HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >


El Bulli 2008 Reservations

Sometime near October 15th, I sent an e-mail to El Bulli for the 2008 Season reservations. A friend of mine did the same and he was rejected two weeks later. I have not received my rejection e-mail yet and am wondering of my chances. It is now November 12, 2007.
Can anyone tell me your El Bulli reservation experience? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I received an email confirming dinner service for four people on 4 June, on November 13. If you haven't received an outright rejection yet -- there's probably still hope.

    1 Reply
    1. re: skinnylatte

      How was your dinner? I just returned from el Bulli and posted some pictures here:
      How I got in and where I stayed is here:

    2. We just got our confirmation email this morning, for dinner on August 8.

      Four of us tried to get in and three of us got our rejections in late October; the confirmation email didn't come until today. So you may be one of the lucky ones as they've already sent the rejections and are sending the confirmations now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lootie

        Thanks for all! I have not heard back and today is November 26th. I wonder if my e-mail never made it there? Well I shall continue to wait. :)

      2. I also had sent in a reservation Oct 15th and also received a rejection 2 weeks later. It sounds to me that they did not receive your request.

        1. Congrats to both SkinnyLatte and Lootie for going to El Bulli. I shall continue to wait and might send them an e-mail to check before Christmas 2007. Suspense kills!

          18 Replies
          1. re: sfwtchris

            did you hear back yet? just curious.

            i went there in 2006 after submitting my very first reservation request in oct 2005. i almost didn't get a table, but they decided that year to open up lunches on sundays and gave me a spot. may the molecular gastro gods are smile upon you.

            1. re: waxyjax

              Sorry just logged in today. Nope never heard back. :(
              Not a word.

              1. re: sfwtchris

                I'd send a friendly follow-up.. haven't heard and we are in the process of making travel plans... and why you are so interested in dining there. I think my mention of having dined at El Raco can Fabes and interest in the differences between the two lead to my not one, but two reservations at EB when I stupidly screwed up my first dates...

                1. re: torta basilica

                  I did exactly what you have suggested. A friendly followup. I haven't heard back as well. Well, not meant to be for this year. I have yet to finalized my vacation plans yet. Actually, I am also interested in Tokyo as a food destination besides Spain. Both countires are good! Can you tell me more about El Raco?

                  1. re: sfwtchris

                    Perhaps torta will reply, but meanwhile I will throw in my two cents. Can Fabes is wonderful, and I am sure it would be fun to compare it with El Bulli. The food is modern but is more updated Catalan than edgy experimental. We did not get a reservation at El Bulli, so went to Cellar de Can Roca instead, hoping it would be similar and were disappointed. I have had great molecular cuisine (particulaly at Akelare in San Sebastian) and Can Roca was vastly inferior. That was our lunch on the same day that we had dinner at Can Fabes and my feeling was that Can Fabes was far superior and one of the best meals I have ever had.

                    1. re: rrems

                      I'm not sure where you hope to travel while in Spain, but just outside Seville is La Alqueria (in Hotel Benazuza) whcih serves 'El Bulli's Greatest Hits' and is supervised by Adria. It's obviously the closest you'll get (although Adria himself isn't there).
                      In the area (in Girona), the closest you'll get isCan Roca which is inventive - but different. I found it patchy, with some great dishes but inconsistent. Frankly, Can Fabes is totally different in style. Much more classic and 'French'. Absolutely a 3* but in the French tradition. I'm not denying its quality, but it's a VERY different experience.
                      Also San Sebastian - Akelare was my greatest meal ever - so obviously I support that recommendation. But it's not so extreme - seems to integrate the 'molecular cuisine' seamlessly with more traditional techniques. If you want the 'way out experimental' then Mugaritz (also San Sebastian) may be an alternative choice. There you get almost an 'environmental' experience e.g. there's burning wood outside the door so that everybody's 'senses' are calibrated to the same point before the meal begins.
                      If you choose Japan, specifically Tokyo, then for the 'El Bulli equivalent' try to get into Ryugin (Nihonryori) who is also in the molecular camp.

                          1. re: tsiblis

                            Can Fabes is in a small town, Sant Celoni, on the same train to Girona. It is about 40 minutes from Barcelona. Girona is another 30 minutes or so further. Driving, it is on the same freeway.

                            1. re: PBSF

                              I'm going to Barcelona next week for 5 days with a friend and we're looking for a day trip, preferably with incredible food. Any suggestions? How is Sant Celoni?

                              1. re: fishermb

                                There are four top restaurants near Barcelona. Can Fabes in Sant Celoni is the most traditional of all the Michelin 3 star in Spain. Great food with many innovative touches, an antithesis to El Bulli. The service tends to be a little more formal then the others and there is a "seriousness" to the dining rooms that might not appeal to everyone. I think Chef Santimaria serves the best and most consistent food in Spain. There is even the great cheese tray to finish a meal that is becoming more and more rare.
                                The cooking at Sant Pau is modern and quite accessible. Chef Carme Ruscadella likes to take a theme or an ingredient and spin variations on the it. There is a poetic aspect to her food that makes her unique. The small dining room is beautiful and so is the outdoor garden.
                                El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona is probably my favorite restaurant in Spain. The cooking is modern Catalan and not everything will be great but through my numerous meals there, I have been able to establish a terrific rapport with the staff which is young but very accommodating. The many opening courses in the long tasting menu has some misses, but the later seafood and meat courses are some of the best I've had. And the desserts are always light, innovative and fun to eat. This is the one restaurant in Spain that I always return with great anticipation.
                                If one is looking for a great traditional Catalan restaurant, it has to be Hispania at Arenys de Mar. The best local ingredients are simply prepared so that vegetables taste as if they are just picked; the seafood is the freshest and the meat are top notch.

                                1. re: PBSF

                                  Wow thanks for the report, everything sounds good. I guess my 2 main concerns would be...is it possible to get into any of those places without a reservation? And if you're making a day trip, which one of the towns has the most to offer? Thanks!

                                  1. re: fishermb

                                    You will need reservation for just about all of them, maybe not for a weekday lunch at Can Fabes. If you plan to eat in any of them, be prepare to spend at least 3 hours for a leisurely meal. If you are staying in Barcelona and taking a train, lunch would be the meal to take since dinner will be too late for any return train. For sight seeing, definitely Girona. All the other restaurants are located in small quiet towns.

                                    1. re: PBSF

                                      Thanks, Giroina sounds nice. What is the dress attire required at these types of restaurants? Will jeans be acceptable?

                                      1. re: fishermb

                                        These restaurants are fairly upscale though the attire is not as formal as those in the large cities such as Paris or NYC. I've seen jeans being worn with a $300 shirt at lunch at Hispania and Can Roca but it really depends on the individual. Some can look good wearing anything. None requires jacket/tie or such but sports coats and slacks are very popular with men. I would go with at least a pair of kkakis. Do make a reservation as soon as possible and restaurant really appreciate it. These restaurants are small as Can Roca and Sant Pau seats only about 40. Just to mention the prices...tasting menus are around about 100E at Can Roca to about 150E at Can Fabes. That includes tax and service but wine and any beverages will be extra.

                                        1. re: PBSF

                                          Besides Can Roca, do you have any other recs for Girona? I think we might do a day trip there, perhaps Roca for lunch, but anywhere else in case it's booked or we stay later?

                                          1. re: fishermb

                                            Villa Más in Sant Feliu de Guixols, a short drive from Gerona, is quite good I hear.

                        1. re: sfwtchris

                          Sorry - just saw this. I thought El Raco was great - as others have said, very different than EB - somewhat cutting edge at times, but more in a French cutting edge way than a Spanish, if that makes sense. One very cosy antique filled dining room and one very modern - specify which you'd like! Window onto the kitchen you can watch through. We had so many courses I can;t begin to remember, but definitely left there fuller than full, as opposed to our departure from EB! Worth a trip, but make sure you have a ride home!!

                2. This has to be one of the most ridiculous restaurants ever. For three or four eaters you will spend $1000 to eat ocean foam heaped onto cayenne-mango scented tapioca pudding?

                  Instead donate this money to a worthwhile charity

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: gafferx

                    Direct experience or second hand conjecture...?

                      1. re: gafferx

                        Thought so - you should try it - you will be surprised at how good it is.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          I'm just not in that class of spending
                          That's a whole trip over to Europe and Spain
                          I can see you really get around

                          But if I did have $20,000 or so to go on a gastronomic tour I would take my girlfriend to Vietnam and Western China. Their lamb dishes fascinate me

                          And I could eat pho every day
                          A few days in Korea too for food

                    1. re: gafferx

                      Oh, are they serving foam again? - I though they moved on from that over 5 years ago!
                      And have the prices more than doubled this season?

                      1. re: estufarian

                        The price three years ago was 170 euros. This year it's 215, so it definitely hasn't doubled. Food prices in Spain have gone up more in the past year than at any time in recent history. It's been in all of the newspapers here recently.

                        1. re: butterfly

                          re: con fabes - i have lunch reservations there - is tasting menu the only option and will lunch really cost 215 euros? if so, i'm cancelling...same question for con roca in girnoa...dinner there, but what is cost and is tasting menu only option?


                          1. re: luisa dos

                            Both places have a la carte menu as well. If I remember correctly, Can Fabes has a couple of tasting menu options, and so does Can Roca, which is, I think, in the 70-120 range or so.

                            1. re: SillyDisciple

                              It was a few years ago, but Can Fabes had a 50 Euro four or five course menu which they served only in the smaller modern part of the restaurant, but I can't remember what it's called (Espai Coche or something like that) and it's right next to the kitchen - we thought it was great value, as was opting for the set wines to go with the meal. We ended up paying 70 euros per head before the tip (which means adding way less than you would in the States, and not as much as UK tips either).

                            2. re: luisa dos

                              The menus at Can Fabes and Can Roca do not change from lunch to dinner. Last November, the two tasting menus at Can Fabes was 145 and 165E. A 3 course a la carte will be about 130. They do serve an inexpensive menu (about 55E) at lunch in the Espai Coche which is mainly for their room guests. One can made reservation only for the same week. The food is much simpler. When I ate at Can Roca last October (before they moved to their new place), there were 3 tasting menus, the 3 course short menu was 65E, the two tasting menus were 90 and 105. A 3 course a la carte will be about 90E.

                          2. re: estufarian

                            Looking at somones pictures in eGullet it looks like they have foams on about 4 or 5 of the 30 dishes served during the meal. What is wrong with a foam?

                            1. re: PhilD

                              I guess it all depends... In general, I'm not too fond of sauces, but if they add something to the dish and are well thought-out and restrained, that's a different story. I'd say the same goes for foams. When I was visiting the US last summer, I had some slimy foamy stuff (especially in desserts) that didn't add anything positive to the dishes in question (one actually nearly made me toss my cookies--something went very awry!). But I've also had dishes with foams that were interesting and very flavorful. It's just another vehicle for flavor (like powder, sauces, creams, mousses, glazes, etc.) not a political statement.

                        2. They only way you know you have even a chance of getting a reservation is:
                          1. Sending in the reservation request the day the reservation lines open.
                          2. Having gone before helps too.

                          I went in 2007 and absolutely ready to go again. I think I need to wait some more time before I plan another vacation around a meal. =)


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mstinawu

                            Interesting - I had read it was the opposite - if you haven't been, your odds were better, but honestly can't tell you where I heard that or why.

                            1. re: torta basilica

                              I guess with so many people trying out there are different ways to get in and NOT get in.. We should all conclude there is no special formula, send in the reservation on the 1st day and just cross our fingers. =)

                          2. Just read in this month's Conde Nast Traveler that Mary Vaira with El Sol Villas can secure a table at El Bulli. I've never heard anyone claim this before. Obviously, you need to rent a villa from her, but you need accommodations anyway... how bad could a villa on the Costa Blanca be?


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: torta basilica

                              I seriously doubt the veracity of that claim.

                              1. re: torta basilica

                                > how bad could a villa on the Costa Blanca be?

                                Pretty bad if you were intending to stay many hours away on the Costa Brava (where El Bulli is located)...

                                1. re: butterfly

                                  I realized that at about 3am this morning.... We stayed in S'Agaro, which was still a haul to EB (although I'd love to rent one of those gorgeous villas in the private community behind our hotel - can't even guess how much they'd go for). Yes, the Costa Blanca would be much much further.