Sneak Peek: Teléferic Barcelona in Walnut Creek
Prepare to be wowed.
Careful. The passionate energy at Teléferic Barcelona—the first of three restaurants to open in the beautifully reconstructed building at Main Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard in Walnut Creek—is contagious. A sure sign that you’ve caught the Teléferic bug is an effusive use of the word terrific. If you begin uttering estupendo, it’s too late; the attraction is fatal.
Climbing the stairs to this modern Spanish restaurant has the feel of entering a nightclub, with walls of exposed brick giving way to a shower of filament lights. The dining room’s playfully elegant-industrial setting is punctuated by roving dim sum–style carts of pinxtos—toothpick impaled treats that range from lush salmon bruschetta, to whipped duck liver, to pork and idiazabal cheese sliders. And the pinxtos are just the beginning: Every 20 minutes or so, the floor staff cries out as a fresh paella platter emerges from the kitchen. It’s then presented and pedaled about the restaurant.
The best dishes we found, however, are ordered off the menu. Plump and creamy head-on shrimp bathed in toasted garlic and smoked paprika oil; classic patatas bravas—fried potatoes doused with aioli and spiked with spicy tomato sauce; and a meltingly tender and flavorful cut of roasted pork served with a garlicky side of chimichurri sauce are all deadly good.
And on our Monday night visit (the restaurant just opened Sunday), the service was— forgive me—terrific! A roving Xavi Padrosa, the tall, beaming owner from Barcelona (the original restaurant opened there more than 20 years ago) sets an effusive tone that spills over into the busy tapas bar and out to the terrace, with its delicious views of downtown and its very own bar. In fact, getting out of Teléferic without a drink requires herculean will power; the siren call from goblets of ruby red sangria alone can bring a teetotaler to his or her knees.
Teléferic is not yet perfect. Some of the pinxtos we tried were clunky, and several servers on our preopening visit were self-conscious and awkward. But there is little doubt Teléferic is going to be a smash. Get a reservation while you can.
1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 300-3826, barcelonateleferic.com. Dinner daily.