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La Dama has been a name associated with elegance in the world of Barcelona fine dining since 1986, when iconic Barcelona chef Josep Bullich opened a gastronomic space in the dazzling Casa Sayrach, a Modernista home from 1918 on the corner of Avinguda Diagonal and Enric Granados. For decades, until its closing in 2015, La Dama was a bastion of classic haute cuisine. Not long after these famous doors were shuttered, they were re-opened under the same name with an entirely new concept and appearance. The new La Dama might be one of the most beautiful and refined restaurants (without being overly formal) in which I have ever eaten. The building is incredible and the decoration deeply authentic. I could have stayed for hours, enjoying this intimate and stylish environment, decorated with mirrors, vintage posters and eclectic artwork. The food lives up to the impressive space. With the recent addition of Parisian chef Edouard Deplus, the menu of La Dama is full of nods to the realm of modern French dining, while winking slyly at the food traditions of Spain, Scandinavia and beyond.
The execution of each dish was spot on. The squid carbonara (strips of squid resembling tagliatelle with a creamy egg yolk parmesan sauce) was velvety and delicious, and the jumbo seared scallop with sunchoke purée and jamón chip was cooked perfectly, with lovely layered textures. I’m a sucker for veal sweetbreads, and the ones at La Dama, plump and crispy, and served with Morel mushrooms on an indulgent potato purée (laden with butter like only the French know how) were perhaps the best sautéed sweetbreads I have ever had. The braised aged beef rib was garnished with pickled onion—an ideal foil to the rich and concentrated flavour of the braised meat, which tasted mildly of American barbecue.
Places like La Dama are few and far between. In the same restaurant, you find a homage to the city’s golden era of Modernisme, a dynamic and varied menu full of finesse, and an interior decor and ambiance that could render any date a near guaranteed success. With an average à la carte price of around €55 per person, I think La Dama deserves all of its recent accolades, and more.
La Dama. Avda. Diagonal 423-425. Tel. 93 209 6328. Opening Times: Mon-Sat 1.30pm-5pm and 8.30pm-3am. Closed Sunday.