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23 courses for a five-hour lunch in Spain


Christine Cunanan for The Frequent Flier in Travelife Magazine

On a trip to Spain, I decided to try my luck for a table at El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants in the world. I won’t bore you with the logistical details of making and securing a restaurant reservation there, except to say that it typically has a 15–month waiting list. Yes, getting a reservation here is a little like winning a lottery.

At El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world. JUST LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY

What a marvelous feeling it is, to win one of the most coveted lottery prizes in the foodie world. The confirmation that I had the best table in the house, for four persons, arrived by email just as I was about to switch off my mobile phone on the runway of an airport and fly to Europe.

Lucky me. The restaurant booking they gave was on the exact and only date I could possibly squeeze in a trip to the town of Girona in my jampacked schedule in Spain.

HOW TO GET TO EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA IN GIRONA, SPAIN

Talk about a wonderful way to start a Travelife to Spain. Getting to Girona in time for our meal was a production in itself. We were staying at a hotel by the sea in Valencia on the day of our booking at El Celler de Can Roca.

Girona is about three hours by train from Barcelona. Meanwhile, Girona is one hour from Barcelona, near the French border.


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So we took the fast train from Valencia to Barcelona. In Barcelona, we hired in advance a van and driver to take us to Girona. All our efforts were worth it, for a 24–course meal at the best restaurant in the world.

Lunch at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, one of the best restaurants in the world
Lunch at El Celler de Can Roca

Actually, the degustation menu at El Celler de Can Roca is slightly less than 24 courses. But we’d ordered seconds of dishes we liked, and our most reliable count of the number of dishes that actually arrived at our table was 24. However, I must admit that this was tallied under the influence of alcohol.

EATING AT THE BEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD

El Celler de Can Roca then had an unmistakable buzz because it had just been chosen the best restaurant in the world. We noticed it as soon as we entered and locked eyes with other diners.

It was just before lunch so most guests were enjoying an aperitif in the garden before settling down to a meal averaging five hours.

The Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca
The Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca

Most people could help sizing up their fellow diners in a friendly way simply because, at that time, this was definitely the restaurant of the moment. And we all knew that we all had either incredible luck, patience or connections – or a combination of all – to even be there at all.

HOW MUCH IS LUNCH?

Lunch at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, one of the best restaurants in the world
Lunch at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, one of the best restaurants in the world

At El Celler de Can Roca, a small fortune will be helpful as well in paying the bill. Relatively speaking, this very contemporary and stylish restaurant is not expensive, as far as Michelin three–star restaurants go. Considering its status  as #1 restaurant in the world, some foodies might even consider the prices cheap.


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Nevertheless, the tasting menu with wine pairings will easily hit four figures in euros, for a table for four.

However, if your find yourself in Spain and are able to secure a table here, I strongly suggest you head north to Girona with a credit card. Then, just don’t look back. A meal here is certainly worth writing home about, and worth including twice in Travelife Magazine.

Read more about the best restaurants in the world in Travelife Magazine.


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