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Restaurants: How to Eat

The real problem may be 'how to stop'

Concurs de Menjar Calçots

What to Eat

Catalan cooking wouldn't be Catalan without a double dip of eccentricity. The gentleman pictured above is participating in a calçotada—every spring the Catalans put on their bibs and pig out indecently on kilos and kilos of enormous green onions called calçots, done up crusty black on an outdoor grill.

But the upper stratosphere of Catalan cuisine is a rarefied place indeed; there are, as of 2020, there are 22 Michelin-starred restaurants within the city limits (see below). And the Catalans take cooking with the same intense seriousness they take everything else, with manifestos and denunciations flying.

Right now, it's the battle of Ancients and Moderns—defenders of traditional cooking versus the wild experimenters, buoyed by the international mania for Ferran Adrià's El Bulli (now closed), with its ponderous pretensions and its foam and test tubes and liquid nitrogen.

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Food and Drink

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Fl, Jennifer Woodard Maderazo