All in Spain

El Bulli

It's an understatement to say that getting a reservation at El Bulli is difficult. During the two and a half years that I lived in Paris, I emailed the restaurant on a nearly weekly basis during season asking for last-minute openings. And everytime I received the same semi-automated reply: No. When I learned of the restaurant's closing in 2011, I became even more anxious. Unfortunately, all I could do was pray. Counterintuitively, I decided this year to pick a specific date and time, instead of indicating my open availability for the entire season. Since El Bulli does their scheduling all by hand, this specificity actually may have facilitated my acceptance. Then one early morning in March, I received a pleasant surprise from the dining room manager:

We apologize for being late giving you an answer. The demand has been extraordinary and [it] is difficult to go on with the management. We have found a solution and If you wish we have a reservation option for you.

The date I was assigned would be nearly a year in the future. But the clouds parted, and I was officially etched into the book of heaven. Now I just had to figure out how to get there.