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El Celler de Can Roca is a restau­rant i n Girona, Cat­alo­nia, Spain which was opened in 1986 by the Roca broth­ers, Joan, Josep and Jordi. The cui­sine they serve is tra­di­tional Cata­lan, but with twists to the ex­tent that the Miche­lin Guide de­scribes it as "cre­ative" and The Times said it was a "fu­sion of tra­di­tional dishes with sur­re­al­ist touches". The restau­rant pri­mar­ily uses lo­cal in­gre­di­ents from the Cata­lan area us­ing sim­ple fla­vor com­bi­na­tions com­bined with molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy tech­niques and un­usual pre­sen­ta­tions of food, in­clud­ing caramelized olives which are pre­sented on a bon­sai tree.

The restau­rant was awarded its first Miche­lin star in 1995, it’s sec­ond in 2002 and was awarded three star sta­tus in 2009. This year ‘Cu­rios­ity’ and ‘Cre­ativ­ity’ pro­pelled the El Celler de Can Roca Roca to the top and the rea­son why this 55-seat con­tem­po­rary Cata­lan restau­rant is now on top of the world is the trio’s equal bril­liance in en­sur­ing that they never stop feed­ing their knowl­edge and imag­i­na­tions through un­usual ini­tia­tives. Less pub­licly, they are also at the fore­front of a ‘gas­tro-botan­i­cal’ re­search pro­ject called Terra An­i­mada that is cat­a­logu­ing rare wild species with the aim of rein­tro­duc­ing them into our food sys­tems.

None of the above ex­am­ples would mat­ter, of course, if they didn’t feed back into the evo­lu­tion and pro­gres­sion of the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at El Celler de Can Roca. A meal in the tran­quil glass-walled din­ing space is at once com­fort­ing and yet gas­tro­nom­i­cally chal­leng­ing, the food si­mul­ta­ne­ously ar­ti­sanal and tech­ni­cal, with ref­er­ences to both the tra­di­tional and the avant-garde. Cru­cially, this is a restau­rant that has never for­got­ten its hum­ble roots, its sense of fa­mil­ial warmth, or the need to serve re­mark­ably de­li­cious dishes and out­stand­ing wine.

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