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Barcelona restaurant Disfrutar named world’s 5th best

Copenhagen’s Noma tops the list and equals elBulli’s record as global leader on five occasions

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06 October 2021 09:59 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Barcelona restaurant Disfrutar has been named the fifth-best in the world by the prestigious ranking of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. 

Under the leadership of Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas, the former chefs of the famous elBulli restaurant which closed in 2011, the restaurant was named in the top five in the world at a gala event in Antwerp on Tuesday evening. 

Disfrutar offers various tasting menus starting at €165, and the restaurant believes the element of surprise is "an important feeling in the gastronomic experience" and therefore recommends its diners to not look at the details of the menu but instead "just sit back and let yourself go."

Noma in Copenhagen has again taken the top spot, and equals elBulli’s record as a global leader in five separate editions of the ranking. 

The podium was completed by Geranium, also in Copenhagen, and the Asador Etxebarri, in the Basque Country. Victor Arguinzoniz, chef at Asador Etxebarrim, also received the Estrella Damm Chefs' Choice Award 2021. 

The pandemic meant that the 2020 edition of the awards ceremony was not held, but it returned again this week to laud the finest dining establishments across the planet. 

Disfrutar, located on Carrer Villarroel in the Eixample district, has been honoured for its "paradoxical dishes" and for offering a "unique" gastronomic experience.

In 2019, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants changed format and restaurants that previously took the top spot are no longer in consideration for this ranking, but instead, move to a ‘Best of the Best’ category in recognition of their excellence. 

Therefore, the Girona restaurant El Celler de Can Roca nor any other that topped the list before will appear in the classification again.

Noma, however, has been able to qualify this year and take the top spot for the fifth time after reconverting into a new restaurant. In 2016, it closed down and two years later reopened in a new location with an emphasis then on seasonal dishes.

Catalonia's gastronomic revolution

For decades —or centuries, some will argue—, France was seen as the standard-bearer of top-notch cuisine, and French chefs lauded as the epitome of creativity and sophistication when it came to food.  

But at some point at the turn of the 21st century, the focus shifted south: to Spain and, more specifically, to Catalonia.

In August, Catalan News explored the world of superstar chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants across Catalonia

Listen to the episode of our podcast Filling the Sink below, featuring an interview with Carme Ruscalleda, a passionate, virtuoso chef who has been awarded seven Michelin stars across three restaurants in Catalonia and Japan. 

Michelin-starred restaurants in Catalonia

For a map of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Catalonia, check out our map below.

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  • From left to right, Disfrutar chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and  Eduard Xatruch (image from Disfrutar)

  • From left to right, Disfrutar chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch (image from Disfrutar)

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