My amazing lunch at the Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might know that I collaborate with one of the largest food expert online networks: Xtreme Foodies (previously known as Chowzter / FoodieHub). Well, last week they sent a team to Barcelona to make some new recordings for our Barcelona listing and I helped them out making appointments with several local restaurants and venues they wanted to film.
As a way to thank me, Jeffrey Merrihue (the owner of the company) and Sam Lynas, the leader of the recording team, invited me for lunch to a restaurant that had been already in my must-go-to list since they opened a few months ago: Disfrutar.
Oh my God! What an experience! We ordered the Festival Menu consisting of over 20 dishes (and considering what we got, the €100/person that you pay, is more than worth it!). I’d go every week if I could… and you should go at least once. Let me tell you why!
Here are 5 reasons why you should go to Disfrutar in your next trip to Barcelona:
Possibly the closest thing to El Bulli. If you are a foodie, then you must have heard of chef Ferran Adrià, who was considered for many years the best chef in the world for his work at the El Bulli restaurant, that unfortunately closed in 2011 when Adrià decided it was time to do new things. He was the creator of culinary techniques such as spherification, that now are used in high end restaurants all over the world. Well, the three chefs at Disfrutar, Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch worked at El Bulli and after opening and running a successful restaurant in the seaside village of Cadaqués for many years, they opened Disfrutar in Barcelona. The food and the cooking philosophy of it is definitely an heir of El Bulli.
Amazing service. The staff is not only superfriendly and attentive, but they are also so generous. Just as an example, they served some bombons that looked like olives and were stuffed of delicious liquid. Unfortunately, when I grabbed my second one it exploded in my finger and the liquid poured back into my plate. But just as I was trying to scoop it with my spoon, a waiter arrived with another olive bombon for me. I didn’t even have to ask for it! That waiter made my day!
Delicately attentive to special diets. If you are vegetarian, or gluten-free, or have some food allergy, eating in a high end restaurant like this can sound like an impossible dream: after all, most tasting menus are designed for people who eat everything and there is little space for custom changes. But that won’t be a problem in Disfrutar! When I told the waiter that I’m vegetarian (no fish/seafood or meat, but I do eggs and dairy) and I’ll have to pass on some of the dishes, he answered: “No problem, we have already alternatives in place”. And then he added: “By the way, I see you are pregnant. We’ll also adapt the menu for that: no unpasteurized cheese, no alcohol in the recipes and we’ll avoid certain raw foods”. How cool is that? Later on the chefs told me they also adapt to other food allergies and requirements. Mind-blowing.
Every dish is a surprise. Disfrutar means to enjoy in Spanish. And enjoying a meal in this restaurant is not only about eating the best products, cooked to a level of excellence: there is also room for playfulness and surprise. I totally felt like a child opening Christmas presents. Dishes that looked like one thing but were actually a totally different one, new textures, surprising flavors, temperature combinations… even hidden stuff that emerged from your plate. So. Much. Fun.
Creative references to the local culture. One thing that got my attention is how much their creations are inspired in the local culture: either it is the local landscape (like their green walnuts from the Pyrenees), the traditional cooking (such as their version of a local ricotta called “recuit de drap”), and even references to food I grew up with such as an Idiazabal cheese that looked exactly like those Artiach cookies my grandma had always ready for desert. However, I could see that my British friends were missing a lot of these local references even despite the waiter’s explanation of each dish… So here is a tip: if you know someone in Barcelona, make sure to invite them to Disfrutar with you and ask them to share with you the emotions and memories that each dish awakes in them!
AND BONUS! I know what you are thinking: “What did she ate there?” Aren’t you dying to know?
I hope that rather than spoiling the surprise, I’ll be just enticing you to go to their website and book a table right now. Anyway, take into account that their menu changes with the seasons, so you’ll probably be served something different (or at least part of the menu will be different)
So what about you? Have you ever been to a restaurant like Disfrutar? Where was it and what was the best thing about it? Head to the comments below and share it with us: