La Barra de Carles Abellan, standing right on the well-travelled Passeig Joan de Borbó, is an atypical Michelin-starred restaurant: it's a space that's dominated by two majestic bars where you eat while perched on stools (hence the 'Barra' in the name). It's a haute cuisine restaurant wedged between local shrines to fried food, in a neighbourhood that needed a bit more 'gastro' prestige. 'I set out to make a place like Tapas24,' says Abellan. 'But we started to get carried away with the project, and, like someone who wants one baby and they get triplets, we gave birth to La Barra.'
The chef has chosen to mix traditions when it comes to recipes for fisherman's stews, with a clarity of ideas and ability to get it right that lead to impressive results. Take the rice dish with garlic prawns, both parts cooked to perfection using the juice from the head of the prawns. Or the traditional dish featuring surf and turf foods: seafood stew with ray is back, but it's not swimming in 'suquet' sauce, rather in a Madrid-style offal broth.
You'll also find a repertoire of seafood tapas the likes of which you've likely not seen before.