Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch & Mateu Casañas
Why go: Disfrutar – whose name translates as ‘enjoy’ – is one of the most delicious, surprising and boundary-pushing gastronomic experiences in the world. It debuted at No.18 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018, picking up the Highest New Entry Award, and has since climbed to No.5 – a testament to the consistently mind-blowing nature of its gastronomic offer, which has been described as ‘a thrilling rapid-fire, roller-coaster ride of a dining experience’.
Who’s in the kitchen: Chefs Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruch all started working at the legendary El Bulli (now a member of the Best of the Best group of restaurants) within a year of each other, between 1996 and 1998. After the restaurant closed in 2011, they joined forces to open Compartir in Cadaqués in Catalonia, Spain, followed by Disfrutar – their most ambitious project – in 2014.
El Bulli’s legacy: Contemporary techniques, daring combinations and the drive to surprise diners are among the features that Castro, Casañas and Xatruch embrace at Disfrutar as they did at El Bulli. Dishes such as panchino (a fluffy bun) stuffed with caviar and sour cream, or multi-spherical pesto with tender pistachios and eel, are designed to ‘please, surprise and excite’. In 2021, the team unveiled a new type of table in their creativity kitchen: during the dining experience it comes to life, showing secret compartments, drawers and delicious bites hidden in its bowels.
The space: Located in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Disfrutar’s main dining room is light-filled and white, but the restaurant also features other spaces, including an outdoor terrace and a private lounge in the creativity kitchen. The design – featuring plenty of ceramics – was chosen to convey the trio’s respect for the history and heritage of the Mediterranean.