Star territory
© Silvia González Poncelas

Spanish cuisine keeps going strong. Restaurants throughout Spain now boast a grand total of 214 Michelin stars so almost anywhere you go here you can enjoy the very best food.

The way people choose their holiday destinations and dates has changed. The fact is that Spanish gastronomic culture’s very high level has turned our country into an ideal place to indulge in one of the world best cuisines. Indeed, thanks to Spain’s exceptional gourmet standing (with the world’s fifth largest number of Michelin stars), in almost any corner of the country you’ll find a nearby restaurant proudly bearing the world’s highest culinary distinction. 

There are 214 Michelin stars distributed across Spain in 174 restaurants holding this coveted mark of a “good table” awarded by the prestigious Michelin guide. Twenty-nine restaurants here have two stars, and another eleven have been granted the highest distinction of all, the celebrated three Michelin stars. What’s more, these figures are constantly on the rise, making our country an indispensable place to enjoy the best dishes prepared by the foremost chefs.

Three-star establishments
The many holiday attractions of Spain are splendidly complemented by the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable menu at any one of the country’s 3-star restaurants, such as  Juan Mari Arzak's establishment in San Sebastián. Actually, it’s more than just a restaurant: it’s a legend. Arzak won his first star in 1972 and his became the second Spanish 3-star restaurant in 1989. It is still run today by Juan Mari himself, representing the third generation of the Arzak family devoted to the world of gastronomy, and by his daughter Elena, who is a passionate chef like her dad.

If seafood of any type is what you fancy, Ángel León’s Aponiente restaurant in Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz Prov.) is the ideal place to go. Ángel’s cuisine features splendid seafood products prepared in uniquely tasty ways for the enjoyment of those fortunate enough to eat here. Quique Dacosta, for his part, is the celebrated chef of the three-star restaurant bearing his name. In this new season, his culinary style is opening up more to imagination and fantasy, without sacrificing the superb quality of the local products of Denia (Alicante Prov.) that go into his dishes. Mention should also be made of the world-famous restaurant led by the Roca brothers: El Celler de Can Roca. Located in warm fascinating premises in Girona, this establishment has received countless culinary distinctions. Since 2009, Joan, Josep and Jordi have held three Michelin stars and they have stood on the podium of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’, for ten years –a well-deserved acknowledgement.

Enjoy an all-around experience
Another very interesting possibility for travellers is to combine exclusive lodging with a truly magnificent lunch or dinner. This is a fusion that is now offered by prestigious hoteliers and chefs around the country to please the most demanding customers. Barcelona, for example, has restaurants of two world-famous chefs, Martín Berasategui and Jordi Cruz, and the latter runs the Michelin 3-star restaurant ABaC, located in the hotel of the same name, where he offers a delectable cuisine prepared by state-of-art techniques.

Gourmet islands
Spain is fortunate indeed to have the crystal-clear waters and spectacular landscapes of the Balearic Islands. Not surprisingly, in Mallorca, the capital of the Balearics, there are three places where you can lodge in high style and enjoy a menu fit for a king. The restaurant Zaranda run by master chef Fernando P. Arellano is located in a unique setting: the Castell Son Claret, a castle dating back to 1450 which stands in the interior of the island. Zaranda, the Balearics’ only Michelin 2-star restaurant, features enticing traditional Mallorcan cuisine. Overlooking the sea, we find Miguel Navarro’s restaurant Es Fum which boasts one Michelin star. Located at St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, it is a place where you can admire a spectacular sunset while enjoying a menu of delectable dishes such as truffles or lobster. Another establishment distinguished by the prestigious Michelin guide is the restaurant Andreu Genestra, run by the chef of the same name. This is a gastronomic space that explores the culinary culture of Mallorca, with wonderfully flavourful dishes. The island of Ibiza is also a gourmet location. In 2019 Martín Berasategui has opened his first restaurant on the island: Etxeko Ibiza at the Bless Hotel. This celebrated chef already holds 12 Michelin stars so it will not be surprising if Etxeko raises the total to 13.

A northern star
Pedro Subijana is the chef at the Michelin 3-star restaurant Akelarre in Northern Spain’s San Sebastián. Located in the hotel of the same name on beautiful Mount Igeldo, here you can enjoy some breathtaking views of the Gulf of Biscay while savouring one of the country’s best menus. At Ezcaray (La Rioja Prov.), the restaurant El Portal de Echaurren –located in the family-run gourmet hotel Echaurren– has boasted two Michelin stars since 2013 under the culinary direction of chef Francis Paniego. This is the perfect place to indulge in succulent dishes at an establishment with over 100 years of history.

Gourmet pleasure in central Madrid 
Chef Dabid Muñoz has become a celebrated figure at his restaurant DiverXO in the hotel NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding. Indeed, his spectacular dishes that resemble paintings invite diners to discover all-new ways of enjoying a gastronomic experience. Master chef Ramon Freixa surprises guests at the restaurant Único in the hotel of the same name with a series of culinary compositions that have earned him two Michelin stars, combining avant-garde cuisine with tradition.

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