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Sep 9, 2010 08:42 PM

2011 el bulli reservations

Sorry to bring up another topic about el bulli but I couldn't quite find how to actually go about getting reservations for 2011.
So my questions:

When can I request a reservation?
Do I write them an email with date, time, # of people?
Is there a "better" time to request a reservation or a time I should choose to go to Spain? aka will I have a better chance if I choose a certain time of the year?

thanks all

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  1. From their website:
    "2011 Reservations. We do not have information about 2011 season at this moment.
    You will find information at (reservations) from December 2010."

    EVERYTHING sells out in the initial application.

    I've found better luck by requesting a specific date.

    2 Replies
      1. re: wreckers00

        2011 will be a tough year to get a reservation, as this most famous venue is closing permanently in 2012.


      "We regret not being able to fulfill any more reservation requests. Demand has immediately exceeded our scarce availability. This has been the case over the last few years and is certainly the most bitter note. It makes us very sad.

      The format and structure will be completely different from the current model and, therefore, we regret to announce reservations are now closed."

      10 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        I checked last week - got the same message as has been up all year.
        Now this on Dec 2nd - appears that 'by inference' they opened reservations (and closed them too) on Dec 1st.
        Incidentally, I monitor several other 'food-sites' (discussion groups and blogs) - and NONE of them reported any hint of this (except the 'regret' notice posted by kathryn).

        1. re: estufarian

          Ugh! I saw the same thing...I was waiting in anticipation on DEC 1st and saw the same message...then today...*fist shake* the "We regret" message. Foodie dream crumbles from disappointment!

          1. re: pamplemoose78

            I tried many times to get reservations, and like everyone else received what I thought was a final email saying they could not fulfill any more requests. I thought it was over. To my delight and surprise, today I received an email from Luis Garcia saying they had a reservation available for me in January. I have been on a high all day, looking for flights and hotels. I didn't even think they were open in January.

            1. re: Dchardcore

              They are open in January ?
              or you mis-understood what they told you, they will have your reservation confirmation in January ?

              Better check that soon!


              1. re: Maximilien

                I didn't think they were open either, but below is the email they sent me, and it was confirmed this morning! I can't believe it, but perhaps since they are closing for good in July they have decided to open in January to meet some more requests??? I suggest to keep trying.

                "We have found a solution and If you wish we have a reservation option for you on
                Thursday January 13th of 2011, table for 2 people at 7.30 pm in the name of...
                Ferran AdriĆ  will prepare a personalised tasting menu. You will try many different creations which use many different produce. It is very important to know in advance if there are any problems like allergies or any other produce that we could not include for any of you.
                We are now in a season in which is very important to know if our customers enjoy game, offal and mushroom elaborations as well as the usual questions about seafood or other allergies.
                I await your reply to fix the option and also with regard to this question to fix all the details of your reservation.
                It is essential we have your cell phone number while you are in the area so we can call (only if necessary).
                Yours sincerely,
                Luis Garcia"

                1. re: Dchardcore

                  well, you lucky dog!!!

                  Enjoy it.


                  1. re: Dchardcore


                    Out of curiosity, when did you send in your reservation request?

                    1. re: W42

                      My last request (of many) was November 27th, to which the reply was the statement saying they were full for the season and then would be closing. I thought that was it, and sent nothing else. Needless to say I was very surprised to get the reservation.

                      1. re: Dchardcore

                        Thank you for sharing. I tried my luck after reading your post and managed to get a reservation for early Feb. We're very excited and can't wait for the trip.

            2. I made a request for a specific date in May 2011, and got a reply that they would try but it would be difficult and they had not fixed their arrangements from April to July. Would I consider January to March. Of course I would, and proposed a specific date in March. Table confirmed with same text as Dchardcore.

              So maybe there's still a chance for April to July. My advice is to write nicely and politely, with a little story which may make you stand out from the crowd. But it's still long odds against.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Beleac

                we just returned from our dinner a t El Bulli in November--after 6 years of trying!! My advice is to be humble--Spain is, after all, steeped in Catholic culture! My previous attempts tended to be more of tooting our gourmet achievements. By the way, we were not disappointed!!!

                1. re: Beleac

                  I have read this thread this morning by accident...went on their website, just to find the above mentioned note...
                  After I have read your post (Beleac) I said to myself what do I have to lose (the worst that can happen is that they don't reply), and this morning wrote them a super polite e-mail that I just wanted to check if there's a possibility to get a reservation there.

                  GUESS WHAT?

                  I GOT ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a reply e-mail from el Bulli....when I started to read it I started to shake...
                  Got the same e-mail as both of you guys, my reservation is for February 7th....
                  I am buying airplane tickets as we speak!!!!
                  THANK YOU GUYS!

                  So my advice is to go ahead and have nothing to lose...

                  1. re: bwab

                    That is AWESOME! I am so happy for you. We want to get there soon as well. Will keep trying!

                    1. re: chefathome

                      Thank you very much...I have just received a final confirmation from them...YAYYYYY!!!! :)

                      1. re: bwab

                        How incredible! I CANNOT wait to hear every single detail.

                      1. re: debbiel

                        I leave Tuesday (if snow storm doesn't hit DC!!!) for Thursday reservation. I will post upon return!

                        1. re: Dchardcore

                          Keeping my fingers crossed for you! :)

                            1. re: bwab

                              OK, here is a brief post regarding our trip to El Bulli on January 13th: It was a long trek getting there, with snowstorm in DC, missed connection in Madrid, and a ngihttime drive to Roses from Barcelona. We finally made it about 20 hours before our scheduled reservation. The anticipation was awesome. We had a premeal drink across from our hotel, and then took that exciting taxi ride up the famous winding road to the restaurant. We got there at about 7:20 and had to wait for them to open the gate. At 7:30 sharp they opened and we walked down the driveway to the beautiful setting that is El Bulli, snapping pictures the entire time. I immediately caught a glimpse of Ferran in the kitchen. They asked if we would like a tour of the kitchen before starting, and of course we said yes. I had dragged a 20 pound copy of the book "A Day at El Bulli" across the Atlantic Ocean for Ferran to sign! The kitchen was amazing, the staff was great, and Ferran and Juli were awesome. We took photos and got autographs. On to the meal. The "cocktails" were awesome, especially the warm mojito. The courses came at a furious pace, and started out delicious. About halfway through we started to see a theme develop: Very earthy, very bloody, very gamey, and very bottom of the ocean. Course after course started to have a very similar taste, smell and look to us and it honestly got very difficult to eat. It was a ton of fun, it was very exciting, we laughed the whole way through and took a lot of pictures of our food and our reactions to it, but I must admit that much of the food was quite diffcult to get down. They asked us by email and when we got to the restaurant if there were things we couldn't eat. We wanted the full Ferran treatment, so we said we would eat anything. If there is a next time, we may change that. He was obsessed with the small woodcock bird. At least four courses were woodcock, including its brain with beak attached. There was a lot of hare. And blood of the hare. And oysters with woodcock. And with hare. Again, we had a great time, it was an event we will always remember, some of the dishes were some of the best we ever tasted, but I can't say the same for a lot of other courses. Dessert and tea service were awesome. We were probably there for four hours and also drank a bottle of white and a bottle of red wine. We did see other tables get dishes we didn't, including the big cheese sphere we would like to have tried, and some of the other famous dishes we have read so much about. He definitely tested us, and I think our palates were not used to many of the flavors that are perhaps more common in the region. Overall, it was an event of a lifetime which we wouldn't trade for anything. Barcelona was great as well. Highly recommend the Bright Side motorcycle sidecar tour of the city, and our guide gave us great food recommendations. Delicious paella at Cheriffe in Barcenoletta. I will try to post photos later. Hope everyone has fun!

                              1. re: Dchardcore

                                Many thanks for a great and VERY detailed review...our reservation is for Monday, I will report when I return.

                                1. re: Dchardcore

                                  Just got back from Spain and am still vividly overwhelmed by the experience. The most symbolic part is the friendly style with which the whole place is conducted. You're welcomed by Ferran Adria in the kitchen where he will patiently sign autographs and be photographed with you. And he's still there to shake hands as you leave.

                                  I agree with Dchardcore about one phase of the meal, where the earthy and gamey dishes came in heavy succession. If you don't have a strong stomach, ask them to go lightly on those - they're quite adaptable so long as you tell them before the meal, as the speed and frequency of delivery gives them no time to adjust as they go along. And they vary the options to different tables.

                                  Compared with our previous visit (2003) we found the pace even more hectic - barely time to discuss a dish before the next one arrived. 42 in total, with some being of several components. Easier to look back at the list and the photos we took and to appreciate in retrospect, as at the time you are in sensory overload. The sense of humour is also strong, but more witty than hilarious, and clever more than giggle generating.

                                  A particular strength this time is the range of textures - dishes which are almost too fragile to eat; placed on, sometimes wrapped in sheets which are just strong enough to support the structure. Usually accompanied with instructions how to eat, one bite or two, this before that.

                                  I attach some photos to illustrate - hopefully clear enough. There's an olive oil'crisp' from the appetizers section which is a translucent disc of, well, olive oil; some gold tipped matches filled with soya sauce; a truffle tart - how many truffles per person? And our favourite, a bouquet of tiny flowers, each one slightly dusted in oriental spices. Not everyone got those, so maybe the flowers were in shorter supply than the truffles.

                                  Who cares what it cost! As Ferran Adria says, he could charge 600 euros per head for the food alone and still be overbooked. But the wine list is very fair value. We drank a fabulous Aigua de Llum (Priorat) 2008 to start with and an even more memorable 1998 Ex Ex 2 from the local Castillo de Perelada (only 310 bottles produced, and, sorry if you're going there, this was the last one!). Both at markups only a fraction of double the cost price.

                          1. re: bwab

                            Congratulations! I tried to email El Bulli at their email address for a reservation the last week in February but only received the same message that's displayed when you click on the reservations link. Did you propose a date or were you just open ended?

                            1. re: miltronix

                              Mine was open ended, as it was each and every year I tried to get reservations there! :)
                              I would always be willing to make it happen that I am there whenever they can accept my reservation.

                              1. re: bwab

                                Great news bwab. Glad my post encouraged you to keep trying.

                        2. The original comment has been removed
                          1. Great details on this forum about how to get a reservation. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised to hear stories of people making plans to go during the middle of a snow storm. I live in NYC and honestly if they offered me a dinner reservation this week, my husband and I would be on the next flight, lol. THAT is how much I have been wanting to go to El Bulli (like everyone else on this board probably). I tried several times to book a reservation in previous years to no avail. I read this forum today and decided to try again and this time be polite (no mentioning of visiting other famous restaurants in the US, Spain, etc. just humbly asking to go) and give a window of time in April. Who knows? Maybe something will pan out this time. I will keep trying until July, there's no harm in sending e-mails from time to time. So thanks to everyone is so encouraging and has shared their experiences!!!