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 El Celler de Can Roca typically has a 15–month waiting list. Yes, getting a reservation here is a little like winning a lottery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We were the only Asians at the restaurant that day, for instance, and my friend overheard a table of Spaniards wondering if we were royalty from Thailand or Malaysia.
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.
And especially considering its status as #1 restaurant in the world. 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.