Peak Inside the new Catalan Inspired Gastronomic Experience, Opera Samfaina
Posted On September 14, 2016
I stumbled upon Opera Samfaina while walking around Barcelona one day and was completely taken aback by what I found inside. This unique gastronomic experience on Las Ramblas, below the Liceu Opera Theater was created by world famous chefs, the Roca brothers, who opened El Cellar de Can Roca in the 80s, later named the best restaurant in the world and earning three Michelin stars. In collaboration with director, Franc Aleu and screenwriter, producer and director, Joan Gràcia; Catalan culture, tradition and cuisine take shape in front of visitors.
As I discovered the Opera Samfaina by accident, I didn’t have a reservation, but luckily it was early on a Sunday evening and the project is still quite under the radar (it opened in August, 2016, but officially launches this month). I was quite doubtful at first since it’s located right on the crowded street of Las Ramblas, known for cheap souvenirs, bad food and tourist traps, but once I entered, it was like a magical world of its own.
Learn about Catalan cuisine and traditions.
Just like the creative minds behind the project, the entire experience is truly Catalan. Everything from the ingredients of the tapas, all of which come from different parts of Catalunya, to the music and decor. Try products famous from the region, like anchovies from L’Escala and sausage from Girona all accompanied with wine from each of the wine producing regions in Catalonia. The experience gives visitors a feel of the region and will even put a smile on any local’s face.
Open up to a truly multi-sensory experience.
The stage is set when an actor takes you through a story, explained through six moving frames on the wall. The story and frames correspond to the rest of the experience (I won’t spoil too much of the fun). Visitors can then choose to have the full tapa menu, which comes with eight small tapas and two drinks (reservations online) or choose one of the themed rooms with their corresponding tapa dishes and bar. The main room with circular tables are reserved for those doing the full degustation menu. These tables are unique and one of the most impressive parts of the experience. As each dish is presented and explained by the server, a video is projected onto the surface, which correlates to the dish and theme.
There are so many wonderful small details that were thought about by the creators and the service here is impeccable (not just for Spanish standards).
Enjoy an entirely cash & card free zone.
When you enter, everyone is given a bracelet with a special chip to be used throughout the restaurant and bar. It doesn’t matter if you choose to do the full degustation menu of tapas or just want to grab a drink or a single tapa, your bracelet is scanned for all purchases. The concept is great as it saves time and eliminates the need for bartenders to handle payments and focus on service. After you’re finished, each bracelet is scanned at the exit by cashiers, where you pay before leaving. Be mindful that there is a minimum consumption needed to leave.
Nibble on tapas crafted by famous Catalan chefs.
Barra Solidaria (the solidarity bar) in the main room is extra special. Respected celebrity chefs from throughout Catalonia create dishes of their choosing. A percentage of each purchase goes toward organizations which focus on improving social integration in the city of Barcelona.