The minimalist, food-as-chemistry approach, pioneered by Catalan super-chef Ferran Adrià (of El Bulli fame), has Barcelona in a vice-like grip. The best local chefs continue to reinterpret classic Catalan dishes in innovative ways, and while prices in these gastro-temples are high there’s a trend towards more economic, bistro-style dining even by the hottest chefs. Current fad is the fusion of Mediterranean and Asian flavours – a so-called “Mediterrasian” cuisine – that combines local, market-fresh ingredients with more exotic tastes. It rears its head especially in the world of tapas, since although there are still plenty of traditional tapas bars (particularly in the Barri Gòtic, along c/Ample, c/de la Mercè, and their offshoots), there’s also a real sense of adventure in new-wave places that are deadly serious about their food – you’re as likely to get shrimp tempura or a yucca chip as a garlic mushroom in Barcelona these days.

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