Hoja Santa is an innovative Mexican restaurant located in the Avinguda Mistral in the centre of Barcelona. It is one of the new places of the Adrià brothers empire, next to Tickets, Bodega 1900, Pakta, and Niño Viejo. The latter is the sister restaurant of Hoja Santa, located in the same building, where the chefs serve traditional Mexican street food in an authentic setting. At Niño Viejo one can enter without a reservation, but at Hoja Santa, however, it is essential to have reservations.
The interior of Hoja Santa is kept traditional and breathes the lively Mexican atmosphere. Lots of wood, a rich colour palette and Mexican decoration create a dynamic feeling. All the tables have a good view on the open kitchen. At the entrance of the restaurant, guests can also enjoy traditional Mexican cocktails.
At Hoja Santa, Albert Adrià and Head Chef Paco Méndez co-created an adventurous restaurant where they want to share the flavours and traditions of Mexico. The name Hoja Santa is derived from the Oaxaca leaf, a plant that is often used for cooking in the Oaxaca region in Mexico. As he does with all his restaurants, Albert Adrià appoints an extremely talented managing head chef who has a deep knowledge and understanding of the restaurant’s cuisine. In this case, Mexican-born Paco Méndez is responsible for Niño Viejo as well as Hoja Santa. Paco gained experience at El Bulli and was the former Head Chef of Tickets. At Hoja Santa, he uses the best recipes and ingredients from Mexico, complemented with Spanish products. To prepare his dishes he mixes traditional techniques with innovation (his heritage from El Bulli). This results in a fun, experience-driven kitchen with influences from Mexico, Spain and several winks at El Bulli (like the Mexican influenced spherical olives, for example). A truly innovating cuisine that brings Mexican flavours in your plate in a way you have never seen before.
It is possible to order à la carte, but most people trust the waiter to make a selection of the dishes, resulting in a tasting menu with 15-25 bite-size snacks. Some of the highlights include dishes like the ‘Pipian papanteco’ with king crab & crunchy pumpkin seed; the ‘Avocado gazpacho’ with “tomatillo”, onion and coriander; the’ Jicara’, which is a bowl of corn filled with lamb, radish, onion, coriander and a coriander flower; and the delicious dessert ‘ Fake corn’ made from corn ice cream, chocolate praline with hazelnut, and ‘Cajeta’ ( Cajeta is a Mexican confection of thickened syrup usually made of sweetened caramelised milk). To pair the dishes, guests have the possibility to choose a Tequila or Mezcal pairing. Both Mexican distillates are processed into delicious cocktails or served pure, depending on the dishes they have to support.
Restaurant director Donatello Romanazzi is in charge of the service at Hoja Santa. Donatello previously worked at 41° and ensures that the guests are served quietly and professionally. In total, the restaurant seats around 70 guests.
Hoja Santa is yet another brilliant move in the Albert Adrià food universe. In a unique way Albert, Paco and the Hoja Santa team bring Mexican cuisine to life as guests have never encountered it before. Tradition, innovation and taste are combined with fun and experience, and make this restaurant a must visit in Barcelona.
Written by Sven & Frank