The Ultimate Reservation

For the past four years, every since I knew about it, really, I’ve been e-mailing El Bulli–frequently cited as the best restaurant in the world–for a reservation. And almost like clockwork, I get an e-mail back a few months later stating that because of intense demand (800,000 people applying for 8,000 possible reservations, according to Wikipedia) my request couldn’t be honored.

That is until yesterday…

…when I received the following e-mail:

“We regret to be late giving you an answer. The demand has been again extraordinary and is difficult to go on with the management. We have found a solution and have an option for you on

****** July *** of 2009, table for 2 people at 8.00 – 8.30 p.m.

Ferran Adrià will prepare a personalized tasting menu. You will try many different elaborations and it means many different products. It is very IMPORTANT FOR HIS CONFECTION TO KNOW IN ADVANCE if some problem exists, like ALLERGIES OR ANY OTHER PRODUCT THAT WE COULD NOT INCLUDE FOR ANYONE OF YOU.

I wait your news to fix the option and also with regard to this question to fix all the details at your reservation.

Ok, so first of all, can you believe it!?!?!? A reservation at El Bulli?!?! Please allow me to rejoice for a moment.


Thank you.

Now, second, wasn’t that an absolutely charming e-mail? I love the muddled English, it’s pretty adorable for a 3-star Michelin restaurant.


Holy s**t, how are we going to get there??? In every sense—how will we afford a trip to Spain!?!?? And how do we know if we’ll be free in July!?!?!? And if we do get to Spain, how the heck do we get to the restaurant??!?!

These are all serious concerns and yet I just wrote El Bulli back to say that we will be there–no food allergies to speak of–on the designated date this summer.

Because, at all costs, no matter what, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And we will make it work.

Stay tuned as the saga of El Bulli continues!

57 thoughts on “The Ultimate Reservation”

  1. Congrats of getting a reservation Adam!! You are right, no matter what you have to get there. Just start counting your pennies, keep an eye of airfare deals and start planning! Cannot wait to read all about it!

  2. I am totally jealous. I didn’t think you could email them, I just thought you had to go to the restaurant and wait in line! What a great excuse to take a vacation and eat at the best restaurant in the world. Have a blast! I am excited to hear more about it as the year goes on.

  3. tough life. you write a blog and get to fly to spain for dinner. sounds a bit much especially when many many people are losing jobs.

  4. i love that the way it’s written, it almost makes it sound like “His Confection” is an honorary title for Adria.

  5. you’ll make it! it’ll be wonderful and you’ll have a fantastic time. Though I wonder – “8.00-8.30pm” … does that mean you have to eat and get out in half an hour? :)

  6. OMG

    Congrats! Couldn’t have happened to a better blogger. I am so glad you will be going to El Bulli, because this means I will get to live vicariously through you and Craig (you are going with Craig right?).

  7. OMG

    Congrats! Couldn’t have happened to a better blogger. I am so glad you will be going to El Bulli, because this means I will get to live vicariously through you and Craig (you are going with Craig right?).

  8. Shut UP! You’ll find a way to get there, no doubt. Even if it takes every one of your readers giving you a dollar:) Of course i’ll expect a liquified reconstructed olive in exchange. I’m sure you can get that through customs, no? congrats!!!

  9. Hey Shen, or should I say Eeyore, maybe you missed the part where Adam said, “how will we afford it?” If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you could probably deduce that AG is not living off a trust fund. He does the blog because he’s passionate about the food. And, ergo, if the opportunity arises to eat at what is, let’s face it, the Mecca of food – you find a way. For a foodie, it is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” So yes, times are hard for many. (My salary just got cut but I still have a job!) Bur I’m not letting it get me down; just realigning my expectations and looking for something better. If it was easy it wouldn’t be a challenge!

  10. Caroline in San Francisco

    Shen, yes times are tough for many people right now. Please let us have comfort from thought of good food and vent your negative thoughts elsewhere.

  11. OMG I am so jealous. I’m starting “small” with a (hopefully!!) trip to the French Laundry for my birthday in August. Oh, I hope this all works out for you – I hope to hit El Bulli within 10 years, and you’re way ahead of me. ^_^

  12. Dang, I hope y’all speak some spanish. What a great excuse for a vacation in Spain! Hurrah! I suppose you can call the whole trip a blog-related expense–after all, you will be writing about the whole thing. Better yet, make it a new cookbook–AG Goes to Spain!

  13. :) congratulations dude!!!!

    enjoy and you know we are all hoping for a full recap of it when you get back :)

  14. JB in San Diego

    I’d like to echo Caroline for emphasis. Shen, please try to look on the bright side of life. Just because unemployment is over 6% doesn’t mean food bloggers should start publishing their grandmother’s hardtack recipe or suggest economical ways to dress up cat food.

    Can’t wait to hear about El Bulli Adam – once again your down to earth perspective on a place with a supernatural reputation will be refreshing. But will they allow photographs? Sorry, you have more important things to figure out first.

  15. Now, from my perspective: OMG! Adam is coming to Barcelona!!!!

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance. Guys, you can crash at my place (so stop fretting about the cost!). And let me know if I can help you with anything else, too! (and now, time to stop this exclamation mark frenzy)

  16. I totally read your Tweet about this yesterday, and I am so EXCITED for you!!! Also, I am excited b/c I know you will photograph and blog every morsel you consume. REJOICE! REJOICE! REJOICE! :>

    I @ replied to you on Twitter; I don’t know if you read ’em, but I thought it was worth a shot. :>

  17. Mazel tov, I am totally excited for you…Better make sure every moment is detailed and noted…but do not forget the most important thing…..ENJOY IT!! and then write what u remember…..what an absolutely wonderful one-of-a-kind-for-life memory

  18. That’s awesome Adam – Congrats! I bet you are going out to celebrate tonight!! Be sure to take lots and lots of pics (if they let you, which they better!) because I will never go to Spain so I will have to experience it through you guys! Don’t worry about getting there, you’ll make it happen! I think it’s funny that you wonder if you will even be available in July, WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS??? Have a GREAT weekend!

  19. Lucky! Congrats!

    My fiance and I plan to be in Spain for our honeymoon in July 2009, but were declined a reservation. I’m so jealous!

  20. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas! How fabulous for you and Craig! And all of us who get to live it through your photos and words. It will be wonderful. So excited for all of us.

  21. That is awesome! It’s always been a dream to go. Definitely a trip I have to take sometime. Getting there is easy, eating there is the hard part.

  22. adam……that’s fuckin awesome…….but you do realize that if your rezzie is for 8-8:30…..then that means you aint gettin outta there until like 1 in the morn…….in a food coma!!!!

  23. i suggest putting up a paypal button and soliciting for donations to help finance the trip. i’d be very happy to contribute, because i’m sure i would get my money’s worth in highly entertaining blog posts, complete with photographs!

    i’m so excited for you!

  24. I just started reading your blog about a month ago and I’m so hooked. I’m totally food obsessed and I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. I can’t wait to read about your el bulli updates.

  25. Wow. Congratulations! I’ve been reading through your past posts and I have you in the food section on my Google Reader, so I’m just now (What? I’m only a few years behind!) catching on to the joy that is the Amateur Gourmet. I can’t wait to read all about your experience!

  26. Shen – Think of all the people Adam will be helping out by taking this trip. He’ll be giving money to the airline companies, cabbies, waiters, hotel workers, etc. – being a part of the reason that all those people will have jobs. If you have the money right now, and can spend it, you SHOULD. What better way is there to help the economy?

  27. I have been trying to get a table there for years myself.. Anyhow, you might want to expand the duration your stay. I highly recommend the basque territory. Packed with very nice restaurants. Fly into Barcelona. Rent a car. Its 2 hrs drive up to Rosas and el Bulli. Then go to San Sebastian, and slowly make your way to Bilbao. And then via Asturias back to Bareclona, or Madrid. Spend three weeks if you can.

    Best of luck

    Knut, Oslo, Norway

  28. Oh what a wonderful experience you are going to have! I recently saw Ferran in melbourne when he was here to promote his book and he took us through a typical dining experience and it looked amazing!

  29. If you can’t find a way to get there, let me know. I will be glad to fill in for you. I live in France and can get there easier than you. May have to take out a bank loan first, of course.

  30. Oh my gosh!! Congrats Adam! FANTASTIC NEWS! I absolutely cannnnoooootttt wait to see your hilarious take on the most incredible eating experience in the world! yay!

  31. Wow Adam! That’s unbelievable! I have read and heard so much about El Bulli, but I can’t wait to read about it from your perspective! It will be wonderful for your readers because you are not such a food snob as many food writers and chefs, but you will totally respect and admire it for all it is. What an experience it will be! You deserve it.

  32. It’s true – I would donate to this cause, just to get your report. Think of it as selling a subscription to that one post. I’ve read a few blog posts about the experience of dining at El Bulli, and I know it’s a mind blowing experience and all, but they were vague and unsatisfying. I trust you to emerge from the haze with a slightly firmer grip on what just happened in there! And if you don’t, well, that’ll be interesting, too. Congratulations, and we’ll raise a cheap glass of wine in your honor next June, over some hot dogs, probably!

  33. Congratulations! And hooray : )

    Start checking travelzoo for sales. Gate1 is also helpful. And who knows, maybe you have enough credit card points to help with a ticket – it could happen…

    But, wherever, however – you’ve gotta go!

  34. Re: the logistics and cost of getting to El Bulli, my American friends who’ve traipsed around Europe with me have found that there are usually pretty good RT deals between NY and London, and then it’s cheaper to book a separate RyanAir or EasyJet flight from London to Barcelona or Girona airports instead of trying to book a flight on a big transatlantic carrier between NY and Barcelona and Girona.

    Congrats on your reservation. Cheers!

  35. Sooooo Jealous. Its funny but for me the flight might be cheaper than the meal, but i would willingly pay for it. I hope you get there and its as good as you hope it will be

  36. I’ve been watching the cost of flights to Spain and they are dropping! They’ll be $500 by June! Plus, it’s very easy to rent a car and drive a couple hours to Rosas. You might even want to drive afterwards to the seaside nearby and spend a few days in Salvador Dali-land! How great!

  37. ok so super but what about this blog? it’s been days. don’t you have interns? your broccoli post made me roast every vegetable imaginable (except lettuce). i’m waiting for something else delicious.

  38. Congrats!! How amazing…so jealous…

    I must admit, I am an “eyeball” foodie…I have no budget for the taste I’d LIKE to have, so I will live vicariously through your blog and Bourdain’s show…

    PS. Anonymous wealthy AG reader, this would be a perfect time for you to endow plane fare for 2 to Spain…

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