The restaurant in Girona, Spain took the top spot on The 2013 World’s 50 Best list, released by Restaurant magazine. It was praised for its artistic parade of courses, superb wine selection, and mind-blowing desserts.
Of course, El Celler is no stranger to The World’s 50 Best list. This is its eighth year in the top 50, and it took home second place in 2011 and 2012.
The Catalan, family-owned restaurant has been serving modern Spanish cuisine since it opened in 1986. The three Roca brothers, who run the critically-acclaimed establishment, split their duties between the kitchen and front of house.
The restaurant currently holds three Michelin stars, and has been compared to the former number one world restaurant El Bulli, which also served Catalan cuisine until it closed in 2011.
Flickr user Encantadisimo was lucky enough to dine at El Celler in 2011 and again in 2013. He shared pictures of his most recent experience with Business Insider, where he and a companion shared the “Menú Degustació de Classics,” a seven-course tasting menu with the restaurant’s most beloved dishes.
With the wine pairing, the meal cost $248 per person.
Five bite-sized apps inspired by countries around the world: Finland, Japan, Morocco, Peru, and Mexico.
Then an elaborate bonsai tree came to the table with hanging caramelized olives. Olives are a traditional way to start a Spanish meal.
Next up were the Carpano bonbons. They had a chocolate shell and a soft grapefruit and black sesame interior.
Black truffle brioche was served on a white perforated plate. It had a spongy texture and strong truffle flavour.
Black truffles were presented in a stone bowl with moss. They had a crunchy texture, and sublime earthy taste, according to the diner.
The bread tray was elaborate, with plenty of freshly baked options. The photographer was only disappointed that the breads were never replaced later on in the meal.
After all those appetizers, the first tasting menu course appeared. It was a house classic — apple timbal (a type of Catalan pastry) with foie gras and vanilla oil.
It was followed by potato parmentier topped with lobster and a mild chanterelle mushroom broth. This was one of the photographer's favourite courses.
Our diner deviated from the menu by requesting the octopus dish with sausage and peas instead of a second dessert. The octopus was tender, and the broth complemented the peas nicely.
Grilled prawns were served with air cake seawater, algae, and plankton on a stone plate for a unique presentation.
The grilled halibut came with five different sauces — fennel, bergamot, orange, pine nuts, and olive. The sauces were sophisticated, and the fennel and olive stood out in particular.
The Iberian suckling pig was another stand out from the meal, with a crispy skin and sweet inside. It was accompanied by melons and beets.
As they were finishing with coffee, a colourful cart of petits fours was brought around to the table.
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