Balai Isabel

Seven-hour lunch at one of the world’s best restaurants


Last month we had lunch at the famous restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in the town of Girona, about 90 minutes from Barcelona. This was my second visit and I was eager to sample their winter menu.

We arrived at 1 PM, on time just like all the other diners that day. The waiting list for a reservation at El Celler de Can Roca is about 15 months. So everyone looked excited and pleased at having secured one of the most coveted restaurant tables in the world.

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

THE LONGEST LUNCH IN THE WORLD

Our lunch that day lasted seven and-a-half hours, including digestifs in the lounge, and yet we were only the second to the last to leave. When we headed out the door at 745 PM, one group that had been seated next to us at lunch was still at the bar.

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

In all, we had 23 dishes, including appetizers and petit fours. To complement this spectacular meal, the restaurant sommelier recommended we order their wine pairing, which resulted in a day of about 27 different wines and spirits.

A WORLD WITH NO PROBLEMS

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Both visits to El Celler de Can Roca have been spectacular in every sense. This is a gourmet experience and a wine experience, as well as a complete multi-sensory one. When you open the door of the restaurant, you literally leave your troubles and your ordinary world behind.

Suddenly, time stands still and you feel yourself suspended in a happy animation, in a place where problems do not exist — at least at the table. You are both witness to a theater of gastronomy, and also participant.

THE FOOD AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

What is served at a restaurant officially called “the best restaurant in the world” several times? Well, here’s the menu for January 22 at El Celler de Can Roca. The appetisers and main courses were prepared by Chef Joan Roca while the desserts were made by his brother Jordi Roca. Meanwhile, the wines were chosen by Josep Roca.


The meal began with THE WORLD

For this first course, a globe was set in front of us — one for each. Each globe had arms containing canapés inspired by some countries that the Roca brothers recently traveled to. Everything was delicious and each really reminded me of the country mentioned.

However, the big surprise here was figuring out how to open the globe. You see, inside the globe was another delectable appetiser and we could only eat this by solving the puzzle. Eventually we found the solution. Each arm holding an appetiser had to align with the country on the map. When everything is aligned, the globe opens.

Mexico : Jicama taco, mango, onion, lemon, achiote and coriander

Japan : Octopus with ginger

Egypt : Giza pyramid

Turkey : Lamb, yoghurt, cucumber, onions with mint

Peru : Chili crab

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Squids, kidneys and sherry. Gentian and orange bonbon. Montse’s meat cannelloni. Delicious Cassava flower grilled with a beurre blanc sauce and roe of mullet, caviar and salmon. Green olive’s ice cream, and black olive tempura. Cabbage, truffle and anchovies. Tartufo meringue. Truffled brioche.

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Vegetable surf and turf. Seaweeds and spring herbs and flowers orange salad

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Sweet potato puree, carrot puree, saffron and vinegar, yuzu marmalade, carrot sauce, tangerine, apple, orange juice, ginger, sriracha sauce, grilled mango, yellow beetroot, salad of chicory, Jerusalem artichoke and mango, air of piparra, bottarga and sea urchin


Spring pickles with walnut romesco sauce.

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Mackerel ajoblanco : Mousse of ajoblanco and mackerel skin, lemon puree, capers, succulent leaf, fino wine jelly and mackerel soup

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Charcoal-grilled calcot with hazelnuts, black sesame, nori seaweed and calcot oil


Pumpkin with smoked eel. Light pumpkin seed milk and dark pumpkin seed milk, pumpkin oil, fried pumpkin seeds, pumpkin juice, confit lemon and orange peel, bell pepper

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Prawn marinated with rice vinegar, head juice, crispy prawn legs and seaweed veloute


Langoustine with sobrassada sauce, langoustine velour and parsley jelly

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Semi-cured hake, juice of its bones, asparagus and rocket pesto, grilled piparras and rocket oil

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Steamed freshly-caught whole fish stuffed with seaweeds and sea anemones

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Iberian suckling pig satin with kabu turnip in red wine and juniper berry chantilly

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Squab pithivier with spinach and truffles, squab sauce and chlorophyll spinach sauce

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

DESSERTS AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA

Petrichor : Distilled earth, pine syrup ice cream, carob cookie, fir dust and cocoa biscuit

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

White flower : Elderberry, acacia, orange blossom, soursop, lychee and green apple

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

Cocoa bean : Cocoa bean cream with chocolate mousse and an infusion of cocoa bean husk. This is made in the El Celler de Can Roca chocolate workshop with cocoa beans from the indigenous community of the Arhuaco in the Sierra Nevada in Northern Colombia

The winter menu at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. One of the best restaurants in the world.

THE WINES AT EL CELLER DE CAN ROCA

The following wines, spirits and coffee choices accompanied our lunch. Each course was thoughtfully paired with a drink. After the meal, we also tasted home-made liquor in the lounge.

Jacques Lassaigne “Les Vignes de Montgueux” A.O.C. Champagne

Albet i Noya El Celler Brut Rva D.O. Classic Penedes

La Garrofera Cervesa Rupestre Ars Natura Liquida

Mestres Mas Via 00 D.O. Cava

Adina 16 D.O. Rias Baixas

Cueva by Mariano Orange 18 Valencia

Vamos, Vamos! 18 Conca de Barbera

Manto de la Riva 17 Vino de Jerez

Blanc Sorra 15 D.O. Emporda

Georg Breuer Nonnenberg 13 Rheingau

Parfas 09 D.O. Penedes

Heymann-Lowenstein Uhlen “L” Terroir Roth Lay 15 VDP Mosel

Finca l’arcata 17 D.O. Montsant

Ossian 17 Vino de la Tierra Castilla y Leon

Vina Tondonia Rosat 08 D.O. Ca. Rioja

Escombro 18 D.O. Yecla

Pintia 04 D.o. Toro

Joh. Jos. Prum Zeltinger Graacher Himmelreich 10 Spaltete V.D.P. Mosel

Sake Katsuyama from Miyagi

Cafe Colombia ; Finca la Colombia, Ciudad Bolivar, Antioquia

Catalina Vasquez Variedad Caturra

Perez Barquero la Canada VORS Montilla Moriles

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


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