Jun 06 2024

The 50 Best List Speaks Spanish: Disfrutar from Barcelona is the Best Restaurant in the World

The Barcelona-based restaurant occupies the first place, with Asador Etxebarri in second and DiverXO in fourth place

The night in Las Vegas seemed promising for Spanish gastronomy, and the predictions came true. The presentation of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2024 list in the American city crowned Disfrutar (Barcelona) as the best, a restaurant by Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch, three former chefs from elBulli who have successfully forged their own path, which the Michelin Guide endorsed last November with its third Michelin star.

Disfrutar offers imaginative and creative cuisine, where classic Spanish preparations like the polvorón (a traditional sweet from Christmas time), that is completely transformed in a version made from tomato. There are also playful takes on ingredients like kokotxas (stewed fish necks), which they prepare in four different ways. They also offer contemporary versions of dishes from the Catalan recipe book, such as calçots, those long green onions typically grilled, which they prepare by filling them with the romesco sauce that usually accompanies them.

The list, owned and run by William Reed Business Media, recognized, beyond the number one spot for Disfrutar, the high level of Spanish restaurants by placing Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Basque Country) in second place: an unthinkable achievement for a chef, Bittor Arginzoniz, who uses the grill as his instrument to achieve excellence. On the grill, he cooks high-end products such as chorizo from the prestigious Joselito brand or Palamós shrimp, but also Basque beef chuleta.

In fourth place, a classic despite its youth among the awards: Dabiz Muñoz (DiverXO, Madrid), a chef who enjoys pushing gastronomic boundaries. In 2025, he will move his restaurant to the outskirts of Madrid, in a change that promises to be revolutionary. In his extremely elaborated dishes he introduces high-quality products such as caviar from Riofrío (Granada, Andalusia), tender peas from various parts of Spain, roast suckling pig, trout from the Pyrenees, or prawns from Galicia.

There were more Spanish names among the top 50. Quique Dacosta (Denia, Valencian Community), the restaurant of the chef of the same name, landed in 14th place. Innovation and love for Valencian cuisine mark his work, which spans more than three decades.

In 28th place appears another grill, Elkano (Getaria, Basque Country), where fish is masterfully prepared, with special attention to turbot. Aitor Arregi has successfully continued the work of his father Pedro in a high-level family saga.

More Restaurants Among the Top 100 and Predecessors

The list revealed yesterday is of the top 50, but a few days ago the restaurants ranked from 51 to 100 were also announced. Again, there is a Spanish presence in that part of the list, with Enigma, Albert Adrià's spot in Barcelona, at number 59; and Aponiente, Ángel León's space in El Puerto de Santa María (Andalusia), at 72. The list is completed by Mugaritz (San Sebastián), ranked 81st.

With Disfrutar's triumph, there are now three Spanish restaurants that have reached the top of The World's 50 Best Restaurants. The now-closed elBulli by Ferran Adrià (Roses, Catalonia) achieved this five times, while El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Catalonia) held the top spot twice. Since 2019, both have been part of a sort of hall of fame within The World's 50 Best Restaurants, consisting of all those restaurants that have reached number one at least once and that, by policy of the list, can no longer be part of the original ranking. This means that Disfrutar will join this honorary list this year and will leave the throne open for, who knows, maybe another Spanish restaurant to top it.

About The Worlds 50 Best List

The 50 Best brand is owned and managed by William Reed, based in the United Kingdom. The list of the best restaurants is created based on the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, composed of 1,080 experts from the international restaurant industry.