Disfrutar, the new restaurant of Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch (All ex- El Bulli) is fantastic.
That’s all I have to say about it.
Actually – I want to say a bit more.
I don’t usually go high-end, although in the past I had a maniacal need to name-check (Gordon Ramsay, The Fat Duck, Dinner Tickets √√√√ : look that compulsive need still lingers). But besides being expensive, it becomes surprisingly repetitive and none of it is food you want to have again soon, more like something you have enjoyed experiencing on a one-off basis. I’ve lost patience with the time it takes and the almost religious reverence that I am somehow expected to bestow on what is after all – a plate of food.
But Disfrutar Barcelona opened. And it is put together by the upper echelons of El Bulli. It’s only three months in and still relatively straightforward to get a table. It had to be visited I felt. And I am so glad.
A small dark entrance belies the incredible space that is to be found within. We walk through a narrow canal that divides the large kitchen (staffed by over 25 people) into an incredibly bright and airy light space.
My table is being incredibly awkward because two of us have to eat the small (€68) Disfrutar menu – 17 dishes – in roughly an hour and a half. The young woman who is our server takes it on board, keeps an eagle eye on our table and ushers us swiftly through the dishes – somehow finding the time to give us just enough information about what we are eating.
The dishes are beautiful. They are surprising. They are delicious. I have pictures of every dish. But I am not going to put them all up here – nor am I going to give away what the tricks are. I will say that a lot of things look like one thing but are something else entirely, delighting my mind and palette simultaneously. I’ve eaten at Tickets and nothing that I ate there was repeated here (no spherified olives!) Interestingly, two of the people at our table had eaten at Pakta the night before and in their opinion Disfrutar was significantly superior in every way.
The other thing they did at Disfrutar Barcelona (which I loved) and is a first for this kind of high-end dining: is that many of the plates were meant for sharing. So a large dish would be placed in the center, as we were a table of 6, we received two platters of razor clams – with two portions in each.
What a great idea! Once we had all experienced it – it seemed obvious that this is the future. The secret to making high-end dining relevant to today. It takes the serious edge off as well, especially when one of us (me) dropped half the ‘seafood and avocado meringue sandwich’ on it’s journey to their plate.
Such fun. Delicious. And at €68 Euro for the small menu (€98 for the larger Festival menu) a must try eating destination in Barcelona.
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Barcelona Slow Travel says
Great article! We definitely have to go soon!
Excellent review. My family of four is doing a 5 day trip to Barcelona in July and we want to try one high end restaurant. We are discussing Disfrutar vs Tickets. Any hints on which to choose.? The 17 year old and I are open to new dishes. My spouse and the 12 year-old, not so much — meat/poultry and potatoes for them.
Hi Oli, you won’t get meat / poultry potatoes at either of those. Tickets serves tapas (canape) sized bites. Disfrutar does more family style. Both use molecular cooking techniques. You could send your spouse and 12 year old to some place like Chicken Shop / Dirty Burger while you and the 17 year old go to one of your two choices?