Chef Fran López trained in Barcelona then went to Paris for a three-month stage for Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athenee. He ended up working there for three years. He and his brother opened El Torreó de l’Indià (now called Villa Retiro Restaurant) which received it’s first Michelin star when he was only 25 years old.
Xerta Restaurant, located in 5-star Ohla Eixample Hotel, received its first Michelin star after being open for only 6 months. Fran López brings something to Barcelona that nobody else does, the flavors of the Ebro Delta region. The delta has a unique variety of natural landscapes including the most extensive aquatic habitat in Catalonia and rice paddies that are grown within a protected bird sanctuary. Typical Ebro Delta dishes might feature: game, duck, fish, eel, puddings, ‘rice prepared in unimaginable ways’ and always a good olive oil.
After trying Xerta’s Rice with Nettles and ‘Espardenyes,’ my daughter said, “This tastes just like the ocean!”
Indeed, it did. Full-bodied, fresh, bold sea flavors without being “fishy.” Wonderful.
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