Chef Jordi Vilà is making news here with his inventive creations and tasting menus at €68 and €94 that still manage to pass for a bargain at the top end of Barcelona culinary culture even in this current economy. The €39 price tag on the midday menu is daunting, but well worth the outlay. The place is usually packed, but the white-on-white graphic decor, reminiscent of a Mondrian canvas, provides a sense of space. Vilà's deconstructed pa amb tomaquet (in
classical usage, toasted bread with olive oil and squeezed tomato) served in a shot glass is just a culinary wink before things get deadly serious with raw tuna strips, baby squid, or turbot. A dark-meat course, venison or beef, brings the taste progression to a close before dessert provides a sweet ending. Alkimia, as its name suggests, is pure magic—alas, it's open only on weekdays.