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Enigma

brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià’s newest restaurant in Barcelona

Two of the greatest chefs in the world talk about their projects in Barcelona. Above, a tour of Adrià empire with chef Albert

Anyone who wanders past the unassuming corner of Sepúlveda with Entença would never guess that a revolution is being plotted behind the 13 covered windows. Chef Albert Adrià is moving full speed ahead to open Enigma, the most ambitious project of his life and an investment of €2 million, but with a calm forged in the kitchen of elBulli, the restaurant helmed by his brother Ferran that revolutionized haute cuisine until it closed in 2011.

AMBITIOUS PLAN
“Enigma is the final piece of a larger project called “elBarri” (Catalan for ‘the neighborhood’), which consists of six restaurants in the same area of Barcelona.” Scattered throughout the districts of Sant Antoni and Poble Sec, from Parque de Montjuïc to the historic center, these shining stars have made this neighborhood the center of the local galaxy. The recent revitalization of Avenida Paral-lel, which now boasts broad sidewalks and bike paths, was a boon to the initiative. And the crowning event will be the 2017 opening of the new Sant Antoni market, a modernist structure that will house a museum, bars, and restaurants.

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FIRST-HAND
“We’ve done everything we can with food, so let’s play with the interaction with the ambiance,” says Oliver Peña, chef at Enigma. The 5,400-square-foot restaurant promises 24 diners a culinary journey through an “urban forest.” Some 30 dishes, cocktails, and a teppanyaki counter will be part of the menu. And for dessert? “They’ll have a retro-classic appearance and get less sweet with each stage, ending in coffee.”

RESEARCH CENTER 
Albert’s delectable empire is just a 10-minute walk from Carrer Mèxic 18, where Ferran set up elBulliLab, the research center of the elBullifoundation, focused on efficient innovation through various projects; the most recent is the book Te Cuento la Cocina, developed in partnership with Disney.

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BARCELONA IN THE FRONT
Barcelona has long been setting trends. “Despite our issues with independence and our small size, Catalonia is very cosmopolitan,” says Ferran. In the 19th century, Antoni Gaudí and other modernist architects erected delirious forms to mark the skyline of the Catalan capital with constructions like the Parque Güell. In the 20th century, the city expanded toward the Mediterranean to host the 1992 Olympic Games in an exemplary redevelopment project.

The Adrià District

A tiny empire built by Albert and Ferran in the neighborhoods of Poble Sec and Sant Antoni

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ENIGMA
The crown jewel of Albert Adrià’s project: a culinary journey in which diners move through different environments
Sepúlveda, 38-40

TICKETS
A tapas bar with one Michelin star, a colorful ambiance, and a spectacular area just for desserts.
Av. del Paral-lel, 164

BODEGA 1900
Albert pays tribute to vermouth in a top-shelf bar where you can dine well for less than €40.
Tamarit, 91

NIÑO VIEJO
Michelin starred, serves the best of nipo-peruvian cuisine. Young and talented Jorge Muñoz is the chef.
Mistral, 54

HOJA SANTA
A Mexican taqueria with a modern twist, where you can eat for less than €35. Don’t miss the cocktails.
Mistral, 54

PAKTA
Mexican haute cuisine in partnership with the talented chef Paco Méndez that just ranked a Michelin star. “The best Mexican restaurant outside of Mexico,” says Ferran.
Carrer de Lleida, 5

ELBILLULAB
The current HQ of Ferran Adrià and his elBulliFoundation, a multidisciplinary initiative for R&D focused on efficiency and innovation.

By Adriana Setti
Photos Paola de Grenet