Barcelona's Disfrutar named best restaurant in the world

Chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch receive one of the world's top culinary awards

Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch at 'The World's 50 Best Restaurant' ceremony in Las Vegas
Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch at 'The World's 50 Best Restaurant' ceremony in Las Vegas / Camila Almeida / The World's Best Restaurants 2024
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 6, 2024 09:13 AM

June 6, 2024 08:01 PM

Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona has been named the best restaurant in the world according to the popular ranking 'The World's 50 Best Restaurants'.

Located in the heart of Barcelona's Eixample district, the restaurant is run by chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch. 

In less than a decade since its opening, its avant-garde cuisine, heir to the mythical El Bulli restaurant, has not stopped receiving awards.

The restaurant was named the second best restaurant in the world last year and received its third Michelin star last November.

The three chefs were visibly emotional as they accepted the award at a ceremony Thursday morning in Las Vegas.


Oriol Castro said the moment was "magical" and they were "surprised and honored". 

"We want to thank and congratulate our colleagues who are on the list and who have each contributed to building a great gastronomy," said Castro. 

Eduard Xatruch dedicated the award to the local gastronomy and to everyone who "has worked and continues to work every day to make this profession wonderful".

"Without the teams that have supported us from day one, we are nothing," Xatruch said in a message to the Disfrutar team, who watched the ceremony from the restaurant. 

Casañas guaranteed that none of the three could have imagined that they would ever be at the top of the list, even though they had been dreaming about it for the past year.


"This profession needs hours and hours, but it allows you to make people happy," he said. 

Ahead of having a meal at the Barcelona eatery, Daniel Viladecans told the Catalan News Agency that he hoped for "magical" dishes that make an "impact."


Award dedicated to 'the farmer, the fisherman, and the daily menu'

The chefs dedicated the award to "the farmer who chops potatoes every morning, to the fisherman who brings the shrimp to the restaurants, and all the daily menu bars and restaurants."

"It is a recognition for them, because we alone, without a network of excellence, would not have reached number one," Casañas told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

"There are many people in the world who have restaurants and they are good, but there is only one person in the first place and today it was our turn," Xatruch celebrated enthusiastically.

The chefs explained to ACN that the gala was "intense" and "emotional" and they were glad that the secret of Disfrutar coming out on top was kept. "When we heard the name Disfrutar it was an immense and magical pleasure."

Restaurant team celebrates

The restaurant team, who followed the gala live from Barcelona, ​​couldn't hide their joy on Thursday morning, but returned to work to focus on the lunchtime service after the celebrations.

"We are very happy and we are filled with pride, we will continue working to stay at number 1," head chef Paco Lara told the media.

Some curious passers-by took photographs at the restaurant door on Carrer Villarroel in Barcelona during the morning.

Floor manager Vicente Lara acknowledged that they had been nervous for a week in the buildup to the gala. "Today they were nervous, but when they gave us the prize it was great joy and surprise."

Consistency is the key to Disfrutar's success, according to Lara. "Consistency every day, to keep evolving, trying to innovate and create." 

For his part, the head chef describes the restaurant's strengths as hospitality, proximity, treatment, and attention to the customer, which makes them feel at home.

Paco Lara has no doubts that the standout dish on the Disfrutar menu is the Chinese bread stuffed with caviar and sour cream. "The expression on people's faces when they try it is incredible." 

Catalan cuisine returns to top of ranking

In 2018, Disfrutar was named #18 on the list, but the perseverance of the chefs led them to climb the rankings.

Catalan cuisine has taken first place in The World's 50 Best Restaurants on several occasions before, such as El Bulli in 2002, a position it subsequently regained in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Celler de Can Roca took over shortly after and held first place in the ranking in 2013 and 2015.

The ranking rules have since changed and once a restaurant reaches first position, it can no longer compete for the number one spot in the list, and instead competes in a 'The Best of the Best' category.