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“Good but too fast”
Review of Alkimia

Ranked #921 of 11,168 Restaurants in Barcelona
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $91 - $170
Neighborhood: Sant Antoni
Restaurant details
Neighborhood: Sant Antoni
Reviewed August 12, 2018 via mobile

Nice place and beautiful ambiance. We had the alkimia signature menu and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately they don’t offer a wine paring like other star restaurants in Europe and their English leaves something to be desired. This left us guessing about some of the details with regards to the ingredients - we found this to be a shame. That said; the food was genuinely tasty and of impeccable quality.
The biggest letdown for us was the speed with which the dishes were served. There was literally no time to breathe or visit the bathroom - it was that quick.

Date of visit: August 2018
Thank patatmeeuw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 29, 2018 via mobile

When you visit Alkamia you ring a doorbell and enter through the darkened stairway of what seems to be an Art Deco apartment building. Upon entering the restaurant, the world change to a mix of modern colors and tables within a couple of classic rooms. It's quite nice.

The servers and the service is outstanding. Immediate attention is given to every patron in a warm and friendly way. The ambiance and the service blow away 99% of the restaurants in Barcelona. It is a highly professional yet personal group tending to clients. They are top notch.

The food is extremely creative, delicious and of superb quality. We decided to go al a carte and the highlights were outstanding lamb and fish as well as veal ravioli. We were a little more cautious than others and didn't regret it for a minute.

It's an experience one can only have at a restaurant where the chef has take matters to a different level. It's not cheap, but worth every euro.

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank wrldwonder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2018 via mobile

One of our top favorite restaurants in Barcelona for the last fifteen years! Stunning decor! Incredible and creative menu! Delicious!

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank Stephen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2018

A business lunch, choosing the short menu, and no problem at all reorganising dishes to avoid seafood allergies. The decoration is very original and gives a fairly airy feel supported by the space between tables. The food is good, with each dish being small, very well-cooked and visually attractive in presentation, so there is no heaviness as the different courses arrive. The ingredients are fresh and well treated, with good smells, flavours, textures and taste. The wine list is very reasonable. The only 'hmmm' is the service. It is efficient but very 'cold', which is sad as some complicity from the staff makes a meal so much more agreeable: only our last waitress managed more than a fleeting smile. All in all, worth a visit, but not sure if we will return.

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank blynam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2018

As the old expression suggests, if you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig (no matter how pretty). Jordi Vila’s posh Sant Antoni restaurant does much to build expectations through ultramodern design aesthetics and invoking an innovative, laboratory-like feel to the entryway and dining room, but does little to back up these expectations with good food. Indeed, Alkimia appears to fall well short of meeting its goal of offering innovative and exciting takes on Catalonian classics.

The first bite, compliments of the chef, was a head scratcher. A “Negroni tart” took the form of a single marinated anchovy on its own plate, a dry black olive pastry on another, and a semi-frozen splash of an “orange mousse” Negroni in a small glass. I do not hyperbolize when I say that we considered the possibility it was a joke. We were only able to dispel this theory (which was gaining traction by the second) after witnessing the first bite arrive at a nearby table of equally baffled patrons.

A pickled carrot cream with langoustine was mundane and disappointing. The carrot cream lacked the punchiness that you’d expect from pickling. While visually intriguing, its taste was a long, flat note (and a missed opportunity). The langoustine which topped the carrot cream was even less interesting. Steamed, chilled, and unseasoned, it offered neither a textural or flavorful reprieve from the flatness of the carrot cream.

A leek tarte was aptly prepared and nicely presented. The outside of the tarte was lovely and flaky; the inside creamy and well-balanced. With that said, we felt the item was out of place. Given Alkimia’s overall “storyline,” we would have expected a more inspired or innovative interpretation of a classic. This was simply a classic (however well prepared).

The veal ravioli was, in some respects, deftly prepared. The ravioli themselves were delicate and filled with delightfully savory veal. The first problem with the dish was that it came to us lukewarm. The second was that I’ve had numerous iterations of this very same dish over the years, and at establishments that bill themselves as far less innovative. The chef’s attempt to inject innovation into the dish – adding thinly sliced squid to the top of each raviolo – fell flat, as we found the combination to be disjointed and unappealing.

The grilled wild seabass with cabbage was a mess. The fish had none of the delightful flakiness we’d expect from a grilled white fish, but instead had the unpleasant “compressed” texture we see with overdone seafood. More problematic, the fish was served skin-on, but the skin was wet, rubbery and wholly unpleasant. What is more, the fish came served swimming in a raifort (think horseradish) sauce that was unbalanced and frankly inedible. We struggled to come up with an apt adjective, but in the end settled on something between “soapy” and “chemical-ly.” This dish was a breathtakingly bad miss for a Michelin-starred kitchen and, we suspect, would never have found its way to our table had one member of the kitchen staff had a taste.

The service, while generally polite, was cold and not particularly engaging. The waitstaff’s matching outfits (let’s call a spade a spade: costumes), no doubt another attempt at injecting modernism into the experience, seemed all the more ridiculous in light of the inconsistent and disappointing cuisine. If you’re seeking a visual, imagine how the servers on rollerskates would be dressed if Sonic opened a SoHo location. Further, the staff had the most peculiar (and annoying) habit of filling our wine glasses by very little amounts (well short of the wide point of the glass) and very frequently. Sip, pour, sip, pour.

The entire establishment is awash with unique and modern design elements – some, admittedly, rather appealing. The entryway is dramatic and replete with intriguing visual and audial stimuli, while the dining room is a riot of modern architecture and décor. The risk in including these elements, however, is that they serve to magnify or accelerate whatever momentum the confluence of the food and service may have. If the cuisine is truly innovative and beautifully prepared, over-the-top modernism may further enhance the overall experience and keep you coming back. At Alkimia, however, these elements appeared ridiculous in light of the shortcomings of the food and service– truly the lipstick on the pig.

(I’d like to add that this experience represented a rare miss in Barcelona, a city that is a riot of culinary excellence and innovation. We had several exceptional dining experiences in the city. Please feel free to message me directly if you’d like to hear about some recommendations.)

Review Summary:
Food: C-
Service: C-
Décor: B+
Best thing we ate: the wine (fine, the leek tarte)
Worst thing we ate: grilled wild fish
Expect: Better architecture than food
Don’t Expect: True culinary innovation or a passionate staff

Date of visit: June 2018
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank TheMichaelJames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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