I never understood why my dad loved canned fish so much, then I went to Spain and it all made sense. As a Mexican, visiting Spain was a very eye opening experience for me. Northern Mexico, where my family is from, has a significantly smaller indigenous population than Southern Mexico so the Spanish influence can be more prevalent. After spending some time in Spain, I now feel like I can see that part of myself when I look in the mirror.
I was researching for places in Barcelona with great views of the city when I found Marea Alta, a view I unfortunately didn't photograph. The restaurant and bar inhabit the top floors of El Edificio Colon and has a very stylish, almost vintage maritime feel. I felt like I was in a Wes Anderson film. We were overwhelmed by the menu, so we decided to go for their tasting menu. The menu overall pays homage to the wonderful and fresh seafood provided by the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a the traditional canned seafood of the Galicain coast. The tasting menu changes regularly, and we were able to make a few choices as far as dishes went.
We started with some appetizers: anchovies, smoked mussels, sardine filets, caixetes or Noah's Ark shells, and shrimp tartare that played on the classic Spanish tapa Gambas Al Ajillo. The appetizers were served with a fish and herb broth that helped cleanse the palate between bites.
Our next dish was one of the richest plates of food I've ever had. A bed of potatoes mashed with parmesan cheese, topped with a layer of whipped egg yolks and covered in sea urchin. The sea urchin really helped cut the richness of the dish, but once it was gone I couldn't finish the rest.
Next came grilled hake jowell and langoustines. I have never had fish jowell before but I found it to be really enjoyable. It was soft and rich like butter, almost melted in my mouth. The langoustines reminded me of really big shrimp, we ate the bodies and sucked the rich goodness out of the head.
Next was stingray stewed with chickpeas and herbs. The stingray was hard to eat, there were lots of bones that were hard to get around but after a little trying we figured it out. The soft flavor of the fish married really well with the heartiness of the chickpeas and the broth helped it go down smooth.
The showstopper was a whole grilled Turbot. The innards were removed, but the skin and roe remained. It was a lot to eat for just two people but we got through it. The fish was delicious, full of smoky, chargrilled flavor. The skin was crispy which was a nice contrast to the soft fish.
Then came our first dessert course, a mango sorbet with a gin foam and sliced pear and fresh berries. It was supposed to be a play on a gin and tonic, I thought it was yummy either way!
The final dessert was a traditional Spanish pastry filled with cream served with a coffee chocolate sauce. The pastry reminded me of croissant, it was light and flaky and paired well with the sweet cream inside. The coffee and chocolate was too strong for me but my boyfriend loved it! It was a great way to end the meal, and our trip to Barcelona.