Restaurant Review: Arola at Hotel Arts Barcelona in Spain
A contemporary interpretation of traditional Spanish tapas, Arola within the iconic Hotel Arts Barcelona, offers diners the taste of Spain with added creative flair. The culinary vision of Sergi Arola, one of Spain’s most recognised chefs; dinner at Arola is filled with ingenious cocktails, high design presentation and delicate composition that embody his forward thinking imagination.
Overlooked by Frank Gehry’s El Peix 52-metre golden fish sculpture commissioned for the 1992 Olympics which glows under the warm evening sun, dinner at Arola must start with cocktails. As inventive as the menu, head bar man Diego Baud instantly transports me to Mexico with a chilli cocktail and presentation featuring a capsule dessert complete with cacti. Needless to say that neighbouring tables followed suit; snapping for Instagram.
Driven by imagination and a desire to offer diners a fun and surprising experience supported by great food, this contemporary menu links the original recipes of Spanish and Catalan cooking with the delicate presence of fine dining. With the cocktails behind us we pay attention to Arola’s tasting menu – deciding it was best to leave our decisions to the experts for the full experience with some surprises along the way.
Colours are complemented against one another with the use of ingredients and ceramics. First to make its way to our table is the asparagus and seasonal tomatoes with the trilogy tapas which enliven our tongues ahead of this gastronomic line up. Next up, a prominent French favourite – beef tartare, hand chopped and marinated with chimchurri and chipotle mayonnaise is fresh with chunky texture. This is followed by tasty pork bites and indulgent raviolis filled with pork foie gras and mushrooms with an oxtail red wine sauce.
Onto Arola’s larger dishes or listed on the menu as ‘more than a pica’ – sea bass is finished with mango and ginger whilst another plate presents wagu sirloin prepared on hot coals. To finish Sergi Arola’s creative interpretation shines with a sweet mimic of their tapas trilogy that we started with; finished with identical layout we were quickly assured we weren’t’ starting all over again; regrettably! Arola doesn’t stop there; those with a sweet tooth can relish another dessert with a presentation that can easily be appreciated by all.
Fast forwarding the famous heritage of Spanish cuisine to the 21st century with a strong focus on reimagining familiar ingredients and tapas dishes in an avant-garde light, Arola is one to add to your list of places to visit in Barcelona. Steps from the city’s supreme beach and located within the luxury of Hotel Arts Barcelona, this restaurant is as much loved by the sophisticated locals as the visitors to the Catalan capital.
Address: Arola, Hotel Arts Barcelona, Marina 19-21, 08005 Barcelona, Spain, T – 93 483 80 90, arola-arts.com