Restaurant Disfrutar in Barcelona, Spain offers a truly unique gastronomic dining experience with their Mediterranean inspired tasting menu.
I thought Rick was going to kill me. After a loooonnng day of walking around in Barcelona, we were both in that hangry stage. However, we had not quite mastered the eating times in Spain. It seemed like every time our stomachs started grumbling, we would look at our watches and realize that it was siesta time, with none of the plentiful restaurants in sight actually open.
With my WiFi sketchy at best, I was left to rely on a Google map that I had thrown together, with all of the restaurants I was hoping to check out marked. I had gathered these restaurants from Yelp reviews, recommendations from fellow bloggers, and television shows. However, I had forgotten to actually jot down notes about what the restaurants were all about.
In our quest to find food, and eat something… QUICK – I pulled up the map, and we walked to the nearest spot, hoping to find a restaurant that was open. That is when we stumbled upon Disfrutar.
The host greeted us at the door and started speaking in Spanish to us – All of which I could decipher was “Do you have a reservation?” I said that we did not and she said she would check with the kitchen about getting us in. When she returned, she said that “We do have a seat at the bar (something in Spanish), we are only serving (something in Spanish) menu, (something in Spanish, something in Spanish, something in Spanish), is that OK?” We just wanted something to eat – “Es Bien.” (I have no idea if that is how you say “That’s good” – But that was my answer) Obvious note: I should have studied the Rosetta Stone much more before our trip.
We took our seats at the sleek, modern bar, and that’s when the menu was placed in front of us. (Luckily it was in English) This was not going to be the quick tapas trip that we were hoping for. This was on a whole other level. “What have you gotten us into?,” Rick said. I scrunched up my face and said “Sorry! I had no idea…” We considered leaving right then.
It’s not that we don’t love a great restaurant, and a great tasting menu. We were just not in the state of mind to have this type of eating experience today. This is a story told through food. And we knew, we were going to be there for at least a couple hours. We were hoping to make a quick stop and then head out to catch the last hour of sunshine, taking in a few more of the sights. Normally, we would make reservations at least a week in advance, get dressed up, and starve ourselves for the entire day, in preparation for the dinner that was upon us. Today, I was starving (let’s be honest, I always am), but I was also dressed in a grey t-shirt, jeans, and running shoes. I felt a bit out of place. But we sucked it up – And buckled in. And what a ride it was!
Open since December 2014, the restaurant Disfrutar (in English “Enjoy”) arose after years of intense work at elBulli, where chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch met and trained professionally. The tasting menu is daring, fun and modern with a markedly Mediterranean identity. Here is our food journey:
The Beet That Comes Out of the Land – Our server brought out this bowl of “dirt” and rose petals to us. After swirling the bowl around in her hands for a bit, these balls arose. Super light in texture and filled with air – She advised us to take it in one bite, which was very helpful. Otherwise, it would have crumbled all over the table!
Crispy Bow with Iberian Bacon & Caramel-Coated Hazelnuts – An uber thin slice of crispy ham atop crispy noodles served alongside caramel coated hazelnuts (which were actually more of a hazelnut cream). The sweet and salty went nicely together.
Tomato “Palvoron” and Arbequina Caviaroli – This was not one of my favorite dishes of the night. Powdered tomato topped a mouse textured round of olive oil topped with fish roe. The powdered tomato was a bit dry, but delightfully tangy.
“Disfruta de la Aceituna” – Again, our waitress was helpful in letting us know how to eat this dish. “One bite.” The olives are actually liquefied inside and they explode in your mouth. Served with orange blossoms which we were told to suck the nectar out of. It was extremely floral with notes of citrus – A nice pairing with the rich olives.
Crispy Egg Yolk with Mushroom Gelatin – A whole egg yolk, battered and fried on top of an egg shell filled with a mushroom gelatin. Very earthy, and once again, stunning presentation. The savory gelatin was a new one for me, and it is served chilled. It took a little getting used to, but grew on me.
Aerial Sandwich of Langoustine Cocktail – “Two bites.” What looks like a hearty sandwich, is actually lighter than air. The “roll” falls apart as you bite into it. A texture similar to a cross between cotton candy and sponge candy. The filling was a lovely piece of local langoustine. A bit like a crab roll.
Red Mullet with Pork Jowls and Aubergine Gnocchi – The thin slices that top this dish are buttery pork jowls. And, the most amazing part of this dish? What appears to be an egg yolk is actually a sphere of liquefied corn. An amazing burst of flavor which is that of the freshest corn you have ever tasted.
“Lemon Verbena” and Pineapple Sorbet with Coconut and Licorice – One of the prettiest dishes of the night, and one of my favorites taste wise. A beautiful coconut cream tops a tangy lemon sorbet that’s tinged with a hint of anise flavor. I may just have to try this one at home!
Chocolate Peppers, oil and salt – Not what it appears. These “peppers” are actually made of a gelatin skin, that has the faint hint of spiciness and filled with a milk-chocolate ganache. Drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.
Start to finish, the service, food and presentation were all top notch. It was a truly unique dining experience and in the end, we were happy that we walked into the door of Disfrutar. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you are ever in Barcelona and looking for a meal that will not soon be forgotten!
Disclaimer: All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, which gives you a sense of the dishes, but doesn’t quite do their beauty justice. I was not compensated for our dining experience and all opinions are my own.