Locals Only Barcelona | Dos Palillos by Chef and elBulli Alumni Albert Raurich

This weekend Barcelona is ablaze with La Mercè, literally you can see fire shows, giants and correfocs throughout the festival. While the streets will be filled to the brim, and the plazas - Plaça Real, Plaça Sant Jaume, Plaça de la Seu (where the Barcelona cathedral stands and which is finally free of scaffolding!) - shoulder to shoulder with locals and tourists alike taking in this festa major and calling an official close to summer. Not to worry we have another national holiday in October. Read more about the activities and venues of La Mercè at Rob Dobson's informative site Homage to BCN.

I wouldn't doubt that with all this partying, you are going to work up an appetite. Luckily, yours truly, your personal guide to Barcelona gastronomy, has something special lined up for you. Dos Palillos, which means two toothpicks/chopsticks, can be found on Carrer d'Elisabets (one of my favorites of El Raval) connected to the Casa Camper Hotel (which also mola). Under the direction of Barcelona born chef Albert Raurich, Dos Palillos has created a modern and innovative dining option steps from La Rambla, but worlds away from your typical bar/restaurant offerings. His past is none less decorated; initially Albert entered as a stagier to elBulli in 1997, and stayed on as one of Ferran Adria's most successful chefs for the next 11 years.

In the words of the restaurant, the significance of its menu design and theme is this:

Two different cultures that use 'sticks' to eat. 
In Asia they use them as chopsticks to pick up small portions of food, and in Spanish bars in Spain the toothpick is the King of the tapa. 
Different in their methods, but similar in their use. Both symbolize trips between the plate and the mouth. 
Another coincidence, but also an excuse to connect the two cultures of Asia and Spain. 
A new concept that attempts to unify the philosophy of Spanish tapas with the culinary world of Asia. 

 Crispy fried pork wontons with a citric dipping sauce.
Chefs behind the bar at Dos Palillos preparing our seaweed and tuna salad, which was by far the smoothest piece of cooked tuna I've every tasted. 

Mackerel sushi at Dos Palillos, Barcelona. 

The roll was just so damn photogenic that I had to take a shot from another angle. In this picture you can see the interactive element of the dish, aside from the fresh mackerel and shisho leaf bits served on top of the rice, we were able to roll our own pieces with nori, seaweed, and dip to our preference in a soy-ginger based sauce. 

 Pretty standard chicken teriyaki, although at least it was grilled in front of us. BUDGET TIP, be sure to specifically ask for the"menu del día," a 20 euro choice that includes 3-4 small plate courses and dessert.  Otherwise, you'll be given menus with higher priced and longer tasting menus - which is totally acceptable for some budgets and delicious I'm sure. 

Dessert was an almond flan, with a sort of crema catalana sugared shell. On the side where these curious "melt-in-your-mouth" "almond" flavored chalky balls. My hunch is that they was supposed to mimic real almonds, or simply provide an additional texture to the flan, but for me they failed to impress. The flan however was fresh and light - albeit tiny.  

Close contact with neighbors at Dos Palillos, but great people watching! And a lot of chef action. Makes for a good option for a solo traveler as well. 

I'm definitely a fan of the retro look at Dos Palillos by Albert Raurich. Chopsticks, toothpicks, Asian reds, and Catalan beers - nice! 

Carrer d'Elisabets 9 
08001 Barcelona 
Metro: Universitat or Plaça Catalunya

Tuesdays and Wednesdays 19:30 - 23:30
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 13:30 - 15:30 and 19:30 - 23:30
Closed Sundays and Mondays (holidays, and quite a bit of August)

Reservations: dospalillos@dospalillos.com

*Important to note aside from their opening hours is that you may come-in without a reservation and order tapas and drinks from the bar. Also, there is another restaurant location in Berlin, Germany. 

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Follow more of my Barcelona and other Spanish restaurant visits on my Facebook page, Sobremesa In Spain. Thanks for your support! 


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