Review restaurants with a treat: La Taverna del Clínic, extended version

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Traveler’s Review:
Eric Treiber, President/Chief Executive Officer

During our recent trip to Barcelona, my wife and I along with another couple enjoyed the dining experience of a lifetime at La Taverna del Clinic. We were joined by local chef Yves Nicolier Sandrock and his wife Eli. In preparation for our trip to Spain, we had researched the very best restaurants in Barcelona and La Taverna del Clinic was on the list. While enjoying a culinary tour earlier in the week with Yves, we asked him for dining recommendations and he immediately suggested La Taverna. We knew at that moment something special was going to happen. We just didn’t know how special!

Upon our arrival, we were met by Chef/Owner Toni Simoes and our adventure began. We started in the kitchen with a crisp glass of white wine and some amuse bouche. One was a smoked fish with jalapeno and the other a majestic Morel mushroom in a light cream sauce. While we enjoyed these delicacies and sipped our wine, Chef Simoes told us about the restaurant, provided some history, explained their meticulous preparation methods, and made us feel very welcome. The kitchen was absolutely immaculate, at a level I have not seen except for at the finest restaurants in the world. Extremely impressive.

Following this beginning, we were escorted to a beautiful chef’s table in a private room located directly next to the kitchen, such that we could still see the staff hard at work creating their masterpieces. Our first course at the table was a savory razor clam with fish roe, and next to it was small bowl with an ethereal cherry sauce and a mussel. A very unique combination that worked wonderfully together.

Next up was a raw tuna dish with a bit of greens and a pickled onion. The fish was so fresh, as if it was swimming an hour earlier. We were given a very unique utensil with which to pick up the fish. It was somewhat of a combination of chop sticks and forceps, and it worked perfectly. Just another nuance that added to our unique experience.

For our next course, and please know that the timing of each course was at a perfect pace, we enjoyed a crab stuffed cannelloni in a light cream sauce. This is the exact type of dish that might come across as being too heavy. But instead, it was as light as a cloud. Absolutely magnificent. And this was followed by a sweet red shrimp served over a paella pan crust, wrapped in a Bok Choy leaf. Yves explained to us that the paella crust, known as soccarat, is a highly prized delicacy, and the dish certainly did not disappoint.

Our second to last dinner course was a beautifully crusted sea bass served with wild mushrooms (now in season in Barcelona), nestled in a rich shrimp stock which Chef Simoes explained earlier when we were in the kitchen takes several days to reduce down. It was over the top amazing. And our final dinner course was a braised beef check in a Priorat wine reduction. We had been enjoying white wine throughout the evening, but for this course we paired it with a heavenly Priorat red wine selection. The combination was stunning as the beef cheek simply melted in your mouth.

And then for our dessert course, we had a brioche bread, soaked in milk, with a dollop of vanilla ice cream set on top of chocolate cookie crumbles. What a perfect way to end a magical evening. Throughout the entire 3 ½ hour dining experience, the staff of La Taverna del Clinic was amazing. Extremely professional, always well timed, and very polite. That evening in Barcelona will remain in our hearts and souls for the rest of our lives. One feels extremely lucky to have been exposed to such an amazing culinary adventure. Chef Simoes and the entire team at La Taverna del Clinic should be very proud of the fine work they are doing.

Cheers!
Eric Treiber