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“Simply the best” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of El Celler de Can Roca

El Celler de Can Roca
Ranked #1 of 491 Restaurants in Girona
Price range: $25 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Herault, France
Level Contributor
156 reviews
88 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Simply the best”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2013 via mobile

We had planned our November visit to El Cellar in February and it was worth the wait.

Some of the criticisms I have read may be just, but for me, the overall experience was perfection. The welcome was warm and, refreshingly, at all times, whatever the customer wanted was right. You want to take a photo of the bottle label, then of course we will leave the bottle with you, and they remembered for bottle after bottle.

We ate the 'feast' menu with the matching wines. The pace was good and three hours passed in a flash.

Did I mention the food? Presentation, quality, portion, taste, novelty, just perfection and the matching wines were inventive - a wide range including saki and cider.

We thought of it as a once in a lifetime experience, but .... we'll be back!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank LifeinHerault
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,038 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
288 reviews
186 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Surely life can not get better than this?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 24, 2013

People often claim being the best in the world for so many things but for El Celler de Can Roca how can you know unless you have been to every restaurant in the world? and then the vagaries of the day you visit. We haven't been to all but we have eaten in some fine 3* Michelin restaurants. After a 5 hour experience at this restaurant, we just can not imaging a better restaurant in the world. But does it matter? It was just a sensational experience to remember.

Celebrating a birthday with our two friends, we had reserved many months ago and then could only find a lunchtime sitting. In fact a November lunchtime was perfect as we arrived early under a blue sky before 1pm and left as the sun set at nearly 6pm. An evening meal starting at 9pm would have meant a very late evening indeed.

Being slightly early we were invited to sit either in the comfortable reception lounge, which we did, or the garden surrounded on one side by the lovely old stone house and on another by the restrained minimalist glass facade of the restaurant. Offered a glass of champagne set the right atmosphere for the rest of the meal, then we were invited to go into the kitchens before being shown to our table. There are between 35 to 40 chefs from around the world. We were a willing part of the performance that is El Cellar de Can Roca.

The restaurant interior is light and contemporary with full glazing both facing the outside but also the inner triangular garden. The tables are set well apart but with a gentle buzz from other dinners behind clever partial screening making it an intimate but expansive experience.

The service was exceptional both for the serving of the wine and food.

We chose the gourmet tasting menu. We lost count of the courses without ever feeling overfed. We also ordered the well chosen accompanying wine selections The food was exceptional which would take too long to describe apart from saying it was perfection personified with excitement, surprise and astonishment a part of the mix to complement the food's flavours, textures and presentation. The Spicy mandela of artichoke flower was like a miniature painting with its delicacy of presentation and it delivered on taste and texture when we had feasted our eyes and began to eat it. The food leans towards the sea rather than red meat. Without any prompting, the restaurant realised it was our friends birthday and surprised us all with a wonderful chocolate concoction at the end of the meal done with a mix of celebration and discretion.

Dining perfection.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank FoodieArch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bali, Indonesia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Artistic presentation , divine dessert”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2013

Such beautiful food presentation , a suprise awaits at every tasting course.
Wow with the green olives glazed with anchovy hanging off the bonsai plant.
Savoury and liquour mix presented like chocolate truffles.
The main prawn dish ordered has " sponge of plankton" and algae mouse to accompany it which we were teasing each other as it would be something not palatable for us.

The squid dish in broth which was the only warm dish served in the course, was to me the best tasted savoury dish for the night. And of course the chocolate dessert was just magical.

Overall experience was great with good prices, ambience and staff services was warm.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Sulubancliff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Some errors but all in all amazing!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

We went for a birthday celebration and it was one of the best tasting menus I have ever had.

There were a couple of faults. Firstly 4 out of a party of 5 were given an incomplete dish! A razor clam and seaweed dish came with out the sauce/soup. As it was at the bottom we only noticed when we had pretty much finished the dish. They sent us a new portion and gave us an extra course to make up for it. One of our waiters clearly took a dislike to us through the sitting. A young gentleman with fair hair never so much as raised a smile, never responded to a "thank you" and was guilty of practically slamming our plates on the table. For such a venue I find this unacceptable.

We elected for the "feast menu" with matching wines for the table. I believe we were given far to much wine. It was more than likely our fault for polishing off every glass offered to is but it left the whole table rather inebriated towards the end of the meal and as a result I struggled to savour and enjoy the last few desserts.

Apart from these issues I can assure you that the food was exceptional and the majority of the staff were professional and casual in the right blend. The stand out dishes for me were the brioche and truffle balls, a mushroom and egg dish and the first round of amuse bouche.

This was a great example of local cuisine and really clever cooking. It was a memorable meal and would rate it in the top 5 restaurants I have been to.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Foodbuff81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London/Worcs
Level Contributor
493 reviews
296 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 285 helpful votes
“Shoddy service which over-shadows the food”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

I have really struggled with the rating of this restaurant – and have concluded whilst the food is worthy of a 4 the service is, at best, only worthy of a 3.
Our dinner reservation for four guests had been made one year in advance. On arrival we were taken straight through to our table. After browsing the menu we opted for the Feast Menu with the matching wine option and at the same time we ordered sparkling mineral water. The waitress asked if we would prefer San Pellegrino or a local Vichy water. We opted for San Pellegrino. She returned with two bottles of water, started to pour though with such lack of finesse water sloshed over the glasses onto the table cloth (this also happened when the water glasses were replenished throughout the evening). To my surprise, when I started to drink the water was in fact still water and not sparkling. This was immediately corrected but in my opinion should not have been permitted to happen. Imagine if this had been a food item presented to a guest with an allergy. Could have had an all too different outcome.

Our first course arrived, beautifully presented. The waitress simply pushed our napkins to one side rather than placing onto our laps. I was more than taken aback by this action given that even in non Michelin star restaurants it is common practice to place the napkin onto a diners lap. Likewise, when we left our napkins on the table when visiting the restrooms the napkins were not refolded. To my mind: shoddy, lazy and no attention to detail.

The pace of the courses was good. The delivery of the dishes however was mechanical, stiff and robotic. We got the distinct impression early on that the staff were disinterested and performed their function as though on a conveyor belt. There was no engagement and we were half way through our ‘feast’ before we managed to extract a smile. To my mind it is so often the staff who actually enhance a dining experience and many a time I do comment on this in my reviews. Certainly not in this restaurant do the staff do anything to enhance the experience.

The portions which were beautifully presented were tiny. The pigeon breast was just a mere sliver of meat (I took photos of every course – happy to pm) so I am sure in the UK this would fall foul of the trade descriptions act. The wine, whilst well matched, was poured in miniscule portions which was insultingly meagre given we were paying EUR 90 each for this. At best, each matched portion together would have equated less than a standard 175 ml glass.

During the evening I visited the ladies toilet – of which there only appeared to be one (would question whether this is sufficient given the number of covers the restaurant are now catering for). Used hand towels had been discarded over the floor and no cleaning / tidying of the facility took place all evening. I always ask myself: if the toilets are in such a state, what is the kitchen like? I was told the gents were in the same state.

As the evening progressed the already disinterested staff were become even more so. At one stage whilst still eating we had more than one dozen used wine glasses cluttering the table. The side plates were left on the table throughout (even though no more bread was being offered). The crumbs from the bread also remained on the table cloth for the duration. This I have never experienced in a Michelin star restaurant or indeed in any high quality dining establishment.

As tea and coffees were not offered we had to request these. Again, I was taken aback to have my peppermint tea in a teapot containing a teabag – made worse by the fact that it had been made with tepid, rather than boiling, water. A friend asked for black tea and received white tea – again lack of attention to what is actually being ordered. We had to ask for the petit fours as these had been forgotten. They were probably the most disappointing selection I have eaten in a long time. After these had been placed on the table the waiter then began to tidy away the petit four trolley next to our table. We got the distinct impression that we were outstaying our welcome.

We decided to finish the evening with a glass of cava as we were waiting for our taxi (in fact we had to request a taxi three times). The four glasses of cava were served with bad grace as the drinks station closest to ourselves had already been cleared away. The content amount also varied dramatically in each glass.

On going to reception to settle our bill we were informed someone else had taken our taxi so we would need to wait until a further taxi could be ordered.

We took this time to explain the shortcomings of the evening the maître d’ – in particular the lax service. He explained the restaurant is now doing 70 covers instead of 50 so this may be part of the reason as to why the service is so poor.

My very strong recommendation would be for the restaurant owners to visit other Michelin star and non Michelin restaurants to see at first hand what a real dining experience should be about. The three I recommend for this are below. Once this has been undertaken: recruit more staff who actually want to work as waiting staff, train the staff and deliver a service that is wholly becoming to a three star restaurant.

The three star Pic restaurant in Valance (please see my review in May of this year) is in a totally different league to El Celler. Likewise having just recently eaten at the one star Hugo in Berlin and Sportsman in Whitstable (again, please see my reviews) I can only conclude El Celler has become complacent, happy to extract maximum money with minimal effort and does not care about delivering a unique dining experience to its guests.

I wonder for how long it will retain its current status. I for sure will not be returning.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
8 Thank TraLonW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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