It all began with a minigolf installation...
...which later became a beach bar.
The first restaurant.
An ever-increasing choice.
The Neichel era.
The arrival of Juli Soler.
Some menus of the time.
Anecdotes of the time.
The various stages of elBulli and those running it.

Anecdotes of the time. The story of the restaurant might be written in terms of its gourmet output, but also through a series of anecdotes. In the early years of elBulli, guests would sometimes arrive by boat. One of the most frequent customers was Captain Moore, then Salvador Dalí’s agent. Moore would come into the bay in his enormous yacht, accompanied by his friends and half a dozen spectacularly beautiful women. At any time of day, with the help of a megaphone, they would shout out from the deck how many people were coming to eat. The kitchen would start preparing food, fully aware that the guests would be disembarking in dribs and drabs by means of a dinghy. It would not be until two hours later that everybody would be sitting at the table. There was also no telephone in Cala Montjoi, and when Dr Schilling, who used to spend several months in Germany, wanted to talk to the restaurant, he was forced to send a telegram to the chef, telling him to be in the reception area of the Hotel Moderno in Roses two days later at a certain time. When that time came, the chef would go seven kilometres down the road and wait in the reception area for the Doctor’s call. It was not until 1977 that the telephone line was installed, and it cost a small fortune: seven kilometres of cable for just one subscriber. When the workmen had finished, Jean-Louis Neichel and the gardener, José Lozano, dug a trench some one hundred metres uphill to bury the line, up to the house where Marketta was living, so that she would not be cut off. It so happened, however, that whenever the telephone rang, one could not tell whether it was for the restaurant or for Marketta; so, a few days later, Neichel and José dug another trench, alongside the first one, to take a cable connected to a bell. If the call was for Marketta, the bell was rung from the restaurant to let Mrs Schilling know that she was to pick up the phone. José lent his hand to various tasks during all the phases of the restaurant. At the beginning of the 1970s he took it upon himself to dismantle what was left of the minigolf installation, and he was the one who, armed with a home-made gadget (a bamboo cane open at one end with a stone) used to go looking for sea urchins among the rocks near Cala Montjoi; it is no accident that elBulli was one of the first haute cuisine restaurants in Spain to serve this delicious seafood product. Here is another story connected with seafood. At that time, a good many lobsters were caught off Cape Creus, and sometimes their prices would go down considerably. When this happened, the restaurant van would be sent down to the wholesale fish markets in Roses or Port de la Selva to load up with dozens of kilos of lobsters. But elBulli had no lobster tank to keep them fresh, and so a concrete sink was reconditioned and sea water pumped into it to keep the lobsters alive. When one was needed for a dish, it was fished straight out of this improvised tank.
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