When you ask a Barcelona taxi driver if he can take you to the old Ritz and he stares at you as if you were a ghost, capable of trying to pay his fare with pesetas, you understand that you have to assimilate the passage of time and use that name that is resists: The Palace Barcelona. It is there, on the corner of Gran Via and Llúria, that Romain Fornell’s first Caelis was hosted, where the hotel’s new restaurant will open next week, a spectacular dining room that has been closed for five years.
Eva Pous (Eva Pous Interiors) has turned it into the brand new Amar Barcelona, navy blue walls, to match its aquatic offer and with that blue velvet of the seats, which contrasts with the golden friezes and the two majestic chandeliers that illuminate the dining room and the tables, escorted by stylized lights flush with the wall, in a successful balance between what they call classic and contemporary luxury.
A bar next to the entrance will provide dynamism where there will be oysters, salpicones, and some of Zafra’s most successful preparations, such as its smoked salmon and caviar bikini or the trikini, with lobster, salmon and caviar (whoever can throw the house Through the window).
Amar Barcelona is accessed through a side entrance next to the main door of the hotel, and advances through a corridor with showcases like those of a jewelry store to highlight a luxury pantry: here there are lobster, barnacles, clams more than fine from Carril derailed , so large, and crayfish and XXL prawns. Not in vain is Rafa Zafra, the charismatic chef of Estimar, at the head of the ship, accompanied by his partner, Anna Gotanegra, director of Estimar and a family of renowned fish suppliers from Roses, and Ricardo Acquista, partner for many years .
There is a bar where you can eat without reservation, which will bring dynamism to the establishment
When in December we advanced the details of the long-awaited opening, Rafa Zafra jokingly wondered what a guy like him, who is happy cooking in a beachfront beach bar in shorts and sandals, was doing in such a luxurious hotel. And he himself answered that the harmony with the owner of the hotel and with the management had been key, which was absolute since they made him the proposal.
So he was talking about casual luxury and a ticket with a starting point of between 60-70 euros. And she said that she would not cook to feed her ego but to make the diner happy. And he will happily do it, if he can afford it, although I would not rule out including more affordable options to get a little closer to that aforementioned starting point in the account.
I try some of the dishes already prepared by the chef, Gonzalo Hernández, Zafra’s right-hand man for many years and happy to finally set sail. The langoustine carpaccio is a tribute to the one that came out of Cala Montjoi in 1995 (27 euros), the brioche toast with butter and caviar (20 euros), the delicious seafood aspic (36 euros) that is included in a tribute section to the classics from the Ritz, the cigala from Isla Cristina in three cookings –boiled, Josper and in tempura– (26 euros/100gr.), a couple of dishes from the Amar&Montaña chapter: peas with cod gut, bull black and truffle (80 euros) and the Galician spider crab cannelloni with chicken and sea urchin juice (56 euros), a spectacular classic, to finish off with another old jewel of the Ritz, the Cardinale lobster (price according to size), before moving on to the millefeuille and fruits. The restaurant is run by Pablo Wübbe and Carlos Besteiro, who during the first months will have the invaluable help of a great friend of Zafra and master of the room, Pol Perelló. The winery is in charge of Diana D’Urso.
Gran Via of the Catalan Courts, 668, 08010 Barcelona
935 10 11 30