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El Celler de Can Roca reservation info

w
willyum Sep 11, 2013 08:09 AM

Just got turned down for reservations for Can Roca for May 2014 :) No reservations available for any meal for the next 11 months.

Apparently the day Pellegrino announced that Can Roca was the new "World's Best Restaurant" their web site got 12,000,000 hits and instead of a 6-8 month wait list they now book solid 11 months in advance.

The way they do it now is on the first day of a month they accept reservations for eleven months ahead. So for example on October 1, 2013 they will accept reservations for September 2014.

Here's a copy of the email reply I received from the restaurant when I inquired about May 2014 reservations:

<begin email>
Good morning,

And thanks for your email.
However, at present our restaurant is fully booked, lunch and dinner, in the next 11 months.

IMPORTANT booking information

- Reservations are available up to 11 months in advance, either by telephone (+ 34 972 222 157) or by email.
No online booking available.

- Our restaurant opens from Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner.
Sundays and Mondays, closed.

- On the 1st of October reservations will be available for September 2014.

Best regards
El Celler de Can Roca
</end email>

Buena suerte! (now checking my calendar for NEXT fall :)

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  1. g
    GourmetWednesday Sep 11, 2013 08:50 PM

    We sent an email a couple of weeks ago also requesting a reservation for May 2014, and so far we only received the automated response that they were on vacation and would get back to us. I guess the only thing we have to look forward to is our rejection letter. Oh, and the trip to Spain.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GourmetWednesday
      w
      willyum Sep 12, 2013 08:23 AM

      My email request was dated August 17 and I finally heard back from them Sept 11, so I guess they are doggedly working through the backlog.

      One of the brothers was recently quoted saying they employ three people in reservations whose only job is saying "we have no openings for the next eleven months" :)

      I think we'll go to Quique Dacosta near Valencia instead.

      1. re: willyum
        s
        sunbrace Sep 12, 2013 09:28 PM

        I see some familiar faces from the Chicago board here:)

        FYI, Can Roca was on vacation from Aug 18 to the 26th, which explains some of the delay in your email. Thanks for the new reservation tip though. I found it very helpful.

    2. z
      zizouz Sep 12, 2013 07:17 AM

      I thought my meal there in February was quite good but in no way worth the hype. If you want to take a road trip, go to El Celler de l'Aspic in Falset, Priorat or Els Casals.

      4 Replies
      1. re: zizouz
        v
        veryprowine Nov 21, 2013 01:58 AM

        Second that. There are also countless other great restaurants in Catalonia that don't get the hype, but are well worth the trip like, Lluerna in the Santa Coloma neighborhood of Barcelona.

        1. re: veryprowine
          PBSF Nov 21, 2013 08:16 AM

          The poster is not looking for recommendation of great food; his mission is to in his words "collect the whole" set of Michelin 3 stars. One of the reason that El Cellar is booked solid a year in advance. Pity.

          1. re: PBSF
            w
            willyum Nov 21, 2013 09:01 AM

            PBSF, the main reason El Celler is booked 11 months in advance is not because it has three Michelin stars but because it is ranked # 1 in the Pellegrino survey. Noma was also very hard to book when it was # 1 even though it never made Michelin 3* level, as one example. And one of the 3*s in Spain that we dined at last month was only 1/4 full (but it's not yet on the Pellegrino list).

            I personally don't trust the Pellegrino rankings. For example, I think the # 1 rated USA restaurant at the moment is not in my top 8 in the USA or top 3 in Manhattan, after dining there twice.

            And you have statements like this from a famous Basque chef who says the rankings are rigged to favor Spain in this El Pais article -- http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/05/0... (He dropped 40 spots in the rankings the year after making that statement :)

            1. re: willyum
              PBSF Nov 21, 2013 01:24 PM

              I am familiar with Pellegrino's ranking and thank you for pointing out the fact that you don't trust it either. We are in agreement. I've dined at Can Roca numerous times though not since they've been ranked #1. My opinion as stated earlier: considering the many many great restaurants in the world, I would not plan a trip months ahead for the sole purpose of eating their. Obviously, others don't agree. It is El Bulli deja vu.

      2. PBSF Sep 13, 2013 12:57 AM

        This is really crazy. I am a big fan of the Roca brothers and they deserve all the success. I've eaten at their restaurant numerous times, mostly at when they had two Michelin stars and located next to their family tavern a couple blocks from where they are now. At those times, one can get a reservation within the same week and there is an occasional empty table for lunch. Reservations were a bit more difficult once they move to their current location and awarded their third Michelin star. As for the food, including two lunches couple of years ago after their third star, it is always been excellent with a few misses, not much difference between when they had 2 or 3 stars. It is definitely not head and shoulders above all those rated below it on the Pellegrino List (not a comment on the validity of the List). Why jump loops or plan a special trip to Girona when there are so many great places to eat is beyond me. For 3 star dining, if in Barcelona, train to Sant Pau; Le Calandre or dal Pescatore in Italy; Lamelois, Troigros, L'Arnsbourg, Pierre Gagnaire, Ledoyen and L'Arperge in France; Aqua and Schloss Berg in Germany. All with exceptional food, service and setting but one won't have the bragging right of eating at Pellegrino World #1 restaurant.

        8 Replies
        1. re: PBSF
          w
          weshoke Sep 17, 2013 07:38 AM

          We managed to get a reservation in early September. I had made the reservation back in January before they made the jump from #2 to #1 on the list.

          We were going to be in Barcelona for a month, so my strategy was to email them with a range of dates and let them pick the time and day for me. It worked out for us.

          As for the experience itself, I agree with PBSF that it's artistically and technically masterful, but there are still some misses. There were definitely some blow your mind moments, but compared to Noma of 3 years ago the consistency and arc of the experience isn't any better than other high-end restaurants of the world. Don't get me wrong, I would go back in a heartbeat, but it isn't worth tearing your hair out when an equally spectacular experience can be had without the incredible hassle.

          1. re: PBSF
            s
            sunbrace Sep 18, 2013 06:01 PM

            There are those of us who plan in advance where they want to go in the next couple of years. If such is the case, why not email the restaurant and see if they have any openings. Please remember that there are those who do not live in Europe. I prefer emails to the alternative: waking up at 3 am to call the restaurant repeatedly only to get either a busy signal or for them to tell me that there are no tables left. Or for certain restaurants in Chicago, stalking their facebook or twitter page to see if they have released tables for a certain time period. At least with Can Roca, I know when to send the request. I just send the email and forget it until I get a response. Is it worth it? I'll let you know next month. Would I be desperate enough to plan my trip around the reservation? Probably not.

            1. re: sunbrace
              PBSF Sep 18, 2013 08:14 PM

              I've eaten at Can Roca and have my opinion. If you do eat there, please report back; always interested in reading other people's experiences. I know there are many who don't live in Europe, including myself. In my case, makes it more of a reason not to let a restaurant dictate when I make a 6000 mile trip. Especially if the reason being Pellegrino #1. I have not been to NOMA, so guess I've missed the boat.

              1. re: PBSF
                s
                sunbrace Sep 19, 2013 07:06 PM

                Agree with you on not planning a trip around restaurants. I find that ridiculous as well. I've never been to Noma for the same reason. Copenhagen so far hasn't been appealing to me.

                1. re: PBSF
                  s
                  sunbrace Nov 11, 2013 09:19 PM

                  Just came home from Spain this week. Of the places I ate in Spain, I thought Can Roca was one of the best over there. Would I go back? Probably not. Although the food was good, I don't think it's worth the hassle(reservation policy plus the fact that I travelled during a time when the train workers went on strike). Plus, I thought that there was something missing about my experience. Will make a more detailed report when I have the time.

                  1. re: sunbrace
                    w
                    willyum Nov 12, 2013 08:50 AM

                    Looking forward to your report. We are going back to Spain next year and are wondering whether to try for a CR reservation and spend some time in Barcelona, or skip Barcelona and spend most of our time in Bilbao and San Sebastian.

                    Did you also make it to Sant Pau? That's one we had high expectations for but felt "there was something missing" once we actually dined there.

                    1. re: willyum
                      s
                      sunbrace Nov 12, 2013 08:42 PM

                      No I did not. I went to Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian/Bilbao. I was planning a side trip to either Cadaques to visit Compartrir or make a pilgrimage to Montserrat but decided against it because of the train strike that happened while I was there.

                      If you're going to BCN, I would email now and see if you can get in. If you're not going to BCN, I don't see the point. Unless you want the bragging rights. lol

                2. re: sunbrace
                  PBSF Sep 19, 2013 08:45 AM

                  Just to add to my previous post. I am not criticizing Can Roca's reservation policy. They are handling the onslaught of requests the best they can.

              2. w
                willyum Nov 20, 2013 05:24 PM

                OK, some more info for those who are contemplating trying to make a reservation at Can Roca.

                We decided to go to Provence and Italy next May, then return to Spain next October. Since there are only a few Michelin 3*s in Spain we hope to maybe dine at all of them over the course of 3 or 4 trips and several years (I like to collect the full set, so to speak) and since CR looks like it's the toughest to book I thought I'd try it again.

                So here was the correspondence, for your amusement :)

                %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

                Nov 8 email from me to Can Roca:
                Can I make a reservation for two people to dine at El Celler next October (2014?). Any date between October 15 and October 25 would be fine with us.

                We would prefer lunch but can take a dinner time if that is all you have open.

                Nov 8 Can Roca reply
                AUTOMATED REPLY. Your email has been correctly received and we are doing our best to deal with your request as quickly as possible. However, please note that
                it may take us a few days to answer you. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

                < and I wait ... >

                Nov 18 Can Roca reply
                at present our restaurant is fully booked, lunch and dinner, in the next 11 months.

                Reservations are available up to 11 months in advance, either by telephone (+ 34 972 222 157) or by email.

                On the 1st of December reservations will be available for November 2014 (Phone lines will open on December 3rd).

                %%%%%%%%%%%

                So it seems that they booked all of October 2014 (probably 800 tables) pretty quickly ... so if you want to make a reservation then a) send in your request as close to the first of the month as possible eleven months in advance, and b) I'm guessing calling will take precedence over email, though I'm not sure about that.

                We can move our 2014 trip a bit so I'm thinking that on Dec 1 I'll email asking for Saturday Nov 1, 2014 (just that one day). If I get it, cool. If not, Basque country here we come ...

                So mark this 'to be continued ... ' :)

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