El Cinco: Traditional Cuisine with an Innovative Look



This is the most personal project from chef and Barcelona native Josep Armenteros. After more than 14 years as part of Carles Gaig’s team, he decided to take the lead at El Cinco, a restaurant featuring traditional cooking with touches of innovation and haute cuisine. “We want to put a twist on recipes that are old favorites. We want to give them a totally different vision, especially when it comes to the aesthetics.” So, at El Cinco, you can tuck into dishes such as partridge with cabbage or duck with pears, but not in the form you’d expect, and with a meticulous, surprising presentation.

The form the dishes take is often reminiscent of confectionery. Armenteros started out in the world of gastronomy as a pastry chef, and even won the award for best confectioner in Spain in 2007. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of his dishes look more like something sweet than usual.

El Cinco is open seven days a week. From Monday to Sunday they offer a lunchtime menu (€19.50) with a wide variety of appetizers, entrées, and desserts. From Tuesday to Saturday you can try suggestions from a menu that is bound to amaze. It couldn’t be farther from the usual dishes appearing on the menus of the majority of restaurants. Tartare, ceviche, and salads with lettuce, like we’re used to seeing in restaurants, aren’t on offer. “We do salads but without leaves. We don’t want to fall into the trap of offering mesclun,” explains Armenteros. There’s also something for vegetarians and vegans on the menu, “because there’s really a lot of demand.”  There are also interesting options for those with a sweet tooth, with a good range of desserts—one of the restaurant’s specialties. “There’s almost always something with chocolate and a dessert I like to make, like panettone French toast, for instance, which we serve with vanilla ice cream.”

Brie Spanish omelet with apple; cheek meat croquettes with jus; scallops with stewed pig’s trotters; and foie gras ravioli with eel, crème fraiche, and walnuts are some of the standouts on a menu featuring 24 culinary proposals, where the wine plays a very important role, too. “It’s something fundamental: We aim for our dishes to be able to be paired with a good selection of wines, cavas, and Champagnes.” The Jean Leon wines available are the 3055 Chardonnay and the 3055 Merlot-Petit Verdot.

The aesthetics of the premises shirk the ordinary as well. Elegant, colorful, and sophisticated, it’s the work of prestigious designer Lázaro Rosa Violán. “We want the people who come to the restaurant to feel at ease and to eat comfortably. You can come to have some wine, some croquettes, to eat dinner, and even just for a glass of wine.” A glass of wine that lasts all the way until the wee hours, if you want. On the ground floor there’s a private room and a spectacular dance hall that for many years was a benchmark of Barcelona nightlife. “We provide the opportunity to continue the experience of dining with a good assortment of cocktails and great music.” They’ve been open for just six months and they’ve already become a point of reference in the upper part of the city. Were you ever in doubt?


Categorías: Gastronomy