My Dinners with Albert: Tickets
The third, and obviously final, Albert Adria restaurant I visited when in Barcelona was Tickets. Maybe it was wrongheaded to start with 41° and end with Tickets, but that’s what happened. And, ultimately, Tickets was my least favourite experience. By far. It’s not that the food isn’t terrific. In fact, it is terrific. But I found the kitsch a little overwhelming, and it felt a little more Britney Spears than Barnum and Bailey when it came to the Circus theme.
The El Bulli olives were, once again, present. So that was a treat. But after the experiences at 41° and Pakta, Tickets almost felt derivative in a diminishing way; dishes were never the exact same—aside from the olives—but some were similar to what I felt were better counterparts. With the restaurants being touted as such difficult gets in terms of reservations, you’d kind of hope that if someone lucked into a trip to each of them that the culinary experience would be somewhat broad, but it definitely started to seem limited in scope by the end of the trip through Adria’s menus.
Tickets is also the only restaurant where I was flat out underwhelmed by some of the courses offered. Our server gave us what we hoped was a thoughtful journey through some of the dishes, but what turned out to feel more like a calculated con to sell a bunch of dummies one of everything in an order that not only got less impressive, but also had us feeling more and more forgotten in the growing hubbub of the noisy restaurant. Thank God for the cotton candy tree at the end of the meal, which was a delightful high note on which to end the meal.
A week of eating at so many great restaurants, from small hole-in-the-wall tapas restaurants like La Cova Fumada and El Xampanyet to grand experiences like 41°, is bound to leave one spoiled, and I have to admit that I do feel like that’s what happened here. Because Tickets is, in the light of day and the clarity of retrospect, clearly an excellent restaurant. But in the scheme of my trip, 41° was Spiaggia where Tickets was East Side Mario’s. Does that make me sound like an asshole? Yes. Do I care? Not really. Bada Boom, Bada Bing.
Here are some photos: