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Quiero comer! Waiting list at world's top restaurant in Spain approaches one year

Disfrutar Chefs at work
Disfrutar Chefs at work Copyright AP Photo/video
Copyright AP Photo/video
By Tokunbo Salako with AP
Published on Updated
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A bit of patience is needed then if you're hoping to dine out soon at Barcelona restaurant Disfrutar as queues for tables are getting much longer at the newly-crowned 'Best restaurant in the world'.

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If it's worth having it's worth waiting for they say as good things come to those who wait. That might provide some succour to people hoping to dine out at Disfrutar, the Barcelona eaterie that's recently topped the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.

The news of its elevation will be no surprise to foodies in the know as it has received top ratings from various prestigious guides, including Michelin.

Now, the waiting list to book a table is approaching one year.

For the chefs who started the business, being crowned world's best is a huge honour that has been many years in the making.

Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruch met at the legendary restaurant 'El Bulli' where they worked as chefs under the orders of Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler.

It was there that these three Catalans honed their skills and acquired the knowledge that has now led them to the peak of culinary achievement.

Making a meal of it

In 2012, they decided to become partners and open their first restaurant: 'Compartir', in the town of Cadaqués, Girona.

Since then, the three chefs have opened two more restaurants: 'Disfrutar' in Barcelona (2014) and 'Compartir' also in Barcelona (2022).

They say the prize demonstrates the strength of Spanish cuisine.

"In the past, there was the great French cuisine, then there was the movement, here in Spain, of Basque cuisine. Then came the El Bulli revolution and without a doubt we continue to have this revolution in Catalonia, in Spain, with the Celler de Can Roca and then with us getting this first prize," says Castro.

Soaring success

In 2015 they got their first Michelin star, in 2017 the second and the third in 2023.

In 2022 they came third place in the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, in the following year second.

Even with such clear progression year on year, this award came as a shock.

"Until that very moment, they did not make it public that we are number one, we did not know and that makes it a magical moment. So it is incredible, it is indescribable and it is incomparable," says Casañas.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants website describes 'Disfrutar' as "the dining experience of a lifetime" and praises the "brilliantly imaginative dishes, unsurpassed technical mastery and playful presentation."

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Diners can try dishes including multi-spherical pesto with tender pistachios and eel or the restaurant's take on the typical Spanish tapas dish the 'gilda'.

Unsurprisingly, demand for tables is at a record high.

“Since we got the award, the truth is that the issue of reservations has been growing. Before we had a waiting list of maybe seven or eight months, now we have almost a year on the waiting list," explains manager Vicente Lara.

He says the award also sets customer expectations very high which means more pressure for the growing team that now numbers 75.

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In the 22 years that the ranking has been published, the winning restaurant has been based in the Catalonia region in northeast Spain eight times.

'Disfrutar' follows in the footsteps of 'El Bulli' (2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and 'El Celler de Can Roca' (2013 and 2015).

Video editor • Tokunbo Salako

Additional sources • J-Cut Productions

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