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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 www.elbulli.com (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.
        http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

    1. http://www.elbulli.com/reservas/index...

      "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!

              M.

              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.

                  max.

                  1. re: Dchardcore

                    Congrats!

                    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 try...you 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 bulli@elbulli.com 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. 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!!!

                          1. I got it! I got it!! Just found out this morning. I followed the advice from fellow Chowhounders about being police and persistent. At first the reply was like "thank you but we are fully booked" and then I wrote back stating that I was going to be in Spain and if for any reason they had cancellations that week (in April), I would love to "have the opportunity to dine" there and try whatever the chef was cooking. I still wanted to be kept in the loop, you never know....And it worked! Also, I didn't address the e-mail to a "Sir or Madam", I addressed it directly to the person who replied to my initial e-mail, which I think helped because my e-mail didn't sound so generic. Anyway, thanks to everyone for posting about their experience! My husband and I can't wait to go!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: citykid426

                              Great news! We're just leaving UK today for our meal next week. We've booked a taxi which seems to be charging 'El Bulli' rates, so some shopping around might be worthwhile.

                              1. re: Beleac

                                No need to book a taxi - we simply got one from out hotel reception (in Roses) when we were ready to head to the restaurant. It was on the "meter" so normal fare. However, it is out in the hills so not a short journey. The restaurant will then order one for the journey home, we had another glass of wine on the terrace whilst we waited.

                                1. re: Beleac

                                  Congratulations!! Can't wait to hear about your experiences.

                              2. Have not booked the hotel yet, what is a good place to stay close to El Bulli? It would only be for one night. Afterward, my husband and I will be driving around for a couple of days, maybe to Girona, before heading back home.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: citykid426

                                  I am looking too. We just got confirmation of our reservation on April 2. We will be in Barcelona and traveling to the restaurant. I need advice on how to get there (drive, train) and a place to stay.

                                2. I have no idea how to get there either but I have heard that you ARE NOT supposed to follow directions that the GPS gives you. Instead, the El Bulli website has special directions. I'm going on the 20th so please let me know if there is a quirk in that area or some a corner where you got lost (hopefully not), lol.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: citykid426

                                    Get a taxi from Roses, especially if you plan to drink any wine. It is a twisting, winding country road and taxis know the way, it doesn't cost a fortune and the restaurant will order one for you,

                                    1. re: citykid426

                                      Stay in Roses if you can but Roses is a beach resort town and many of the hotels seem to close up in the off season, someone I know was having real problems finding an open hotel for March, things may improve in April.

                                      There's no train service nearby and apparently not even decent bus service (once or twice a day only). Book a hotel in town for the night you are dining (if you can find one open) and taxi to the restaurant and back. The road is not quite as harrowing as others have described but honestly I wouldn't drive it myself at night. If you can't find a hotel you may have to stay as far away as Girona (my friend did, seriously the entire Costa Brava seems to shut up tight) drive into town in the morning, have lunch at Rafa's, do some sightseeing in the area (drive the road to Cala Montjoi in the daytime, it's really quite scenic, in between the moments of terror, maybe hike around the National Park a bit to burn off the lunch) park the car in town and taxi to the restaurant and back, take a walk along the beach if you need to kill some time then collect the car and head back to Girona.

                                    2. Booking Almadraba Park hotel today, it' s right on the beach. Also, thanks for your suggestion for Raffa's. I heard Adria himself eats there and that the food is fresh every day, you just pay by the pound/ kilo, so we will go for lunch the day before El Bulli.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: citykid426

                                        I tried to book that hotel and they were booked.

                                        1. re: pathfinder

                                          Try Hotel Ramblamar. We stayed there in Feb 2011 when we went to El Bulli. The hotel is on the main road and faces the beach. There is a parking lot directly across the street from the hotel. The hotel is old but we didn't spend too much time in the room. The front desk helped us call a cab to go to El Bulli and we ended up using that cab for our return trip to the hotel as well.

                                        2. re: citykid426

                                          Rafa's is an experience, it's dayboat seafood, mostly shellfish but also regular fish. Dead simple cooking, this is the anti-bulli in that sense, if the fishing isn't good they don't open. Not cheap, we paid in the area of 200+ Euros for a lunch for 2. Worth every penny.

                                          1. re: bytepusher

                                            That's good to hear. I'm not too focused on the price because this really is a special trip and it's not like my husband and I eat like that every day. But I'm really looking forward to it.

                                            1. re: citykid426

                                              Just one more thing.
                                              DO make a reservation. I tried for lunch at Rafa's and they were CLOSED - reason was - no reservations so they decided not to open for lunch.

                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                Seconded, they don't take reservations more than 7 or so days out. Mrs Rafa speaks a little English but on the phone it's better if you can manage Catalan or French, better to have the hotel make the call for you.

                                            2. re: bytepusher

                                              Just to chime in about Rafa's.....this is where Ferran Adria and a lot of his staff eat on off days....quite wonderful!!

                                          2. Ok, so I guess I should ask the hotel to make a reservation one week in advance for me? I was planning on going there on April 19th for lunch...

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: citykid426

                                              I am so jealous! that day is my dad's birthday!

                                              We are going to Barcelon a week later. I wish I came across this thread earlier about reservation! I thought it's too late to book this year :(

                                              I did send an email just now to try booking. Fingers crossed.

                                              1. re: citykid426

                                                Got a reply from 'El Bulli', it did not look good. Did you get the message below first time around?

                                                First of all we would like to thank everybody who has shown an interest in visiting us to enjoy the El Bulli experience during these fifty years as a restaurant. Also to all the professionals who have been part of the team and helped make it happen.

                                                On July 30th 2011 El Bulli will have completed its journey as a restaurant. We will transform into a creativity center, opening in 2014. Its main objective is to be a think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy and will be managed by a private foundation.

                                                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.

                                                We believe that this foundation will be a commitment to the cultural future of creative cuisine and we feel that El Bulli can offer the lines of action to attain great objectives in this field.

                                                Due to the demand received and this being the last year for reservations, we must inform you that this message is our last and request no further applications.

                                                1. re: Winkypedia

                                                  This is the 'standard' automatic response.
                                                  If you DON'T get the standard response then you have a chance. Try again!

                                                  1. re: estufarian

                                                    thanks for the tips.

                                                    Should I try again by resending a new email to the same address or just replying to that 'automated' reply?

                                                    thanks

                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                        Thanks. Will do. Does anyone have another email address I'd use please? I used bulli@elbulli.com

                                                        Many thanks!

                                              2. Just wanted to thank everyone here for advice, especially Beleac. 5 days ago I was preparing for a next day departure to Barcelona. I was interested in dining at El Bulli but had written it off as impossible. After reading this thread, I sent a nice personal email with info about myself and wife and requested a reservation if there were any cancelations during the next 5 days. To my surprise I received a personal email back telling me that they would let me know if something came up. A few days later, Sunday, I arrived at my hotel from a day of sight seeing and was handed a envelope from the desk - inside was a telephone message from El Bulli. I quickly check my email and found a message confirming my reservation for Tuesday night!!! We rented a car, booked a hotel in Roses and headed out on Tuesday morning. The meal was amazing. So thanks again! And to anyone else who's interested, it is possible. I'll follow up with additional info on the meal.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: southernwayfarer

                                                  Fantastic news! Well done for being persistent. I look forward to hearing more detail and if you had much the same meal as I posted above on March 7.

                                                  1. re: southernwayfarer

                                                    Congratulations! That's very encouraging news! Just out of curisoity- which email address did you use? I would love to take my parents there when we go to Barcelona in April. Any tips in writing a good personal email?

                                                    Many thanks.

                                                    1. re: Winkypedia

                                                      I also used bulli@elbulli.com. In my email I simply gave a few details about both of us, where we where from, etc, I just made an effort to put a person with the name. Nothing long or desperate. I think we just got lucky.

                                                  2. Just wanted to follow up on our visit to El Bulli this past Saturday night. We too, got lucky with a nice email and a cancellation a couple of months ago, and went with a party 4 for dinner at 7:30pm. It was absolutely amazing. We rented a car in Barcelona- I recommend renting ahead of time from SIXT car rental online, I got a BMW 1 series diesel for 52 Euro for 24 hours- AWESOME! We drove to Roses from Barcelona- Basically Highway A-7 or AP-7 the whole way to Figueres, then follow signs to Roses. Be prepared for about 10-15 Euro of tolls on the way. I reserved a hotel in Roses online too- Hostal Rom, stayed in one of their apartments they rent, which was nice and equipped and had a full bed and bunkbeds in another bedroom, about 80 Euro for the night in downtown Roses. Took a cab with a lovely cab driver to the restaurant, cost about 16 or 18 Euro I think, not sure. They open the driveway (the only gate) right at 7:30, so if you arrive earlier you'll have to wait on the road. We took that opportunity to take some photos with the sign, mountainside, etc. Dinner was unbelievable, we had 51 courses (some served simultaneously). Got out around 12:30 or so, so around 5 hours. If anyone is interested (I hope you will be), I wrote up a detailed blog post with photos and descriptions of the food here: http://tinyurl.com/3cszxjz Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts! Again, thanks to El Bulli for doing what you do, and thanks to all of you for your advice! Hope this helps someone make plans.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: phipsi102

                                                      Many thanks for the link to your blog, with great photos.

                                                      Just a quick comment on your meal compared with ours on 2 March which I put on Chowhound on 7th March. I've just counted that you had 19 courses which were different from ours, which shows what an amazing repertoire they have.

                                                      Your course 41 with 'Blood' was a drink from a beetroot base, so Luis Garcia, who served it to us, told us.

                                                    2. Does anyone know if El Bulli serves dinner seven nights a week, or if they close on Sunday, Monday, or another day?

                                                      Also, I'd like to know if anyone is aware of plans for lunch service in 2011? I know they were doing lunch service at one point, not long ago, in order to be able to service more guests before they close.

                                                      I am trying... hoping, praying for a miracle... to schedule a date in mid-May. It is a big anniversary for us, and I would love to surprise and delight my husband with this gift. I realize they are fully committed. As I said, I am hoping for a miraculous opening. One of the days I was considering asking about is a Monday.

                                                      --Many thanks!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: culinarynomad

                                                        Go to their web site and look for their calendar. This let's you know which days and meals they're open.

                                                        1. re: sockster

                                                          Thanks, sockster. Do you have a link to the calendar? I could not find it on their site. I think it used to be in the reservations section, but that section no longer displays a calendar since they have finished booking for 2011.

                                                        2. re: culinarynomad

                                                          They have a fairly random opening schedule in their season, some weeks just dinner, then a few days off, then a few lunches then back to dinners. As far as I am aware they don't do both lunch and dinner on the same day. When we ate there the staff were about to go on a long weekend to chill-out. Will they be open on that Monday, maybe, but maybe not. They don't follow a set week by week schedule.

                                                        3. The reservation I got was for a 1:00, so I guess they are now open for lunch. My husband went to go hear Ferran Adria speak at the 92nd Street Y a few weeks ago and Adria said they never used to do lunch, which made my husband panic suddenly. He asked me "are you sure you got the reservation? how can it be for 1:00pm? Indeed I confirmed and we are on for that time. My guess is that the restaurant is extending the meals because it's their last season. To anyone who wants a resevration and got rejected previously: try again with a brand new e-mail. Address is to Mr. Luis Garcia personally, and say where you're from and when you'll be in Spain. I would also say it's your 20th anniversary, or something like that and that you would really be interested in what they have to offer. An e-mail straight and to the point, but also humble and stating why you are interested. I got a rejection so many times but I just kept trying. I am going during Easter week, so maybe that makes a difference (maybe less people visiting?). Good luck!

                                                          Also, thanks to phipsi102 for the pictures! Your blog looks amazing. I'm glad I booked for lunch because from the looks of your pics, I think I will need the entire afternoon and night to digest. My husband and I do not plan on having dinner that day.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: citykid426

                                                            He has done lunches for a couple of years now (I had lunch there in 2009). But it isn't everyday, mostly they just do dinner, but some days they just do lunch. If I remember they do about 10% lunches compared to dinners. The meals last so long they wouldn't be able to do two services a day as lunches tend to end in the early evening, we arrived for a 1:00pm reservation and left at 6:00ish and other later tables were still going.

                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                              picked up a reservation for when i was going to be on spain. I emailed them about a month ago, and was told to check a little closer to when i was going to be there. emailed them a few days ago, and they responded promptly asking if i wanted a reservation (of course!!).

                                                              I let it slip/was bragging to co-workers, and somehow my reservation of 2 turned to 5 (2 to 3, and then 3 to 5...el bulli was very responsive and was somehow able to make this happen). im going to be there all week, but friends are flying in from NYC for the dinner (they have been trying to get reservations for the last 5+ years with no success).

                                                              1. re: jaybert

                                                                this blog has been great, i thought there was no chance in getting a reservation @elbulli for this year, but i have read all the amazing stories and cuze of that i have tried to get a reservation, i just wanted to ask fo the experties of all that have had the luck of gettin a table.
                                                                so first mail i send was about 15 dasy ago and got the auto reply, and as the blog said y e mail them again. cero pretensius, polity and little info, that was a week ago, i wanted to know how long it took o get a human answer (either yes, no or a maybe, but a real answer) and how long should i wait to send an other e mail ?
                                                                all advices are very helpfull

                                                                1. re: super_al

                                                                  Theyve always been quick at responding the few times I have emailed (even letting me know no openings and we should check closer). None took more than a day (i responded to my 2010 or 2011 reservation rejection)

                                                                  1. re: super_al

                                                                    Try writing you message in the language you are most comfortable with, and then use Google Translate (or other) to trnaslate into Catalan. Apologise for the errors there will be because auto-translate is always poor. Address to Luis Garcia and give loads of options.

                                                                    His eye will be caught by the Catalan, and he'll laugh at the errors. At least you'll get a fair shot.

                                                                    1. re: Beleac

                                                                      I was always curious about this. Is this actually proven to help or are people conjecturing this based on partial information? My emails were in English and very succinct. Just said I was in Barcelona from x to y and was hoping for a res.

                                                                      1. re: jaybert

                                                                        When I got my reservation in December, I not only tried by email, but I also sent a very large novelty card in the post. Luis replied saying he was highly amused and would see what he could do. The poor guy is inundated, and I suppose most days he simply sends out that standard reply. If there aren't many emails, then he may give all some attention, but if there are a lot, he'll certainly look at one in dodgy Catalan. That at least gives you a chance.

                                                                        We know he has to look at all emails, because there's the constant flow of confirmations in the 10 day period before reservations, so I think it will help to at least get yours read.

                                                                        But there's still the problem of limited places, so you have to be lucky on your slot as well.

                                                            2. Just got back from Spain. El Bulli was amazing! Simply amazing. I sent Mr. Garcia a thank you (in English) e-mail. The meal was 46 courses and we met Adria inside the kitchen before the meal. Make sure you ask to see the kitchen and ask as many questions as you want. The people who work there are so proud of the food and the service. Hazelnut foie gras, hare consumme, endives with black truffle shavings, what can I say... We told the waiter to pick the wines for us and he did an amazing job- everything was reasonably priced (well, compared to French Laundry let's say). I think the final price came to about the equivalent of $900 including everything: meal + 2 bottles of reserve + service.

                                                              Side note: If you do manage to get a reservation, pack your restaurant clothes in the carry on luggage just in case the airline losses your checked in piece...Also I would say DONT wear jeans, sneakers, cowboy boots. I don't know why but some people did this when we went for lunch and it looked totally classless. I mean it's a once in a lifetime experience (for most of us) so why not go all out and dress nicely.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: citykid426

                                                                Awesome experience. So jealous!! :)
                                                                Which days are they doing lunch?

                                                                1. re: Heeney

                                                                  I'm not sure, but maybe it's on their website or you can just ask Luis Garcia. I much preferred lunch because it took 5 hours to eat and by the time we finished dinner was pointless (we were full), but if they'd given me a dinner reservation I certainly wouldn't have complained (I would have scarfed the food down no problem, lol).

                                                              2. I have kindly emailed Mr. Luis Garcia multiple times, but so far, I've been getting the same cookie cutter response saying that no reservations are available. I am in Barcelona 7/2-7/4, but would be able to arrive earlier or stay later as needed. Does anyone have any suggestions besides being persistent? How much is too much? I've received 2-3 rejections already. Thank you.

                                                                14 Replies
                                                                1. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                  sadly me too, i have recived around 4 rejections already, i dont what to be the annoying person, but because this is the last year my toughts are... what is the worts that could happend, os i might try again , even if that makes me into the really annoying person, i have tried everything (also wrote in catalan, didnt work), any other tips ideas ???? inside people who can work the magic?

                                                                  1. re: super_al

                                                                    There's probably no magic that can be worked - they are fully booked! You may get a cancellation if you are lucky. I don't think they care what language you write in or how humble or grovelling you are (as others have said) it's just the luck of the draw.

                                                                  2. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                    Why not try again before your travel date, about 10 days?

                                                                    They confirm all the reservations 10 days in advance so there is the possibility that someone will cancel around that time frame.

                                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                                      great suggestion, thanks. Would it help for my hotel concierge to call and try?

                                                                      1. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                        i dont want to sound snob, but it helps to get the american express centurion concierge, to try to help ? or is the same odds

                                                                          1. re: super_al

                                                                            Same odds - they run a very democratic booking service. They are full and those getting in are lucky with cancellations. I also don't believe they take calls - it is email only.

                                                                            It is about ten weeks until they close forever, it is small restaurant (approx 60 covers) that only does one service a day (lunch or dinner) usually only five days a week - so only 3,000 more lucky diners.

                                                                            That said Hacienda Benazuza is now open for the 2011 season so if you can't get a last table at El Bulli try a meal at their La Alqueria restaurant is a good substitute (I have eaten at both) - who knows Ferran may be there from August.

                                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                                              Thanks for the suggestion PhilD. Being realistic, if I cannot obtain a reservation at el Bulli, I have 3 nights in Barcelona and 3 nights in Madrid...any suggestions that are 'destination restaurant worthy without leaving the vicinity of those cities for a night? What i mean is, I'm willing to travel, but probably not change my hotel reservations etc. This is for the first week of July. Thank you.

                                                                              1. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                                Lots of great places in Barcelona, of course, but for out of town, but easily accessible by train, there's El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (up to No.2 in best restaurants), if you can get in. Or one of my favourites, and in a lovely location, Sant Pau in San Pol de Mar. I think both do lunch and dinner.

                                                                                1. re: Beleac

                                                                                  I thoroughly recommend BOTH these places - but I expect Can Roca to be impossible right now, due to its recent boosting to #2 in World!
                                                                                  And I personally rated Sant Pau higher than El Bulli (for food - but not as exciting).

                                                                                2. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                                  In Madrid, you can probably get a reservation (in advance) at La Terraza del Casino. This is a 'very good' restaurant where most (all?) of the chefs are sent for training by Ferran Adria, and the kitchen replicates several (many?) of El Bulli's dishes.
                                                                                  This is an upscale place, and is probably as close in style as you're going to get to the El Bulli 'style' (but not the experience).

                                                                                  I preferred Ramon Freixa to La Terraza (also in Madrid), but both were definitely worth visiting - and the winelist at La Terraza is very good too.

                                                                                3. re: PhilD

                                                                                  FYI I tried to book at La Alqueria a few weeks ago and they are closed for "legal reasons". If the situation has changed, would love to know.

                                                                                  1. re: Shansta

                                                                                    Sorry my mistake I misread the "Opening March 2012" as 2011. Does anyone know the story behind the closure for 2011?

                                                                              2. re: pacific2atlantic

                                                                                Just an update - no luck so far...trying every few days...
                                                                                on waiting list for El Celler de Can Roca