“Un momento unico”: Disfrutar is The World’s Best Restaurant 2024

Rachael Hogg - 05/06/2024

On 5 June 2024, amid the glitz and glamour of the world’s entertainment capital, Disfrutar in Barcelona was named The World’s Best Restaurant, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. The trio of ultra-creative chefs – Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas – reflect on what the accolade means to them, and how they would be nothing without their team

It’s a big year for Disfrutar in Barcelona. Not only is the restaurant celebrating its 10-year anniversary, it’s now officially The World’s Best Restaurant 2024.

Disfrutar first appeared on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2018, debuting at No.19. And it’s been on an upwards trajectory ever since, climbing to No.9 in 2019, No.5 in 2021, then completing a full podium of No.3 in 2022, narrowly missing out on the top spot in 2023 at No.2, and of course, being crowned No.1 in 2024.

Owned and run by three chefs  Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas  Disfrutar has the holy trinity of brilliantly imaginative dishes, unsurpassed technical mastery and playful presentation. Reflecting on a brilliant win, Xatruch said, “We are always making all that we can: gastronomy, building things, and working hard every day. If someone had told us, 10 years ago, when we started Disfrutar, that we’d be here in Las Vegas and being crowned The World’s Best Restaurant 2024, we’d have thought they were crazy. It’s just a dream.”

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During an emotional moment on stage after Disfrutar was officially announced as The World’s Best Restaurant 2024, Xatruch said: “We want to dedicate this award to the gastronomy in our country, and to all the people who worked and keep working to build this marvellous profession.”

A lot will be made of the chef-owners’ shared status as alumni of the legendary El Bulli (which reached No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants a record-equalling five times), where the trio met and worked together from a young age, staying until the restaurant’s closure in 2011.

However, while Disfrutar is of course influenced by and pays homage to Ferran and Albert Adria’s game-changing restaurant, it very much has its own culinary language. Casañas said: “For us it’s incredible. We cannot believe this… We have around 70 people working at Disfrutar, and 120 people across our teams. They will be so happy, we can’t be here without them.”

Xatruch added: "We also want to thank our team. Without our team we are nothing. The team in Disfrutar and Compartir has been with us since day one. And of course, we want to dedicate this to our families who have always supported us, and suffered with us. We hope that this award is a joy for them and could make them feel that everything has been worth it.”

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At the restaurant, diners can choose between two parallel menus, both around 30 courses. First-timers will likely want to experience the Classic option, a greatest hits album featuring the chefs’ favourite dishes from the last decade. The Festival menu meanwhile is the latest manifestation of the team’s unbounded creativity, always backed with meticulous culinary research.

With 30 dishes to taste, the service style sees dishes delivered thick and fast over several hours, taking diners on the ultimate high-speed culinary rollercoaster ride. Table theatre and interaction are frequent, executed with a blend of professionalism and humour.

Explaining just a small taster of what it might be like to eat at Disfrutar, Xatruch said: “Disfrutar means to enjoy: you come for the taste and different textures, you enjoy the gastronomy, but you also feel emotions. For us this is the important thing.”

Disfrutar is followed on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 ranking by another Spanish restaurant, Victor Arguinzoniz’s temple to grilled produce, Asador Etxebarri in the Basque country. Xatruch said: “We love Victor Arguinzoniz and his work. In the same way last year Central achieved No.1 and we were so happy for the team. If Victor had taken No.1, we’d be happy for him. Gastronomy isn’t a competition.”

Humble with a sense of real camaraderie, Casañas described the huge number of emotions experienced in the room at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024. “For us, all that has happened tonight, is crazy. When we come here to the ceremony like this – sometimes you are scared, sometimes you are emotional, but inside the ceremony, we have all the emotions at the same time.”

As the tension in the room built, No.5 was revealed as Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura’s Maido in Lima, Peru. The top four restaurants in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 are all in Europe. At No.4 is the Madrid pleasure-dome that is Dabiz Muñoz’s Diverxo, with Paris sensation Table by Bruno Verjus at No.3.

Summing up a huge evening, Castro described the monumental win: “Amazing. Incredible. Un momento unico.”

Next year, Disfrutar will join the restaurants in the elite Best of the Best hall of fame, meaning it is no longer eligible for the main 50 Best ranking. Will another Spanish superstar join the club next year? With five restaurants in the 50 Best list found in España, there may well be something in the agua.

Watch The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2024 ceremony.

The list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced on 5 June from Las Vegas. Discover the 2024 list, including 51-100, and follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitter and YouTube for the latest news, interviews and videos.