Disfrutar Is Officially 2024's World's Best Restaurant

In the culinary universe, there are dozens of awards bestowed on talented restauranteurs and their establishments, but perhaps the most prized accolade is the title of World's Best Restaurant. This year, the coveted honor was presented to Disfrutar, a Mediterranean-inspired eatery in Barcelona, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Tucked away in the Eixample district, the humble entrance conceals the fusion of unparalleled imagination and technical mastery that goes into producing each of its dishes. 

Disfrutar is owned and operated by a trio of talented head chefs — Mateu Casañas, Eduard Xatruch, and Oriol Castro. Together, they have revolutionized upscale cuisine — which you want to know how to order before visiting — with two fanciful menus for diners to choose from as they lavish in the sun-soaked ambiance of the dining room. 

The first is essentially a collage of the three culinary artists' most loved dishes from the last decade, like the famous caviar-filled Panchino doughnut. A second Festival menu features the chefs' unbridled creativity with gastronomic creations like the Thai-style cuttlefish with coconut multi-spherical — a meal not soon forgotten by those who have the privilege of visiting. Both menus offer 30 courses, allowing guests to taste various creative flavor combinations and gain an understanding of how the restaurant came to be the world's best.

The significance of the World's Best Restaurant title

Winning the title of World's Best Restaurant is far from a participation trophy. While there is no specific set of criteria for an establishment to be considered, the Best of the Best list has strict voting rules. The World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy composes its list by utilizing 1,080 industry experts — such as food writers, critics, restaurateurs, and chefs — from around the globe, in 27 distinct regions. Each region consists of a 40-member voting panel, all of whom hold 10 votes. Only six votes can be cast within the voting members' home region, meaning experts must travel internationally to use up every vote they have.

While no restaurant can apply to be considered, every eatery in the world is eligible, with few exceptions — one being that it has plans to close its doors soon after the list is compiled. The judging is done purely on the merit of the location's cuisine. An establishment is not required to have won any other awards to claim the title of World's Best Restaurant, so while the three Michelin stars Disfrutar chefs earned in 2024 doesn't hurt, it doesn't help them either. It is, however, reason enough to believe they know best, and that this isn't a place you want to ask your server for menu substitutions.

Disfrutar's rich history of impressive accolades

Before this most recent recognition from World's Best, not to mention repeated acclaim from Michelin, making them part of an exclusive club worldwide, Disfrutar has for years received high marks in the industry. In 2015, the Barcelona eatery won Best Restaurant of the Year by the Catalan Academy of Gastronomy and Nutrition, and in 2018, the establishment gained three Soles in the Repsol Guide, the Spanish equivalent of the Michelin Guide. Over the last decade, it has also received recognition from The Best Chef Top 100, Best New European Restaurant, and Best Restaurant in Barcelona by Macarfi's Guide.

No small amount of the prestige is due to the extraordinary thought given to the presentation of the dishes Disfrutar serves. One that amazes patrons is Fear: The Prawn, which features a bowl of vaporous dry ice that diners have to courageously reach through to come away with the exquisitely cooked seafood within. The trio of chefs that run Disfrutar spent years honing their skills and educating themselves on various culinary techniques to serve the best possible meals to their customers, and this year, they have been recognized for that effort by earning a title only one restaurant in the world can claim in any given year.