Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gelonch Restaurant: 9-14-11

When a professional cook suggests restaurants to eat at, you obey.  You obey, and you will eat well.  After disappointing fine dinning experiences in the Basque Country, we ate at mostly tapas places recommended by a cook friend while in Barcelona: Bar Pinotxo, El Quim de la Boqueria, Tapac 24, and Cal Pep.  All were amazing delights in their own special way.  We did end up eating at one fine dining restaurant, though.  Again on the recommendation of our cook friend, we ate at Gelonch Restaurant and had the second best meal of the entire trip to Spain.

Costing 63 Euros for a 12 course tasting menu, Gelonch was easily the best value of any place we ate at in Barcelona.  Every single course was packed with creativity and flavor, which made the fact that we were only 1 of 2 parties served the entire night bewildering.

There would have been a 3rd party in the cozy little restaurant, but after briefly looking at the menu, 2 ladies dressed in posh dresses got up and left.  I felt sorry for the potential diners because they were missing out on really excellent food.  That pity quickly turned into frustration because they refused to give the restaurant a chance.  There was even an a la carte tapas menu for them to test the waters.  I got even more frustrated when I learned that Gelonch does not lay claim to any Michelin stars.  The food we were served at Gelonch was astronomically better than the 3-star Akelarre and definitely better than the world-renowned 2-star Mugaritz.

Not only was Gelonch better than a 3 and 2-star Michelin, but it was better than every 1-star Michelin I’ve ever been to except for Schwa and Blackbird here in Chicago (not counting DiverXO because shortly after dining there they deservedly were awarded their 2nd star).  Interestingly enough, Gelonch felt like the Catalan version of Blackbird: somewhat global flavors rooted in the regional cuisine with a sprinkling of modern techniques when appropriate.  If you’re ever in Barcelona, take the cook’s advice and get yourself to Gelonch.

Strawberry gazpacho with its air



Grilled iberian pancetta, roasted scallop, peanut tabouli, crunchy prawn, and coriander cream

gelonch: scallop & pork


Wagyu beef carpaccio, honey breadcrumbs, beech smoke, grilled rocket leaves

gelonch: wagyua carpaccio


Tuna toro slice on a cracker with olives, cheery tomatoes, and oil foam

gelonch: toro on cracker


Cuttlefish taglierini with deconstructed pesto: parmiggiano whey, basil oil, garlic chips

gelonch: sepia


Quail eggs, grilled baby squid, anemones, asparagus, baked  garlic cream, and chorizo breadcrumbs

gelonch: baby squid & sea anemone


Codfish loin with morels

gelonch: codfish & codfish stomach


Wagyu beef 40 hour stew, beet lactose, and salsify in watercress

gelonch: wagyu


Suckling pig 24 hours sous vide, sunchoke cream, cashews, and croissant

gelonch: suckling pig


Assorted fruit cocktails: orange Campari, apple Grey Goose, watermelon gin tonic, pineapple-coconut rum

gelonch: fruit cocktails


Balearic Islands: sobrasada air cake, ensaimada ice cream, cheese cream, and Soller tangerine coulis



Summer truffle ganache, matcha tea cake, chocolate ice cream, and caramelized pistachio

gelonch: ganache, green tea cake, chocolate


  1. It is a pity these great restaurants fall through the radar of so many just because they lack the attention of a Michelin star. I've bookmarked the spot and hope to visit. Thanks for the tip!

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