Spain is on my short list of western European countries to visit on my backpacking trip. Spain also happens to be the home of Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli restaurant. Located 177 km northeast of Barcelona, along the Mediterranean coast, El Bulli was ranked the #1 restaurant in the world in 2006 by over 500 critics, chefs, and gourmets around the world (for The Restaurant Magazine's annual Top 50 list).
The restaurant has become such a destination for international foodies, it's website has instructions for arriving by air, road, and sea! Unfortunately, such directions won't prove useful if you wanted to make a reservation for 2007 as they're booked for the rest of the year.
I've seen the food, cooking, and presentation techniques featured on several TV shows, and it's no wonder Time magazine listed Ferran Adria as one of it's 100 most influential people in 2007. I'm going to leave it to others to describe the fantastically innovative approach he takes to fine dining.
Instead, I ask whether you would consider paying $300 ($400 w/wine, $500 w/tip) per person for a 30-course menu at a restaurant with accolades such as these? You would literally need to build a trip to Spain around when you could get a reservation.
My answer? I would like to do it sometime in my life! Given how far in advance you have to book a reservation though, I do not know that El Bulli will be an option on my upcoming world tour. While I could pay for it by skipping an entire country, say Switzerland, I do not think it'd be an experience I would want to have alone, and I doubt I'd find any takers at the local hostel!
Restaurant Review – Chocolate and Zucchini covers a 2006 Dinner at El Bulli, complete with details and pictures of over 30 courses, prices, and reservation strategies.