Guys, I had one of my Top 3 best meals of my life in Martín Berasategui’s Lasarte Restaurant in Barcelona.
Life had been rather stressful and I needed a break. MD and I planned a trip together in a mission to do some R&R, shopping and stomach filling. Barcelona came up in conversation and I cringed a little bit because coupla years ago, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I left it loveless and single. Years later, I booked a trip on the basis of knowing my true love of good cuisine will set me free from bad memories of this sweet, Spanish city. That, and an Ed Sheeran song.
But seriously, Lasarte was reason enough – it’s Barcelona’s first and only 3-Michelin starred restaurant (and Spain’s 9th). I signed up months ahead of our flights hoping we’d get in. We didn’t get our first choice of date but when they said they could fit us into another day and time, I knew juggling the itinerary would be worth it.
Located at the luxurious Monument Hotel on Passeig de Gracia, Lasarte is Chef Berasategui’s “spiritual project” in Barcelona. The kitchen is headed by chef Paolo Casagrande whilst the dining room is managed by Joan Carles Ibáñez. Offering the best gastronomic experience through prime produce, innovative cooking, and fantastic service, Restaurant Lasarte is one to wow foodies on a global scale.
Pre-drinks at Hall0
We came a bit early so we can have drinks at Javier de las Muelas’ Hall0 (Hall – Zero) at the Monument Hotel’s lobby. We came in just straight after our flights and a much-needed drink was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I opted for a drink called Jewel of the Sea (18€), aptly served in a massive seashell. My drink was a refreshing concoction of Grey Goose, lime juice, mandarin syrup, St. Germain, salicornia, mint, tonic water and droplets of Mediterranean rosemary. Perfect for a boozy recharge.
MD’s Brokeback Mountain (18€) was a concoction of Maker’s Mark, coffee express, Droplets Green Cardamom, Kahlúa, cacao creme and vanilla syrup. Served in a big coffee pot and two cups (one for cafe solo and one for cafe con crema), this was the perfect cocktail if you want a wake-me-up.
Moments later, the restaurant opened and our gastronomic journey finally began.
The 13-Course Tasting Menu
The restaurant offers two tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu. The “Lasarte Menu” offers 8-courses for 185€ and the “Tasting Menu” offers 13 courses for 210€. We opted for the latter with a little bit of wine.
Little snacky treats and appetizers
But first, some snacks…
Cheese crackers with raw prawn, yuzu mayo, and citrus jelly…
Beetroot tapioca crackers with artichoke curls, wasabi and caviar…
And these mind-blowing fritters filled with pork neck that were so good they deserved a little round of applause.
And then there was bread.
The bread selection is quite simple but the smell of these baked bad boys livened up our appetite. I opted for a brioche with bacon (because jamon, jamon, jamon) whilst MD chose a white baguette.
To compliment the bread, we had beautiful tubes of unsalted, plain, mushroom, tomato, spinach and beetroot infused butter.
Another appetizer came and I think I liked this one best. A pot of jalapeño cream, cucumber espuma, liquorice and razor clams. It was like savoury mousse. I hate liquorice but the flavours weren’t as prominent as the zingy jalepeño so I really enjoyed this.
And then finally, Martín Berasategui’s signature savoury millefeuile of foie gras, smoked eel and caramelized green apple. The texture contrast was fantastic (and you guys know I love texture) but it’s the flavour I found gripping. The thinnest layer of green apple cut through the richness of that foie, and the fresh saltiness of that eel. Perfection.
A fantastic, well thought-of menu
The first dish was a slightly marinated warm oyster served with iced watercress slush, parsnip and “sea mist”. I wasn’t expecting much from a de-shelled oyster but boy did our eyes pop on the forkful. The freshness, with an added texture of iced watercress, was seafood at its best.
Next was a scarlet shrimp served with red curry “royal” (aka jelly-like), raw artichokes, celery & apple foam and a quenelle of lobster tartare. The shrimp was cooked beautifully, its natural sweetness working well with the condensed curry sauce. The apple celery foam provided an added depth of sweetness and a good overall balance.
The next dish made me smile a lot. It was literally a garden of vegetable leaves and petals salad, herbs, sprouts with lettuce cream and lobster. There was also a surprise little snail in the middle and I chuckled in glee because it really looked so much fun to eat.
The dressing was “royal”-ed too, although I’m not quite sure what particularly was in the clear jelly. However, you can definitely taste the distinct, fragrant flavours from the vegetable leaves and petals. Beautiful plate of food, this was. And refreshing, too!
The next dish was called “la trufa” which is actually foie gras disguised as a truffle. The smell of truffle was quite prominent but the taste of foie was still dominant. The dish was rich in earthy flavours as it had fermented shrooms, collard greens, and black truffle shavings, too. MD wasn’t a fan and thought it was umami overload. I thought it was genius.
Next, two slices of Wagyu carpaccio topped with flamed salmon, tarragon extract, frozen cheese. Here’s a controversial statement: I’m not too moved about Wagyu. I think good beef, when cooked perfectly, is good beef, end of. Lasarte’s carpaccio touched our palate quite nicely. However, it was so fresh, the pungent flavour left an aftertaste that didn’t sit quite right with me. MD devoured my other slice.
Now here’s when I started getting a bit more impressed by the thoughtfulness of the menu. Following the beefy carpaccio, was a light and refreshing risotto.
This, my friends, is the best risotto I’ve ever had. Rice cooked perfectly with a good amount of bite and spring, the creamy, zesty, citric sauce was intense in flavour but very well balanced. Topped with cockles and sea urchin for a hint of saltiness, this dish was a welcome break after the richness of the two previous dishes.
Next up was another beautifully cooked Carabinero prawn on a “seabed” made with fennel and coral emulsion. I smiled as I noticed umibudo seaweed, my favourite type of seaweed growing up. Fried shell and legs of the prawn lay by its tail, to add extra flavour and texture. Another innovative dish, I thought.
But it wasn’t really our fave.
You see, the prawn was perfectly cooked. And all the elements of the seabed was fresh. So fresh that it actually tasted… of what I’d imagined a seabed tasted like. I mean technically it’s a testament to the chef’s skills. But it’s just not something we liked too much.
Next on the list was a grilled Dover sole, with barnacles mariniere sauce, octopus slices, pumpkin and saffron foam.
The fish was melt-in-your-mouth, and the octopus slices were undeniably well-cooked. It was another good light dish after the intense aftertaste of that seabed from the prawn.
And then, my favourite course of the meal was served.
Charcoal grilled pigeon with citrus, capers, black olive, smoked sauce and galangal.
The pigeon was a gorgeous pink colour, a sign of its beautifully cooked state, with its skin crispy AF. The smoky barbecue and mandarin sauce gave it a really good kick, reminiscent of comfort eating during Summer days. It’s familiar and it’s lovely.
The little bits of garnish elevated the flavours without veering from the taste of the pigeon. It was hearty but light, well thought-of and pleasing to the palate. I fell in love with this dish, and it was definitely a nice way to serve pigeon. I heart it so much.
Desserts and petit fours
Our first dessert came in form of a shiso and mint sorbet, with acid touches and milk crisp. I can’t help but notice how it sounded similar to a dish I had at The Caxton before Adam Handling moved on to open his own restaurant. I was quite reluctant as I didn’t like that dessert before.
Lasarte’s version, however, wowed me. It was the perfect balance of shiso and yuzu to sweetness. The mint sorbet balanced the strong citric flavours and the custard bed was exactly what any sour dessert craved for.
The second dessert was an almond and salt praline with apricot and rum ice cream. Anyone who loves a good caramel would kill for this. The ice cream was pretty amazing but it’s the salted praline that I genuinely adored.
The thing about petit fours is that sometimes, I really couldn’t care less about them (although they are pretty to photograph). But Lasarte’s petit fours were a league of their own. As we drank our coffees, we absolutely enjoyed indulging on the petit fours. I particularly loved the chocolate praline, with a mousse so rich yet so light and the passionfruit mousse atop a little biscuit cracker. It was such a good end to the grand meal that we had.
Verdict for Lasarte
If it’s not too obvious yet, Lasarte is possibly the reason I fell in love with Barcelona all over again.
There are some restaurants you end up loving but only a few have a resounding impact. Lasarte reminded me that dining (or fine dining) must really be an experience. And the journey that food can take you is one trip that’s meant to be cherished.
Service was impeccable. Whilst drinking our coffees, Manager Joan Carles and Head Chef Paolo made their rounds through the dining room and politely said hello to the diners. I had to stop myself from going goo-goo-ga-ga and from rambling about the menu as the chef had to go (and I’m kicking myself we didn’t have a photo). BUT it was such a nice touch, on top of the very good service we had.
The restaurant itself is beautifully light and airy and the atmosphere is quite relaxed despite the obvious high-end quality of the place.
For 210€, Lasarte’s tasting menu brought forth a lot of textures, techniques, flavours and concepts that any foodie would highly appreciate. Wine selection is impressive as well and the sommeliers are very knowledgeable.
You can NOT miss this restaurant if you ever go to Barcelona. Go and let Lasarte take you on a journey. Go and fall in love.
Carrer de Mallorca, 259, 08008 Barcelona
Ave price pp: 150€ ala carte, 250€ for the tasting menu with drinks