Telefèric Barcelona — which originated in Sant Cugat (a town north of Barcelona) in 1993, followed by a second spot in Barcelona itself in 1996 — opened its third outpost, its first U.S. location, in Walnut Creek last week. The buzzy, modern space on Mt Diablo Blvd, designed by Oakland architects Arcsine, focuses on pintxos (Basque snacks served on skewers), tapas and paella.
The restaurant group is owned and run by the Padrosa family, and Xavi Padrosa is on the ground overseeing the launch of the Bay Area outpost. (The name, by the way, is a nod to Barcelona’s famous Montjuïc cable car, or telefèric.)
Some of the dishes you can expect to find on the menu: Ma Première Foie (foie gras served with grilled apple, caramelized onion, and cherry jam); Pulpo Telefèric (wood grilled octopus with roasted potato cream and crispy bacon); Albóndigas “Lo Que Digas” (spiced chorizo meatballs with cuttlefish and sofrito, honey, and chocolate sauce); larger plates meant for sharing such Ham-On Jamón Ibérico Gran Reserva (40-month aged ham sourced from Ibérico pigs in Spain), and Paella Mediterránea (Spanish bomba ride, prawns, Monterey calamari, clams, mussels, soffrito de la casa). And for dessert: Crema Catalana, Churros con Chocolate and, striking an incongruous note, Cheesecake (Philly cream cheese with cookie crumble and market fruits).
Cocktails, devised by Dos Ojos Hospitality, are often served in outsize wine glasses and are very pretty, embellished as they are with flower petals, spices and herbs. There’s Spanish Merchant Gin Tonic (Opihr gin, East Imperial tonic, juniper, orange, pimento, and nasturtium flower) and Sangria Telefèric (red wine, Oloroso sherry, ginger, citrus, berries, apple, chamomile, cinnamon, soda, sangria gelée).
The ambiance is lively and participatory: the pintxos, tapas and paella are all brought to tables on dim-sum style carts, and, at least on the night we visited, every time a new paella left the kitchen, or a party pitcher of “Porrón de Rebujito” (Manzanilla sherry with lemon and cinnamon) was consumed, great cheers erupted.
Telefèric Barcelona is on the second floor of a new three-story building and, along with the main dining area, there’s a chef’s counter, a bar, a 25-seat private dining room, as well as a cool outdoor deck for drinks and eats.
NOSH stopped in for a complementary dinner just before the restaurant officially opened to check out its offerings. Follow along, in photographs, below.
Telefèric Barcelona is at 1500 Mount Diablo Boulevard in downtown Walnut Creek. Open for dinner service until 11 p.m seven days a week. Lunch and “Brunchelona” on Saturdays and Sundays slated to follow. Connect with Telefèric Barcelona on Facebook. Tel: 925.451.9576.