50Best Accolades
  • The World's Best Restaurant 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
  • The Best Restaurant in Europe 2024

Ultra-creative dining laced with playfulness from trio of chefs


On the Pass

Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch

What makes it so special: The combination of brilliantly imaginative dishes, unsurpassed technical mastery and playful presentation results in the dining experience of a lifetime, as full of surprises as it is memories. Little wonder, then, that just as it’s on the point of celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Disfrutar is also named The World’s Best Restaurant 2024, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

Holy trinity: The restaurant is owned and run by three chefs: Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas. The trio met at the legendary El Bulli (which reached No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants a record-equalling five times), where each worked from a young age until its closure in 2011. The following year, they opened Compartir in Cadaqués, before unveiling Disfrutar in Barcelona in 2014. Located in the Eixample district of the Spanish city, the restaurant’s exterior is simple and the entrance narrow, before opening up to reveal a light-drenched, white-washed dining room and sun-dappled terrace at the rear.

On the plate: Two parallel menus are on offer, both around 30 courses. The Classic option is a greatest hits album featuring the chefs’ favourite dishes from the last decade, such as the famously indulgent caviar-filled Panchino doughnut or the brilliant frozen gazpacho sandwich. The Festival menu is the latest manifestation of the team’s unbounded creativity, always backed with meticulous culinary research. A few perennial classics retain their starting spot alongside newer creations including Thai-style cuttlefish with coconut multi-spherical, and squab with kombu spaghetti, almond and grape.

Fast and fantastic: 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. For example, the savoury courses conclude with Fear: The Prawn, where a pool of dry ice is presented to the diner, who must blindly fish into the vapour with bare hands to hunt for and retrieve perfectly cooked crustacea.

Final word: Disfrutar remains at the forefront of gastronomic thinking, creating an experience as fun as it is inspired – and which now tops the global ranking.