On the rare occasions when acclaimed Chef Albert Adria of El Bulli fame is not sprinting between his own five restaurants and bars on or near the Avinguda del Parallel 164 in Barcelona every day, he can be found hanging out at a few of his favorite places in the neighborhood. He doesn’t list a gym among his favorites, but Adria’s nightly rounds to places like Bodega 1900 across the street, Pakta, his Nikkei restaurant two blocks down, and his two Mexican restaurants Nino Viejo and Hoja Santa a few blocks away keep him in fighting form. On that route he also checks on his Enigma restaurant, currently under construction and slated to open next spring. Adria recently moved his office and El Taller on the same premises to manage his rapidly expanding restaurant empire. Adria's elBarri group manages all these operations, which until last year also included 41 Degrees Experience which, like his own Tickets Bar, was singled out for a Michelin star.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Adria, along with his brother Ferran Adria and Cirque du Soleil, recently opened his creative and first-of-its-kind mixed media entertainment experience on the island of Ibiza, a favorite hangout for partying, well-heeled jetsetters. When asked about his preferences for places to eat, shop, or just generally "hang" in his neighborhood, he generously shared some of them. One of the best pastry chefs in the world did not hesitate to recommend three patisseries where he satisfies his sweet craving: La Pastisseria, Patisserie Escribà, and Oriol Balaguer, which was named for a chef whose creations are artistic and delicious, according to Adria.
Dos Palillos, Chef Albert Raurich's Michelin-starred eatery, draws in Adria not only to eat but to catch up with the chef who has a long association with the Adria family from his El Bulli days. Incidentally, Ferran Adria's office and workshop is not far from the restaurant, which is a few blocks off the famed Ramblas of Barcelona.
Albert Adria’s two favorite markets that he tends to visit in the morning are La Boqueria on the Ramblas and Santa Caterina, which sells just about any kind of produce, seafood, or meat, as well as some interesting stalls for a quick bite. Under the colored roof of the Santa Caterina, one has every possibility of running into Albert Adria making a quick trip to shop at this quieter market recently renovated in 2005. Other than produce, his knives are his most prized possession in the kitchen. His favorite knife shop, Cuchillería Ganiveteria Roca, is one spot where you might find other well-known Barcelona chefs.
Seafood aficionados will enjoy Rías de Galicia, which is Adria’s suggestion for the best seafood experience in Barcelona. Run by the Iglesias family, who are also partners with Ferran and Albert Adria in several projects, it is by any measure the best Galician restaurant in the city. These days two bars Chef Adria likes to hang out at when he gets away from his own are Braseria Cañota and Restaurante BarBas for the fun atmosphere. If the chef whose own bars are the coolest places in the city heads there, then they are probably good alternatives by which to deal with the disappointment of not getting into Tickets, Bodega, or Nino Viejo. Finally, his love of sushi often takes him to Restaurante Shunka. This is a man who, prior to opening his Nikkei-Peruvian restaurant Pakta, was testing his talent for rolling sushi for months before his perfectionist tendencies were satisfied.