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El Bulli 2010 Reservations

lividee Feb 23, 2010 07:53 AM

Has anyone heard back yet? My fiance got a "no" and my friend and her family received 10 "no's" and I have yet to hear back. Don't know if I have a chance or got lost in the mail.

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  1. estufarian RE: lividee Feb 23, 2010 01:21 PM

    That's a good sign - when I got mine a couple of years back it was 6 weeks after the application date.

    1. d
      dennypcw RE: lividee Feb 23, 2010 11:22 PM

      I haven't heard back either. Keeping my fingers crossed.

      1. Lemon Curry RE: lividee Mar 3, 2010 07:39 AM

        Has anyone had anything but rejections so far? Any friends-of-friends who've got in? Unlike in years past, it seems that absolutely no one (here, on egullet, or anywhere else online, as far as I can tell) has had a positive reply, and it's been 1 1/2 months since the application period ended (by which point most people have usually heard).

        A friend and I have unanswered requests, so I emailed Luis to see when acceptances were due to go out and, amazingly, he actually replied (message below).

        Short version: it seems that they are now booked up for the year.

        So is that it? No online foodies managed to get in at all this year?! The announcement of the temporary closure came after the deadline, and usually elbulli are great at replying to every single request.

        Any thoughts?

        We are living a big problem since there are not enough options for all the people who try to visit us for the first time as well as the customers who wish to return. We try to look for the most possible of solutions and taking the problem with a lot of care and respect, but our capacity for one season is very limited and we are surpassed by the demand that we received even at the first moment.

        Now we do not have any more options but we must confirm all the reservations ten days in advance. We will take care full time to see if there are changes that permit us to find some solutions more. A waiting-list is not possible because it would be endless but, if you wish, we will be at your disposal to check the situation.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Lemon Curry
          PhilD RE: Lemon Curry Mar 3, 2010 10:40 AM

          My interpretation is that they are not taking any new requests for tables as they only open the request window up for a short time. So they have lots of requests in the mix and they are sorting them out according to their formula of old and new and mix of people from Spain and other countries. If you were not rejected in the first pass you are still a possible. Until you receive a rejection there is hope, the longer it is the more hope.

          Last year I applied on the 15 Oct and was rejected on the 30 Oct. My partner applied on the 17 Oct and received an acceptance on the 5 Dec.

          Note: El Bulli as we know it closes permanently at the end of 2011, it isn't temporary. It will open as something very different in 2014. I don't thing Adria has a firm plan, but lots of interesting ideas, time will tell.

          1. re: PhilD
            Lemon Curry RE: PhilD Mar 3, 2010 01:51 PM

            Thanks for the interpretation - it suggests there is still hope!

            Nonetheless, has no one heard (or heard of someone hearing) about getting in this year?!

            For the last 3 or 4 years, acceptances have started to trickle out a month after the application deadline (an acceptance on 12/5 last year would have been one of the later ones).

            1. re: Lemon Curry
              chansensturm RE: Lemon Curry Mar 6, 2010 11:31 AM

              For what its worth, my wife and I both separately applied for reservations on Jan 1. My request was sent 3am PST and my wife's on 2pm PST on Jan 1. Within two weeks, my wife received a "not possible" note, but I have not received a reply yet.

              One thing that occurred to me is that if they only considered reservations within a narrow window after midnight on the New Year, how did they account for the fact that midnight is actually different for each time zone ? OK, maybe I'm over analyzing this ;-) But this is a mysteriously opaque process indeed.

              However, this thread is now giving me some hope.

              If anyone has received any recent updates/emails from them, please continue to post !

              1. re: chansensturm
                PhilD RE: chansensturm Mar 6, 2010 12:06 PM

                "One thing that occurred to me is that if they only considered reservations within a narrow window after midnight on the New Year, how did they account for the fact that midnight is actually different for each time zone ?"

                Seems odd, in previous years the application window was 4 or 5 days, not minutes or hours. I also assume they use Spanish time after all that is where the restaurant is.

                1. re: PhilD
                  Lemon Curry RE: PhilD Mar 6, 2010 08:27 PM

                  Actually, this year they explicitly stated that any requests submitted between January 1st and the middle of the month would be considered in the same light ("as having been sent in the first moment" is the way they phrased it). Perhaps that's the reason for the unusual delay - the window fr applications was much longer than years past?

                  1. re: Lemon Curry
                    danemeads RE: Lemon Curry Mar 12, 2010 08:39 AM

                    Still now positive news from anyone?!

                    This is seriously weird. Judging by the time line they've used over the past few years, almost everyone should have heard by now! Acceptances usually come within 2-8 weeks after the deadline (on a rolling basis), but this year it seems like something odd is going on.

                    1. re: danemeads
                      estufarian RE: danemeads Mar 12, 2010 10:24 AM

                      Not really - they allowed about 10 days for applications this year vs 1 day in previous years.
                      It makes sense to do declines before accepts (few people will complain about a delayed acceptance).
                      And my undestanding is they also separate into "first-time" and "repeat" with an allocation to each.
                      All that takes time if you get a half million applications (or more).

                      1. re: estufarian
                        geese222 RE: estufarian Mar 15, 2010 07:16 AM

                        I submitted my reservation request Jan 12 and heard back Mar 15. I was lucky enough to get a reservation in June.

                        They did apologize for the delayed response and indicated the demand for reservations has been extraordinary and it has been difficult to manage/schedule all the requests.

                        1. re: geese222
                          danemeads RE: geese222 Mar 15, 2010 08:45 AM

                          Ditto. Message sent at 5:27AM PST. Seems like they are filling spots in chronological order, so for those of you still waiting, there are months of spaces left. Good luck!

                          For those that are interested:

                          We apologize for being late giving you an answer. The demand has been extraordinary and is difficult to go on with the management. We have found a solution and if you wish we have a reservation option for you on

                          Tuesday, June 29th of 2010, table for 2 people at 7.30 p.m. under the name:


                          Ferran Adrià will prepare a personalized tasting menu. You will try many different elaborations and it means many different products. It is very IMPORTANT FOR HIS CONFECTION TO KNOW IN ADVANCE if some problem exists, like ALLERGIES OR ANY OTHER PRODUCT THAT WE COULD NOT INCLUDE FOR ANYONE OF YOU.

                          I wait your news to fix the option and also with regard to this question to fix all the details at your reservation.

                          I also ask you to give us a direct phone number to contact you, only if necessary, during your time in our area.

                          See attached file with Ferran Adrià's opinion about molecular cooking concept.

                          Sincerely yours,

                          Luis Garcia


                          Cala Montjoi - 17480 Roses


                          Tel. +34 972 15 04 57
                          Fax. +34 972 15 07 17
                          E-mail: bulli@elbulli.com
                          Web: www.elbulli.com

                          1. re: danemeads
                            daniellebluma RE: danemeads Mar 21, 2010 09:46 PM

                            Amazing amazing! I wish I could have gotten that reply way back- enjoy and report back!!!!

          2. re: Lemon Curry
            daniellebluma RE: Lemon Curry Mar 21, 2010 09:45 PM

            That is hilarious! I got the exact same message from Luis (exact), when I tried to go this past September.
            I even quoted it in my blog here. Check it out.

            Good luck to you, I hope something turns up.

          3. n
            NVK RE: lividee Mar 15, 2010 03:15 PM

            Screw El Buli. They obviously have no sense of fairness in awarding reservations and hold tables year after year for the same people. So screw them. No wonder they are not profitable and have to shut down. Spanish people are not the brightest (trust me, I have lived in Madrid for 4 years now), but he just needs to extend hours, turn tables, and things would be totally different!

            6 Replies
            1. re: NVK
              danemeads RE: NVK Mar 15, 2010 04:44 PM

              What makes you say that? I've never been before and got a reservation in the first 2 weeks of the season. Just interested to know why (or how) you think they're giving preference to people who've been before.

              1. re: NVK
                PhilD RE: NVK Mar 15, 2010 08:16 PM

                NVK - but then it would be a different restaurant and you wouldn't be peeved you can't go.

                Adria does make a lot of money; El Bulli is simply one of his projects. My understanding is the El Bulli "brand" is the loss leader for the other elements of his business. He is shutting because he feels he has given this phase of his work enough time, thus time to move on. After all he can't be doing too badly if he can close for a couple of years and go off travelling and researching.

                You need to read the book to understand the reservation system, he likes the mix of nationalities and clearly want the place to still be accessible to other Spanish people. What is wrong with a mixture of newbies and old timers? Better than existing customers simply booking in again after each meal (as they do in other places) which means it is tricky to break in.

                1. re: NVK
                  Theresa RE: NVK Mar 16, 2010 04:11 AM

                  NVK - You're missing the whole point - El Bulli has never been about turning tables and being open all day. It also seems from what others on this board say that they try to operate a complicated system to ensure as much fairness in allocations as possible - so what's your gripe?

                  1. re: NVK
                    Quimbombo RE: NVK Mar 16, 2010 02:22 PM

                    It would seem going to El Bulli might not be as necessary. And if anyone had the chance to dine at El Bulli and remembers a dish from the past they might enjoy it once again outside Sevilla.

                    According to the NYT's article on gastrohotels it had this to say about Adria: QUOTE - Two well-known Catalan chefs — Ferran Adrià and Santi Santamaria — have taken the concept on the road to other regions of Spain. Ten years ago, the world-renowned Mr. Adrià took over as director of gastronomy at the rebranded El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza, a sprawling whitewashed country estate, parts of which date back to the 11th century, in Sanlúcar La Mayor, outside Seville.

                    After he announced that El Bulli restaurant in Roses, north of Barcelona, would close for a two-year hiatus in 2012, Mr. Adrià let drop that he would devote more time to the 44-room Hacienda, which he said allowed him to explore other areas of his creativity — “like breakfast,” he said. He also hopes to garner a third Michelin star for Benazuza’s premier restaurant, La Alqueria, which serves a menu of classic El Bulli dishes from seasons past. END QUOTE.


                    1. re: Quimbombo
                      PhilD RE: Quimbombo Mar 16, 2010 09:18 PM

                      Interesting article. I have indeed eaten at both and think the El Bulli Hotel is pretty good, the kitchen team is usually headed by a trusted lieutenent from Roses.

                      They have served the El Bulli breakfast for quite a few years though, and whilst interesting it isn't something I would rush back for. I also thought Adria owned, or part owned, the hotel rather than simply being the "Director of Gastronomy" after al it has El Bulli branding al over it.

                      The hotel also has a very traditional tapas bar and a poolside restaurant, both show the Adria touch, and both are good.

                      1. re: PhilD
                        estufarian RE: PhilD Mar 17, 2010 02:17 AM

                        I've also eaten at both.
                        La Alqueria is superb. Maybe not quite as exciting, but more consistent and features the 'greatest hits' covering several years efforts.

                  2. t
                    thegourmetkitchen RE: lividee Mar 19, 2010 08:53 AM

                    Just received a reply, from Senior Garcia. A table for two on the third of August!!!!!!!!!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: thegourmetkitchen
                      chansensturm RE: thegourmetkitchen Mar 23, 2010 08:34 AM

                      I also just received a reply from Senior Garcia. A (lunch) table for two on Thursday, November 25 ! Will be turning 50 at El Bulli ;-)

                      1. re: chansensturm
                        piggybreak RE: chansensturm Apr 11, 2010 11:42 AM

                        Did anyone reply to the reservation confirmation with your phone number and dietary restrictions and receive a reply? I responded over 2 weeks ago and did not receive another correspondence.

                        1. re: piggybreak
                          PhilD RE: piggybreak Apr 11, 2010 01:44 PM

                          I did last year and don't recall receiving a reply. But on arrival they had prepared a menu that took account of my nut allergy so their system works perfectly. Would you expect anything less?

                          1. re: piggybreak
                            ccmurieta RE: piggybreak Apr 26, 2010 11:28 PM

                            I replied to the reservation confirmation and received an e-mail back from him immediately.

                            1. re: ccmurieta
                              jd1 RE: ccmurieta May 5, 2010 06:33 PM

                              hmm .. did you use the bulli@elbulli.com? this would not go through for me so i used the email of the sender in the body of the email

                          2. re: chansensturm
                            jd1 RE: chansensturm Apr 21, 2010 10:08 AM

                            i tried replying to my email reservation confirmation with the same email which i used to ask for a reservation and it would not go through--then i used the email at the top of the confirmation and it went through--did you experience this also?

                        2. j
                          jd1 RE: lividee Apr 19, 2010 10:30 AM

                          table for 2 on nov 4th--just heard!

                          1. chowow RE: lividee May 14, 2010 08:32 AM

                            Has anyone not heard anything at all? I had to send a follow up email on May 5th because I hadn't heard a thing and I couldn't stand the suspense any longer. I received a response the following day from Luis saying that all the reservations had been filled. Is it possible that they would not respond to all reservation requests whether positive or negative? I'm a little put off because I think if I didn't ask, I could have been waiting for a very very long time to hear from them.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: chowow
                              wreckers00 RE: chowow May 14, 2010 10:13 AM

                              If I want to apply for reservations for 2011...what do I do? Thanks.

                              1. re: wreckers00
                                chowow RE: wreckers00 May 14, 2010 11:52 AM

                                elBulli will not release information about the 2011 season until at least December. Their policy is to not consider the following year until the current year is completed.

                                Here are the details and remember to check back closer to year end:

                              2. re: chowow
                                PhilD RE: chowow May 14, 2010 02:01 PM

                                I would guess something went wrong with your first mail as it is odd not to hear at all. By all accounts they usually send the rejections out first.

                                1. re: PhilD
                                  chowow RE: PhilD May 14, 2010 02:36 PM

                                  Maybe, but I cc'd myself and it went through.

                              3. d
                                dennypcw RE: lividee May 22, 2010 06:22 AM

                                I forgot to update my original response in February. In early March, I got a reservation confirmation for June 18 at 7:30 pm. Will anyone else from the board be there? We are getting in to Roses a night early to have dinner at Rafa. This was my first request - guess we lucked out. It's my 61st birthday weekend!

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