Restaurant Pakta – Barcelona, Spain
Pakta interior photo courtesy of Pakta
Finally back with more Barcelona! Have I mentioned how absolutely, head-over-heels I fell for this city? There is just so much to talk about that it’s making it extremely difficult to pare down our adventures into concise blog posts, but I’m at least going to try.
Previously I told you all about the fabulous Food Lover Tapas Tour, and today I’ve got a completely different dinner experience to share with you.
Pakta is a Michelin-starred experiential restaurant run by Albert and Ferran Adrià of elBulli fame. Yes, elBulli, that place in Spain that was named the most influential restaurant in the world for many years. Sadly, it closed a few years before I stepped foot in that country, but I certainly read about it. A lot. For anyone that is as food obsessed as I am, there was no way not to.
When I began researching Barcelona, I crowd-sourced on Twitter, which I often do when planning trips. Pakta was recommended by an acquaintance whose opinion I definitely respect when it comes to food, so I added it to my list of ‘potentials’. As I began to dig further, I discovered the connection to the Adrià brothers and there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was a MUST do.
My research also turned up these fun facts:
- Pakta serves Nikkei cuisine, which is a blend of Japanese and Peruvian elements
- Nikkei cuisine was created by Japanese immigrants that began coming to Peru in the late 19th century
- The word Pakta means “union” in the Peruvian dialect Quechua (the original language of indigenous Peruvians)
To learn more about Nikkei cuisine, its roots, and where it’s going, read this article. I found it fascinating.
Now, for our experience~
Pakta offers two set tasting menus, which they will email to you a few days before your reservation. At that time, they ask that you let them know your choice of menu so they’ll be ready for your visit. (You are able to share allergies or intolerances at this time so the chefs can adjust your menu)
The first option is the Fujiyama menu, with 23 dishes for 95€. The second option is the Machu-Picchu menu, with 33 dishes for 130€. Typically I would go for the larger offering, but this was one time that I showed restraint and was actually happy that I did.
While I’m sure all those extra dishes were incredible, we were completely satisfied with Fujiyama’s 23. It was the perfect amount.
Corn surinagashi with huacatay and lime
Tamago-dofu, tosazu sauce with nori and salmon roe
Horse mackerel with cucumber, gari and sumiso sauce
Cherry with kimchi, radish and green shiso
Kumquats with “leche de tigre” jelly
Daikon with “ají amarillo”
Market fish usuzukuri with yuzukosho
The meal starts with Honzen Ryori, which is a basic style of Japanese cuisine where dishes are arranged and served on trays. Our first round of dishes were bite sized courses served on a wooden platter.
Oyster nigiri with ponzu sauce and “rocoto”
Horse mackerel nigiri with umeboshi and “ají mirasol”
I can’t even begin to explain everything. Let’s just say we were blown away. My head was spinning and I’m not sure there has ever been a time in my life where I was so absolutely giddy about food. We were both at a loss for words, and all we could manage was “wow”.
Tuna tartare with crispy nori and shichimi
And of course it didn’t end there. We were just beginning. Next up was nigiri, tuna tartare, and the most amazing ceviche ever. Honestly, I felt like I was in a dream. My head was swirling as dish after dish was put in front of us.
Sea Bass ceviche with fresh green almond “leche de tigre”
Looking back, there’s a part of me that wishes I’d done a better job of documenting every bite. Taken notes, taken more photos. But at that moment in time, I didn’t want to analyze and document. I needed to just be. To enjoy.
Floral causa of tuna with “acevichada” mayonnaise and kizami wasabi
Fried causa with chicken and huacatay
That said, I did take the time to snap a few photos, and luckily several of them were of the dishes that turned out to be favorites.
In traditional Peruvian cusine, a causa is a mashed potato terrine typically served as a starter. Pakta’s causas were little mini bites, but the small size definitely did not mean little flavor. This tuna causa was absolutely incredible.
Suckling pig Xiao Long Bao with “ají limo”oil
Pork jowl fried “sanguchito” with pickles
Cancha chulpi soba with “acevichada” sauce and bottarga
Then there was the Xiao Long Bao. I haven’t had a dumpling this good since China. Need more of these in my life.
Grilled chicken “Anticucho”
Fried rock fish with “escabeche” nikkei sauce
Desserts Honzen Ryori
Soy sauce flam
This was a meal that will never be forgotten. When I’ve tried to describe it to people, the best way I can do so is to say that it was one of the best meals of my life. Actually, it might even be THE best meal I’ve ever had.
It’s made me start researching Peru so I can go there and seek out more Nikkei cuisine. It made me want to expand my world. To travel more, to soak in other cultures. That’s what a truly great meal should do. Fully satisfy you, but leave you craving more.
Carrer de Lleida, 5, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
+34 936 240 177
Mon – Thurs 7 – 10:30 pm
Sat – Sun 1- 4 pm; 7 10:30 pm