lot. I know. But keep in mind these are very small portions. When a plate is set down in front of you, more often than not your server will tell you, “two fingers, one bite”.
Olive-s: Olive juice is transformed into a solid olive through a spherification process with calcium chloride, alginate, and xanthan gum.
Jamón: Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, a free-range, acorn-fed version of the ham recognized as the finest ham in the world.
Nuestro Pan Tomato: Tickets interpretation of one of Catalonia’s defining dishes, Pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato).
Mini Airbag de Formatge Manxec: Mini airbag with manchego cheese foam, hazelnut oil, and caviar.
Nigen Berenjena: Crunchy Nigiri with flamed eggplant and soy pearls.
Atún Picante: Spicy tuna belly tartar with nori seaweed, avocado cream, and wasabi.
Paisaje Nórdico: Nordic Landscape with marinated aged beef, smoked cheese, and vinegar powder
Naranja Helada: Frozen orange with chili, Gordal olive jus, and pumpkin seed oil.
Esparrrago Tronco: White asparagus with white asparagus cream.
Pulpo Crujiente : Crispy Octopus
Spaghetti Setas: Noodles with mushrooms and parmesan.
Cerdo Sacudido Crujiente Taco: Crunchy Sucking Pig Taco with hoisin mayonnaise and pickled cucumber.
Once you let your server know you’ve had enough, you’ll be escorted to the dessert room. It’s a crazy colorful place filled with whimsy and giant fruit. Like Alice’s Wonderland.
The same rules apply here. Tiny desserts will continue to delight you until you say STOP.
Rosa, esfera de litchi y frambuesa: Rose with lychee and raspberry sphere, with rose water gelatin.
Taco de Pera: Pear sorbet with coriander and mint.
El Cheesecake de Tickets: Tickets cheesecake with hazelnuts and white chocolate.
Tapones de corcho: Chocolate cork
How Much it Costs to Eat at Tickets Barcelona
My bill came to 105,63€ (about $130 USD). That’s pretty much what I expected it to be and not unreasonable for a restaurant with a Michelin star.
Here’s the breakdown…
Nuestro Pan Tomato: 0,80€
Mini airbag de formatge manxec: 3,00€
Nigen berenjena: 3,90€
Atún Picante: 5,20€
Paisaje Nórdico: 5,60€
Naranja Helada: 3,80€
Esparrrago Tronco: 5,80€
Pulpo Crujiente: 8,90€
Spaghetti Setas: 8,60€
Cerdo Sacudido Crujiente Taco: 5,40€
Rosa, esfera de litchi y frambuesa: 3,20€
Taco de pera: 4,15€
El Cheesecake de Tickets: 6,68€
Tapones de corcho: 4,10€
TOTAL: 105,63€ (about $130 USD)
Did I Love It?
No, not really. And there are two reasons why.
First, I felt very rushed. No sooner would I pop a bit of something into my mouth, then my server would whisk away the empty plate and put something else down in front of me. She was overly attentive, hovering a foot or two away throughout the meal, watching me. I got the impression I was being hurried along so they could give my stool to the next person.
Second, the tapas weren’t all that delicious. Yes, they were playful and creative. Delightful to look at. But not as yummy as some of the food I ate at Barcelona restaurants without a Michelin star, (like this little place behind La Boqueria).
Eating at Tickets is a unique experience. Not life changing by any means, but something to be experienced and enjoyed for what it is.
Tickets Restaurant is located in El Ravel. It’s an easy 25-minute walk from the World Trade Center.
Tuesday thru Friday, 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Saturday, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Sunday, Monday – Closed
For more great restaurants in Barcelona, check out our post Top 10 Restaurants in Barcelona Restaurants for First-Timers.