We were greeted with perfect weather on our first full day in Barcelona. The sun was shining and the wind was calm, so we donned our short-sleeved shirts and headed towards the water.
There are many small restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating all along the beach in Barcelona. We decided to check out Agua, as recommended by Esquire’s John Mariani. Although the other restaurants surrounding Agua had plenty of open seating, we decided to wait for “thirty minutes” to be seated outside here. After all, Agua must be doing something right if they are the only restaurant with a wait.
And so, as the hostess recommended, we took a seat at the bar facing an enormous window that looked out onto the outdoor patio and the Mediterranean beyond. At first it was nice, sitting there with a great glass of cava, the sparkling wine specialty of the Catalonia region, looking out onto the beach as the chic Spanish crowd with their faces half covered by enormous sunglasses filtered in and out of the establishment. And then we watched as the hostess greeted her friends with a kiss and an immediate table in the sun. Half an hour went by. Forty minutes. I sat for over an hour, admiring the Mediterranean paradise with greedy eyes, like a devilish American tourist whose access was denied.
Finally, after reminding the hostess of our existence, we were shown to a perfect table in the early afternoon sunlight. The house cava was excellent: Gran Claus 2004 Cava Brut Nature Reserva. We started with an arugula salad with parmesano cheese and balsamic, which was fresh and delicious. We also ordered mixed vegetables, which included broccoli, zucchini, and carrots, sautéed in a thyme olive oil and prawns in garlic oil. The savory star of the meal was the crema de ceps, huevo poché y aceite de trufa blanca, a poached egg in white truffle oil covered with mushroom puree. This was perhaps the most successful dish I had during my visit to Spain. The white truffle oil brought intense flavor to the dish while the perfectly cooked runny egg contributed texture to the otherwise thin puree. While it probably was not the most impressive looking dish, as each bite was simply a varying shade of brown, it had the most interesting taste.
Next, we ordered paella. The dish was good, but I think that Agua’s innovative dishes are more impressive than their traditional ones. While this was evident with the starters, it was confirmed with the dessert. We ordered the fresitas gratinadas a la pimienta, strawberries with custard that are grilled with a dash of pepper. The wild strawberries were small and tart and complemented the sweet custard very well. This dessert was so delicious that I had no qualms about continuing to eat it even after my mom compared the consistency of the custard to breast milk.
Pg. Marítim de la Barcoloneta, 30
Tel 93 225 1272