Wednesday, December 31, 2014

El Nacional - Barcelona's Restaurant of Restaurants

By Javier Castillo - December/31/2014

In what used to be a large and drab car park on Barcelona's main artery - the famous Paseo de Gracia Avenue - you will find a new culinary oasis that is quickly becoming a reference point for epicurean enthusiasts and those appreciative of aesthetic interior design.

El Nacional is establising itself as a beacon of culinary-chic, offering multiple dining spaces in an impressive environment that resembles the glamorous Art Deco years. It is a complete reinvention of a complex that was built in the 1870s and first opened its doors as a café-theatre. Over the last 140 years it has gone through various transformations: from fabric and dye factory to car dealership to parking structure and to then finally shed its skin once more to embody the majestic space we witness today. 

One can’t talk about El Nacional without giving credit to the firm behind its makeover. The well-known Barcelona-based studio Lázaro Rosa Violán has giving the place its signature touch, full of floral and symmetrical designs, elements from a post-industrial world (metal gears turning and grinding), corners reminiscent of Grandma’s rustic kitchen space, and more modern and minimalist touches. It’s an abundance of different styles, a mosaic of atmospheres that all seem to blend perfectly together giving the interior a smooth, transitional composition. Think the Great Gatsby with a Spanish twist. In addition to the elegant atmosphere, the roughly 200 staff members: waiters, bartenders and floor managers help make you welcomed at every corner. And the food speaks for itself. The spaces you will find inside include a beer and preserves bar, a wine and cured meats bar, and oyster bar, and a cocktail bar that also offers food options. And the peripheral restaurants that are housed inside are La Braseria which specializes in meats, La Llotja which specializes in fresh fish, La Taperia which besides being considered the most festive part of El Nacional, specializes in – you guessed it – tapas.  And last but not least is La Paradeta which caters to those that want an uncomplicated and quick bite, serving up simple dishes such and sandwiches, pastries and cheese. El Nacional promises to be a major reference point for foodies in Barcelona and will most certainly continue to garner fame and lasting appreciation for many years to come. Its definitely worth checking out.

Passeig de Gràcia, 24 Bis 08007 Barcelona
+(34) 93 518 50 53
Open Every Day from 12.00 pm to 1.00 am with a capacity for 770 diners. 
They do not take reservations

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