els Brancs is the gastronomic restaurant of the Hotel Vistabella. It constitutes a true vantage point that gives you excellent views of the Bay of Roses and that takes its name from a group of fringing reefs located in front of the restaurant. El Brancs has been conceived as a scene where the two most priced treasures of Costa Brava meet: landscape and cuisine.
The first is essential to persuade the dinner guest, to stimulate their senses. The restaurant is placed in an impressive terrace that is on a small cliff above the cove of caleta Bonifaci, and it is oriented to West, quite an attraction if we consider that the restaurant only opens in the evening, when the sun sets and prints a kaleidoscope of colour on the horizon just in that direction. This privileged location grants the possibility of admiring the best sunsets of the country –as the Catalan writer Josep Pla once said– while perfectly pairs the Mediterranean environment with its gastronomy.
Our region expresses the values not only of a genuine landscape but also of products and gastronomic quality. At Els Brancs we have invested a lot of time in searching the best local products and trying them out, making a careful selection that transmits the particular flavours of our country through our cuisine. Once this local basis has been set, we have incorporated exotic products from foreign markets in order to bring contrasts to our recipes and to help us to further search powerful flavours. Each finished creation is a small piece of art with an outstanding presentation and where there converge a fusion of flavours that will get you to a pleasant eclectic experience. We are sure that these moments will remain in your fondest memories.
Els Brancs the cuisine of the eclectic experiences
(1963 - 1984)
Since the opening of the hotel in 1963 by the couple Heinz and Meta Maria Veitl, this already had its main restaurant, the Restaurant Vistabella, which offered traditional local dishes and others from the French cuisine. Two years after the opening a young man of only sixteen years old from Jaén, Juan Cardosa, came to work as a kitchen aid. He rapidly understood the dynamics in the kitchen and a couple of years later he became the chef.
The influences of the innovative cuisine of El Bulli restaurant, close to here and which in 1976 had already won its first Michelin star, were slowly arriving to caleta Bonifaci since lots of the dinner guests of the mythic restaurant stayed in the Vistabella. Thus the son of the owners, Peter Veitl, who had recently arrived from Germany with his wife Scarlette Veitl, considered that gastronomy should be a strong point of the service offered to the clients and in 1984 they inaugurated El Gourmet, the foundations of the current gastronomic project.
El Gourmet changed the direction of the gastronomic philosophy, the restaurant clearly bet on moving from continental food recipes to a strictly speaking French nouvelle cuisine. In 1987 Juan Cardosa, who three years ago went to the one Michelin-star restaurant La Llar, at the entrance of Roses, to learn new techniques and skills, reinstated to the project to be in control of the restaurant again.
One evening per week during the summer season the restaurant held outdoor barbecues that were such a hit and attracted lot of people from outside the hotel. In the terrace of the Vistabella there was a great variety of food: cold and hot buffets with lots of types of salads, shellfish, fish, meat and desserts specially prepared for the occasion. They constituted authentic celebrations with live music, folk dances and fireworks at the end of the night.
THE BEGINNINGS OF ELS BRANCS
At the end of the 20th century the hotel is being completely upgraded to the five-star category. The remodelling is exhaustive and also affects the restaurant, where the owners wish to create an even more avant-garde cuisine. Indeed, the couple Veitl incorporate in 1999 the Belgian chef Cédric Vernaillen to work hand in hand with Juan Cardosa, and Manel Núñez, the new restaurant manager. Cédric adds to the well-known barbecues exotic touches from his international background; furthermore he creates the Candle Light, a degustation menu that is served every Saturday night under the light of candles and that little by little will become the origin of the degustation menus of Els Brancs.
Cédric and Manel quickly established their modern vision into the kitchen of the restaurant and the new business orientation got consolidated in 2001 with the birth of Els Brancs, the heir of El Gourmet. Gradually the Veitl family wants to enter a new period of high-quality restaurant activity by diminishing the prominence of the French cuisine and spending much longer searching a cuisine of identity based on the state-of-the art cooking techniques. Not much later, the sons of the owners, Marlon and René Veitl, join the project adding to it new ideas.
It can be said that in 2005 Els Brancs has made the cuisine of vanguard its own, which has built on three pillars: a product of quality, the constant search of flavours and the original food presentations. All this effort crystallises in 2007 with the nomination for the Michelin star, with Cédric Vernaillen at the front.
ELS BRANCS NOWADAYS
In 2009 Cédric decided to return to Belgium and this is when the young chef Javier Cabrera arrived from Granada and assumed the kitchen leadership. It only took four years to the group led by Marlon, René, Manel and Javier to shook Els Brancs up; the use of high-quality products, the impressive elaborations, the groundbreaking presentations and the attentive and professional service brought to the restaurant its first Michelin star in 2012, which has maintained until nowadays. This gave a great boost and in 2013 Els Brancs received the Sirena award, which highlights the promotion of the Alt Empordà region abroad, followed by the first Sol in 2014, awarded by the prestigious Repsol Guide.
A gastronomic project based on a creative cuisine that employs high-quality products can only be understood under the wing of a hotel as the Vistabella and the constancy of family of hoteliers that have supported the ideas that have been developed in the kitchen. Els Brancs is currently immersed in a period of great creativity, where Javier has searched for new flavours in greater depth, and it has been charted the way forward to continue offering the best experiences to the dinner guests.
The current gastronomic offer has been designed in order to satisfy all guest demands. We have a long degustation menu of about 22 dishes, the Experiences menu, and a more reduced degustation menu of about 15 dishes, the Brancs menu, as well as à la carte choice. There is also an extensive selection of wines of 300 references carefully chosen and that are advised by the sommelier Eric Borràs.