The 25 best gastrobars - Tourism in Spain

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The 25 best gastrobars - Tourism in Spain

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The 25 best restaurants and

the 25 best gastrobars in Spain

In association with

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The 25 Best Restaurants in Spain

Here is a selection of the 5 best

Spanish restaurants, compiled by

Rafael Ansón, a great culinary

expert (page 4).

Of the 25 restaurants, 8 are in the

Basque Country, 6 in Catalonia, 3 in Madrid,

2 in Castile-La Mancha, 2 in Asturias,

2 in Andalusia, 1 in the Valencia region,

and 1 in Extremadura.

Others establishments have received

high ratings in some of the guides. In

Catalonia: the Hispania, Lasarte and Vía

Veneto. Madrid: Horcher, La Terraza del

Casino and Zalacaín. Basque Country:

Guggenheim. Navarra: Rodero. Balearic

Islands: Tristán. Canary Islands: M. B. de

Martín Berasategui. In most of these cases

the owner is also the head chef.

Some top restaurants, grouped by

Autonomous Communities, do not figure

among the best 25. In Aragón: La Venta

del Soto and Taberna de Lillas Pastia.

Cantabria: El Cenador de Amós. Castile

& León: Estrella del Bajo Carrión, Vivaldi

and Ramiro’s. Galicia: Casa Marcelo and

Solla. La Rioja: El Portal de Echaurre.

Murcia: La Cabaña. Navarra: Rodero and

Maher. Balearic Islands: Tristán and Es

Molí d’en Bou. Canary Islands: M.B and

El Duende.

In the selection of the 50 Best Restaurants

in the World there are five from Spain:

El Bulli, Can Roca, Mugaritz, Arzak and Martín

Berasategui. And between places 50 and

100 are Etxebarri, Pedro Subijana, Carme

Ruscalleda-Sant Pau, Quique Dacosta and

Can Fabes.


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Haute cuisine

AkelArre

There are several reasons to justify a

trip to this restaurant, founded by Pedro

Subijana in 1970. One is its location,

atop Monte Igueldo, with magnificent views

over San Sebastián and the Bay of Biscay

from its lovely panoramic dining room,

modern and elegant. Another is the love of

cooking that Pedro brings to his creations,

which are full of innovation and personality,

dishes based on excellent raw materials and

executed without any stridency. Another

reason is the perfect functioning of a dining

room team headed by Perfe Prol, Pedro’s

wife. Their excellent garden and the fine

wines are another source of pride.

Paseo Padre Orcolaga, 56.

San Sebastián

www.akelarre.net✍

ArzAk

Eating at this restaurant is one of

best culinary experiences possible.

To speak of Juan Mari is to speak of the

dean of Spanish haute cuisine, a master

of masters. Since his beginnings in 1966,

Juan Mari has produced exceptional and

authentic Basque dishes, with a clear idea:

to adapt tradition to new times. This temple

of gastronomy, with modern and elegant

decor and excellent lighting, has an assured

future: Elena Arzak has shown herself to be


as professional as her father, Juan Mari.

Avda. Alcalde José Elosegui, 7 .

San Sebastián

www.arzak.es✍

Atrio

Created by Toño Pérez and José A.

Polo and elegantly and soberly decorated

with classic works of art, this

restaurant has an intimate, welcoming

ambience. There are linen tablecloths,

Riedel crystal, fine silverware and porcelain

and excellent service organised by José. In

addition, it has one of the finest restaurant

wine cellars, which has won important

awards. Toño, also a prize winner, is one of

the great chefs. His continual quest to learn

has allowed him to wed the best of haute

cuisine with typical Spanish cooking: he has

Spain’s star chefs are among the best in

the world

The S. Pellegrino List of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

is increasingly prestigious (www.theworlds50best.com).

Among the top 10 in the 010 edition are El Bulli in Roses

(chef Ferran Adrià), down one spot from its previous four

straight years as número uno (he was declared Best Chef

of the Decade 000- 010); Mugaritz in Rentería (Andoni

Luis Aduriz), El Celler de Can Roca de Girona (Joan Roca)

and Arzak in San Sebastián (Juan Mari and Elena Arzak).

No other country comes even close to Spain. And then

there’s Martín Berasategui, in Lasarte (Guipúzcoa), in a

magnificent thirty-third position.

But there are many other chefs, some of whom occupy

leading positions, such as Bittor Arginzoniz at the

Asador Etxebarri, in Axpe (Vizcaya); Carme Ruscalleda, of

Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar (Barcelona); Pedro Subijana, at

San Sebastian’s Akelarre restaurant; Santi Santamaría from

Can Fabes in Sant Celoni (Barcelona); Quique Dacosta,

at El Poblet in Denia (Alicante). And others: Sergi Arola,

Paco Roncero, David Muñoz, Dani García, Fermí Puig,

Carles Abellán...

In addition, there are chefs throughout Spain who are

long on experience and skills, and while they haven’t yet

received international stardom they merit the highest

recognition. This would be the case in Madrid with Paco

Roncero, Sacha Hormaechea, Ramon Freixa or Abraham

García; in Galicia, Pepe Solla or Marcelo; in Asturias, Pedro

and Marcos Morán, Miguel and Isaac Loya, and Nacho

Manzano; Castile-La Mancha, Manuel de la Osa or the

Rodríguez Rey brothers; Francis Paniego in the Rioja;

Koldo Rodero or Enrique Martínez in Navarra; Raúl

Aleixandre at Ca Sento in Valencia, and Dani García, the

best in Andalusia.

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Haute cuisine

kept alive the typical dishes of western

Spain by skilfully transforming them. He

will soon move this culinary temple to the

old part of town.

Avda. de España, . Cáceres

www.restauranteatrio.com✍

CAlimA

Dani Garcia began at the Cónsula de

Málaga hostelry school, continued in

the kitchen of Martín Berasategui and

has now created Calima. Based on the

traditional flavours of Andalusia, the cuisine

is full of contrasts, and employs advanced

techniques such as the use of liquid nitrogen

in several of its dishes. The lovely modern

dining room is warm and elegant, with

views of Dani’s kitchen, which can also be

observed from the terrace, with its spec-

tacular vista of the sea and the blue sky. The

service is attentive to the smallest detail. In

addition to the ample wine list there is a

large cheese wagon, sweets and teas, and a

range of breads and virgin olive oils.

Hotel Gran Melia Don Pepe. Avda.

José Meliá, s/n. Marbella (Málaga)

www.restaurantecalima.com✍

CAn fAbes

Santi Santamaría is a real gastronomic

institution in Catalonia and the rest

of Spain: one of the biggest of the big

chefs, and a versatile creator. For more

than 30 years he has been demonstrating

his skill at Can Fabes. This is haute cuisine

based on Catalan traditions and products

from the fields and the sea: recipes

have been updated to bring out the most


authentic flavours and textures. One of

the pillars of the operation is Santi’s wife,

Ángels, who efficiently runs the modern

dining room. Rounding out the top-flight

professional team are Cándido Tardío and

Juan Carlos Ibáñez.

C/ Sant Joan, 6. Sant Celoni (Barcelona)

www.canfabes.com✍

CArme rusCAlledA – sAnt pAu

Since 1988 the Carmen Ruscalleda-

Sant Pau restaurant has occupied a

19th-century building with a garden

and views of the Mediterranean. Over

the years the team of Carme Ruscalleda

and Toni Balam has worked hard to produce

culinary results that have placed this

establishment at the very top. Carme never

went to a professional cooking school: her

knowledge comes from personal experience

with the products of the Maresme

region, which are the basis of her cuisine.

Her two dining rooms, which are run by

Toni, are the incarnation of elegance and

good taste. In her efforts to demonstrate

her qualities and knowledge, Carme has

written several books on food.

C/ Nou, 10. Sant Pol de Mar (Barcelona)

www.ruscalleda.cat✍

CAsA GerArdo

When it opened in 188 , this was a

humble restaurant and stagecoach

stop. At the end of the 1970s, Pedro

Morán took over, and his kitchen was soon

a sanctum sanctorum of traditional Asturian

cooking, starring the fabada (bean stew)

and the rice pudding. Marcos, representing

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Haute cuisine

the latest generation, is developing things

further with creative versions of this northern

Spanish cuisine, although he’s in no

hurry. The basis is still the quality products

from the land and the sea. The very pleasant

classic yet modern dining room with good

service, as well as a large wine list, make this

is a must when visiting Asturias.

Ctra. AS-19, km 8. Prendes (Asturias)

www.casa-gerardo.com✍

CAsA mArCiAl

Located in a farmhouse in a rural

setting in the Sierra del Sueve area

close to the Fito observation point,

Casa Marcial has become Nacho

Manzano’s gastronomic temple. He

was a star pupil of Víctor Bango (Casa

Víctor – Gijón) and is the leader of

haute cuisine in the Asturias region, with

a special sensibility for local products

and flavours: the broad beans, the pitu

de Caleya (free-range chicken stew), the

tortos (a cornflower, meat and egg dish)...

There is a pleasant, comfortable dining

room with stone walls and a beamed

ceiling, a rustic setting that contrasts with

the elegance of the linen, silverware and

crockery. The careful service and excellent

wine list are overseen, respectively,

by his friendly, highly professional sisters,

Olga and Sandra.

C/ La Salgar, 10. Arriondas (Asturias)

www.casamarcial.com✍

diverxo

This restaurant run by David Muñoz

raised great expectation in Madrid


and soon became an obligatory

stop for food lovers. His blending of

aromas and flavours, as well as his use of

the most varied products, demonstrate

the high degree of creativity of the different

menus. Another important factor

is the charm and professional approach

of Ángela Montero in the dining room.

This is a large, attractive room with a

glass wine storage container overseen by

Javier Arroyo. The efforts of David and his

team earned him Spain’s 2009 National

Gastronomy Prize.

C/ Pensamiento, 8. Madrid

www.diverxo.com✍

drolmA

Top marks for this establishment:

the cooking by Fermín Puig, the

The important culinary events

Spain currently has

more top-level gastronomic

events than any

other country. They attract

the celebrity chefs

who, along with other

Spanish masters, are

among the best cooks in

the world.

Buoyed up by the

international success of

Spanish cuisine, these

congresses are springing

up all over the country.

Between the last months

of 009 and the first

ones of 010, many such

events have been held with different aims, although with

one thing in common: good eating.

Some of the key events, starting in September 009:

Andalucía Sabor (Seville), Congreso de Gastronomía de

Castilla-La Mancha (Albacete), Club Millésime (Madrid),

Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía (Alicante), San Sebastián

Gastronomika (San Sebastián), Madrid Fusión (Madrid),

Fórum Santiago (Santiago de Compostela), Alimentaria and

Barcelona Vanguardia (Barcelona), Salón Internacional del

Club de Gourmets (Madrid) and España Original (Ciudad

Real), the latter gathering held in early May of this year.

Some of them have probably been left out of this long

list, but there is one that must be included —though its

aims are quite different— in part because it is very important

for the Royal Spanish Academy of Gastronomy, which

helps organise the event along with the Secretary of State

for Tourism, headed

by Joan Mesquida:

the I European Congress

of Tourism and

Gastronomy, which

was held in Madrid

from to 5 May,

and which attracted

some of the important

international

experts.

So Spanish haute

cuisine will continue

to be popular in

010.

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Haute cuisine

wine cellar run by Josep Puigcorbé

and the dining room headed

by Alfred Romagosa. More than 10

years ago the Soldevilla-Casals family

made a commitment to creating a

luxur y restaurant inside a hotel, in

spite of the risk of such an operation,

but it’s been a complete success.

Drolma is now a culinary point of reference

in Barcelona. Fermin’s neoclassic

haute cuisine, without any modern

extravagance, has been defined by the

experts as cultivated cooking based

on seasonal products (white truffles,

game...) that are prepared with knowledge

and care.

Hotel Majestic. Paseo de Gracia, 70.

Barcelona

www.drolmarestaurant.com✍

el bohío

Located halfway between Madrid and

Toledo, this family business founded

in 19 0 is today run by the third

generation: José and Diego Rodríguez

Rey. They’ve made it into a Mecca for

food lovers. José’s cooking is a blend of

the traditional and the modern, based on

local products and flavours. This technical,

auteur approach has captured the essence

of Castilian cooking. The small classic dining

room is directed very professionally by Diego.

His wine list includes

more than 600 offerings

from all over the world,

among them local offerings,

thus making it one of

the finest restaurant wine

cellars in Spain.


Avda. Castilla-La Mancha, 81.

Illescas (Toledo)

www.elbohio.net✍

el bulli

El Bulli is the sanctum sanctorum of

creative cuisine, run by chef Ferran

Adrià, who has received world

recognition. This cooking has been

described as “the fruit of imagination,

creativity and wisdom.” Add to this the

natural setting at Cala Montjoy, the atmosphere

in the dining rooms attentively run

by Juli Soler, and the teamwork between

them and the kitchen, and the result is

that El Bulli a unique gastronomic temple

that all food lovers should be familiar

with. It is more than a restaurant, and

from its beginnings in 1981 with Marketta

Schilling until today, it has never ceased

to surprise.

Cala Montjoy,s/n. Roses (Girona)

www.elbulli.com✍

el Celler de CAn roCA

The Roca brothers have become

a culinary point of reference both

inside and outside Spain. Glass, wood

and views of a lovely garden lend a modern,

luminous, elegant touch to the triangular

dining room that harmonises with

the old Catalan farmhouse. This is the

setting for enjoying Joan’s cooking and

Jordi’s pastry, which together have been

defined as a cuisine of sensations, both

salty and sweet. Before sitting down at

table, make a visit to the wine cellar, a

real monument for both its design and

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Haute cuisine

the variety of bottles. Josep is in charge

of the drink and the smooth functioning

of the dining room.

C/ Can Sunyer, 48 Girona

www.elcellerdecanroca.com✍

etxAnobe

Opened in 1999 in a beautiful location,

the Euskalduna Palace, this

establishment has a luminous, spacious,

modern dining room, while its

terrace offers fine views of Bilbao.

The versatile Fernando Canales is a television

personality, a culinary advisor and,

of course, a chef. Seconded by Mikel

Población, his haute cuisine is based on

the best products and traditions. The attentive

professional dining room service

is overseen by María Ángeles Elizondo,

while Zigor Gutiérrez is responsible for

the always current wine list.

Avda. Abandoibarra, 4.

(Palacio Euskalduna). Bilbao

www.etxanobe.com✍

etxebArri

Víctor Arginzoniz is the driving force

behind this establishment set in the

middle of the Valle de Axtondo, in the

Basque Country. It occupies a fine stone

farmhouse, with a bar and kitchen on the

lower floor and the dining room one flight

up. Víctor has invented different grills and

utensils for handling the excellent products

(oysters, baby eels, chops...), and uses different

kinds of wood for fuel.

Plaza San Juan, 1. Atxondo (Vizcaya)

www.asadoretxebarri.com✍


GAiG

Carles Gaig traces his culinary roots

back to the Horta neighbourhood

in Barcelona, where the Gaig family

had earned fame and prestige from

their restaurant as early as the 19th

century. That explains his love of the

trade. In 2004, he moved things to a

two-storey locale on the city’s Eixample

thoroughfare. The dining room, on the

upper level, is elegant, classic, modern

and comfortable.

C/ Aragó, 14. Barcelona

www.restaurantgaig.com✍

lA AlqueríA

A marvellous 10th-century farmhouse

is the setting for the Hotel

Hacienda Benazuza and La

Traditional cuisine and creative cuisine

Cooking in Spain is

currently undergoing

a simplification, with a

give-and-take between

supporters of invention

(creative cuisine) and

those conservatives

who preserve tradition

(popular cooking).

The great success

of Spanish cuisine in

the early 1st century

comes from the fact that

its chefs have opted for

dishes made from basic

natural products of

great quality. But there’s

another reason: the attention to the country’s traditional

recipes. Precisely because the good things from the past

have been maintained and improved, today we have a wiser,

healthier and even more tasty cuisine.

Travellers in Spain can choose traditional or creative

cooking. The Paradores (www.parador.es) network promotes

local food in its more than 90 establishments all over

the country. It recently presented its bocados de España

(‘Spanish titbits’): tapas that are representative of the food

in the different regional autonomous communities.

The best way to find out about all this is through the

culinary guides, starting with the most prestigious one, the

Repsol Guide to Spain and Portugal (www.guiarepsol.com)

with a complete listing of the best traditional and creative

restaurants, material also covered in the Gourmetour Guide

(www.gourmets.net) and the El País Aguilar Guide (www.

elpaisaguilar.es). Together, they reveal the great sanctuaries

of good Spanish food.

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14

Haute cuisine

Alquería restaurant. A somewhat

rustic dining room has become one of

the prettiest and most elegant in the

province of Seville. The cuisine bears

the stamp of the eminent Ferrán

Adriá, and has been executed by one

of his faithful disciples, Rafael Zafra.

Mediterranean haute cuisine with

clear Andalusian touches, colourful

presentation and excellent results, in

a set menu served only in the evening.

The excellent wine cellar, flawless

ser vice and magnificent breakfasts

are among the other attractions of

this hotel.

Hotel Hacienda Benazuza.

C/ Virgen de las Nieves, s/n.

Sanlúcar la Mayor (Sevilla)

www.elbullihotel.com✍

lAs rejAs

Any food fans passing through this

town in La Mancha, considered the

world garlic capital, shouldn’t miss Las

Rejas restaurant. One comfortable dining

room has a magnificent fireplace, while

there is another less formal one, modern

and minimalist. Chef Manuel de la Osa is the

greatest exponent of vanguard Castilian-

Manchego fare based on traditional recipes

and local ingredients, with some highly

satisfying results. The partridge, garlic and

saffron are never

far from his surprising

creations. There

are excellent wines

from the cellar of

Victoriano to match

the service.


C/ General Borrero, 49.

Las Pedroñeras (Cuenca)

www.lasrejas.net✍

mArtín berAsAteGui

Martín Berasategui has extended his

culinary wisdom from his restaurant

in Lasarte to several establishments

that he directs or advises in the rest

of Spain. He is among the biggest of the

big. His work has been defined as studio

cooking: research and technique that have

made for highly creative results. He’s been

attracting attention since his beginnings at

the Bodegón Alejandro in the old part of

San Sebastián. As he himself puts it, the aim

should be for the customer to feel right

at home, a real achievement thanks to his

constant work.

C/ Loidi, 4. Lasarte (Guipúzcoa)

www.martinberasategui.com✍

muGAritz

Andoni Luis Aduriz has trained with

the great chefs and now joined them

with his restaurant, a reference point

inside and outside of Spain. It is located

in a lovely Basque farmhouse surrounded

by nature —including the herb

garden— and decorated with modern

touches. There is also an attractive terrace

for summer dining. His stated aim: to bring

out the flavours of the natural products

in a cuisine based on pure flavours. He

thus calls his restaurant “a place to feel,

not to eat.”

Aldura Aldea, 0. Rentería (Guipúzcoa)

www.mugaritz.com✍

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Haute cuisine

quique dACostA

The former Poblet de Dénia restaurant

has adopted the name of

its current owner and head chef,

Quique Dacosta, who has made it

into the top representative of haute

cuisine in the Valencia autonomous

community. This vanguard cooking has its

roots in the land. He is dedicated to adopting

new techniques, to doing research

and to local products: rice, the red shrimp

of Dénia, and the orchards and flora of

south-east Spain. The modern building is

comfortable, surrounded by nature and

close to the beach. There is an excellent

dining room staff that makes a visit a real

pleasure.

Ctra. Las Marinas, km .5. Dénia (Alicante)

www.elpoblet.com✍

sAntCeloni

This is the ‘Madrid branch’ of the gastronomic

temple of award-winning

Santi Santamaría (Can Fabes - Sant

Celoni - Barcelona), and is directed by

a highly qualified team that has in turn won

its own prizes: Oscar Velasco in the kitchen,

Abel Valverde in the dining room, and David

Robledo in charge of the wines. The elegant

minimalist design by Pascua Ortega is enhanced

by the ample space between the

tables, a real luxury nowadays, which lends

intimacy. The modern, controlled cuisine

by Oscar —prepared with the advice of

Santi— always makes the best use of market-fresh

products.

Hotel Hesperia. Paseo de la Castellana,

57. Madrid

www.restaurantesantceloni.com✍


serGi ArolA GAstro

Sergi Arola’s years as a faithful disciple

of Ferran Adrià, along with his own

culinary technique, have won him

fame ever since he opened La Broche

in Madrid. Today his establishment is a

point of reference, with a modern design

in its two different levels. His wife, Sara Fort,

runs the dining rooms, backed up by a fine

team that includes the excellent sommelier,

Daniel Poveda. Sergi offers his specialities in

different set menus that vary each day.

C/ Zurbano, 1. Madrid

www.sergiarola.es✍

zortziko

The zortziko is a typical five-day

Basque dance by army recruits in

their village square. Since its establish-

The world’s first gastronomic I+D+I

programme: the Basque Culinary Center

The Royal Spanish Academy of Gastronomy is going to

work actively with the University of Mondragón and the

Ministry of Science and Innovation, headed by Cristina

Garmendia, to launch the Basque Culinary Center, which

in 011 will become the first university Faculty of Gastronomic

Sciences in Spain and the second in Europe. The

project has received the support of eminent Basque chefs

including Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui, Pedro

Subijana, Karlos Arguiñano, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Hilario

Arbelaitz and Eneko Atxa— along with that of important

local and regional institutions in the Basque Country and

associations such as Euro-toques.

The Basque Culinary Center (www.mondragon.

edu/bcc) will become the world’s first institution for

gastronomic I+D+I (Investigation + Development +

Innovation). It will satisfy the need in Spain for an official

university-level culinary training programme, one that will

provide the market with qualified and highly competent

professionals, as is the case in other areas of knowledge.

The future Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences of the

University of Mondragón, based in San Sebastián, will

award the Diploma of Culinary Arts, a degree adapted to

the European Higher Education Area, and will have four

main areas of knowledge: Techniques of Kitchen-Dining

Room-Sommelier, Business Management, Science and

Technology, and Culture and Art. In addition, it will offer

post-graduate courses for both culinary professionals

and people from other fields who want to specialise

in the gastronomic area. There will also be a dynamic

I+D+I centre that will become an international point

of reference.

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Haute cuisine

ment in 1989, the García family has wanted

guests to enjoy their culinary experience

from start to finish. This house has thus

become one of the best and most emblematic

restaurants in Bilbao. Daniel’s auteur

creations are full of flavour, technique and

his personal touches. Located near the

Guggenheim Museum, it’s elegant dining

room boasts excellent service directed by

Oscar. An ample wine list with more than

600 offerings, both Spanish and international,

is overseen by Mikel.

C/ Alameda Mazarredo, 17. Bilbao

www.zortziko.es✍

zuberoA

Hilario Arbelaitz in the kitchen

and brother Eusebio in the dining

room have brought Zuberoa some

much-deserved success. This pretty

Basque farmhouse, perhaps the oldest

in the area, has been turned into a lovely

restaurant, rustic but elegant, with walls

painted blue or of stone: a comfortable,

enchanting place. There is an excellent

terrace covered with wood beams that

is a window on the surrounding nature.

Hilario’s cuisine is based on tradition and

seasonal ingredients, and demonstrates

good sense and technique, eschewing

passing fancies or sophistication. Examples:

roast sardines with tomato and basil, or

the poached eggs with purée of foie-gras

and truffle. The dining room and wine list

are overseen by Eusebio, ably backed up

by Arantxa Urretavizkaia.

Pza. Bekosoro, 1. Oiartzun (Guipúzcoa)

www.zuberoa.com✍


The 25 best gastrobars

Along with the 25 Best Restaurants,

it is logical to include the 25 Best

Gastrobars.

Spain has always highly valued its bars,

taverns, tapas places and informal restaurants

serving traditional native cooking —places

that are attractive not least for their company

and conversation. In addition, they

had a bar at which to stand up and have

an aperitif, eat lunch or have a dinner of

tapas and wine.

Some of the country’s best restaurateurs,

who already run haute cuisine operations,

have decided to reproduce this old snacks

formula in an updated and more attractive

setting: what have been called gastrobars.

Some of them are in old locales that have

been modernised, and others are in newly

created settings.

A gastrobar is more comfortable, more

tastefully decorated and makes it possible

to eat at the bar while seated on stools,

or dine at more or less informal tables. The

basic thing is to offer simple cooking in the

shape of tapas, small servings of food or

miniaturised cuisine. In this style of eating

the accent is on quality and basic ingredients,

which are presented in traditional or

creative recipes.

Curiously, one of the pioneers in this

new gastrobar formula was Joël Robuchon, a

French chef, who created his famous L’Atelier

some years ago in Paris, from where the

idea spread to different cities and countries

around the world.

In Spain, most of them are located in the

regions of Andalusia, Madrid, Asturias, Catalonia,

the Basque Country, Castile-La Mancha,

Castile & León, the Rioja and Valencia.

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20

Tapas

A fuego negro

Amaia García, Edorta Lamo and

Iñigo Cojo are the three founders

of this locale that features music,

design and modern decor. It’s the

in’ place in San Sebastián to eat

meals and tapas, seated or standing,

in a youthful, informal, relaxed

atmosphere. The cooking is Basque,

with original and creative miniatures.

The menu is as original as the decoration,

with salads, rations and tapas, some

of them sweet at desser t time, and

wine and liqueurs. As dedicated wine

lovers, they offer a number of wines of

different grape varieties and appellation

contrôlée.

31 de Agosto, 31. San Sebastián

www.afuegonegro.com✍

Adolfo colección

This uninhibited and informal establishment

is located in the centre of

Toledo, in an early 20th-century building

just 50 metres from the Cathedral.

It has a modern, vanguard design by Adolfo

Muñoz, who has a well-deserved reputation

in the sector. It is managed by his daughter

Verónica, who is always on top of the smallest

details. There are

two levels. On the

lower one is a shop

selling culinary products

and a wine cellar.

The upper floor has

high tables with stools and a kitchen in view

of the public.

Nuncio Viejo, 1. Toledo

www.grupoadolfo.com✍


Aris bAr

Juan Pablo Felipe has created a

relaxed, informal space at the entrance

to El Chaflán, an opportunity

to sample his Mediterranean cooking

less expensively by means of a

new concept in tapas or miniature

cuisine. The bread with Torta del Casar

cheese and truffles are a good example.

The tapas are more traditional —bread

crumbs (migas) with fried eggs, for example—

while the mini-creations are

another alternative. All this accompanied

by a good selection of wines and an

attractive list of cocktails, currently so

popular in Madrid.

Hotel Aristos. Avda. Pio XII, 34

Madrid

www.elchaflan.com✍

The world’s best virgin extra olive oils

Spain has the

b e s t v i r g i n

extra olive

o i l s i n t h e

w o r l d , f o r

both quality

and variety.

There is one

for every dish,

and assuming

o n e k n ows

t h e i r c o m -

parative qualities,

choosing

the right one

for each occasion becomes an exercise in culinary

creativity. To learn more about oils, the book Los

aceites de oliva en la gastronomía del siglo XXI (Everest)

analyses them from all perspectives: experts in cuisine,

scientists and nutritionists reveal why this is one of

Spain’s greatest culinary treasures.

If there is a single essential ingredient in 21stcentury

cuisine, it is doubtless olive oil. It is the most

noble of the fats, unsurpassed for its gastronomic,

nutritional and dietetic qualities. And it has always

meant much more than other foods, because in reality

it is more than simple nourishment.

In addition to the basic Spanish oils made from

the Picual, Hojiblanca, Empeltre or Cornicabra olive

varieties, the Arbequina can be found throughout the

country. Also notable: the recovery of the Arbosana

(the best is from La Boella. www.laboella.com) and

even the introduction of foreign varieties such as

Koroneiki. And then there are offerings based on

local varieties such as Manzanilla from Seville, the

Verdial from the Extremadura region, and Arróniz

from Navarra.

In total, Spain has more than 660 varieties that

are more or less fruity, sweet, bitter, strong, smooth,

spicy, etc., although the liquid always tastes like fresh

olives. And then there is a whole secondary range

of enriching subtleties that evoke apple, lemon, pear,

almond, hazelnut, fresh grass... The Aceites de Pago

(www.aceitesdepago.com) have contributed greatly to

the resurgence of this sector and to a greater offer in

quality. And there’s also LA Organic (www.laorganic.

es), from designer Philippe Starck and oenologist

Michel Rolland.

21


22

Tapas

AsiAnA nextdoor

The very special Asian-Peruvian

cuisine prepared by Jaime Renedo

comes in the form of snacks served

in a relaxed, modern, slightly rustic

setting. There are such attractive dishes

as the sea bass with yellow pepper and

wasabi, the different ceviches (citrus-marinated

seafood), the jasmine rice and —why

not?— a certain Mediterranean touch with

the Ibérico ham or the Greek-style solterito

with grilled octopus and black olives. The

desserts are European in style. A whole

range of aromas and flavours.

Travesía de San Mateo, 4. Madrid

AvAnt gArden

This place has been going for less

than a year but is already receiving

a lot of attention both in Gijón and

outside the northern city. Located in

the Hotel NH Gijón, it has brought the

gastrobar concept to a very traditional

area that has not developed much in the

culinary sense. Javier Loya, from a restaurant

family in the neighbouring Asturias region,

offers vanguard cooking with clear Asturian

roots, excellent basic materials and careful

preparation. All this is reflected in a menu

with tapas large and small or in the different

set menus. The offer is rounded out with a

select wine list, some fine cheeses, excellent

cocktails and a magnificent terrace.

Hotel NH Gijón. Paseo Doctor

Fleming, 71. Gijón

bAby grill rubAiyAt

Belarmino Fernández, who has res-


taurants in different countries in

South America, came to Spain and is

now very successful with Baby Beef

Rubaiyat. After his success here, and in

line with current fashions, he added this

small locale behind the main restaurant

and separated by a large inner glass wall

that makes it possible to watch activity in

the kitchen. Simple decor features wood

in the bar, tables and stools. When the

weather is good the terrace is used. The

menu —including hot and cold breadbased

tapas, full servings, salads and some

meats— makes it possible to have an

informal lunch or dinner with the quality

of the original Rubaiyat.

C/ Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, 11.

Madrid

www.rubaiyat.es✍

bArrA siete

On Victoria Beach in Cadiz, this

relaxed establishment has minimalist

decor and views of the

sea. It’s a small, bright place with

a pretty semicircular bar and high

tables for sampling a new and different

offer based on tapas and

servings, with the culinary quality of

José Manuel Córdoba (of the Ventorrillo

el Chato establishment).

Shrimp salads, rices served as tapas,

fried fish, Iberico cured ham prepared

in different ways, payoyo cheese... There

are good desserts and an appropriate

wine list, short but well selected. Special

mention should be made of the good

service, directed by Julián.

Amilcar Barca, 17. Cadiz

23


24

Tapas

becerritA

The surname Becerra is synonymous

in Seville with good food

served in pleasant surroundings.

Jesús María Becerra, the son of Enrique,

is a good example of this. Any

gourmet walking in the Ronda de

Capuchinos area should visit one of

the city’s most typical bars. Some typical

local tiles provide the decor for some

traditional Andalusian tapas and servings,

accompanied by a wide selection

of local wines. Potatoes garnished with

virgin extra olive oil, bull tail croquettes.

It can be argued whether this is really a

gastrobar, but it doesn’t matter: its success

is guaranteed.

Recaredo, 9. Seville

www.becerrita.com✍

burlAdero, el

Located next to the hall of the

Hotel Colón, this modern gastrobar

has become a meeting point

for informal lunches and dinners.

It bears the stamp of Dani García (Calima

– Marbella) in its offer of tapas and

cheeses served at the bar and at tables.

Potato salad with tuna fish, Iberico ham

products...

Hotel Gran Meliá Colón. Canalejas, 1

Seville

www.granmeliacolon.com✍

comerç 24

Carles Abellá was an outstanding

student at the Barcelona Hostelry

School, and after training at several

restaurants, including El Bulli, he’s


opened his own place

in Barcelona. He says it’s a

gastrobar that’s “like a tapas

bar, with a bar and tables

that offers the comfort of

a classic restaurant with an

elegant, cosmopolitan air.”

This is creative cuisine in

miniature, very original and

carefully prepared and presented in servings

that can be shared. He uses advanced

techniques and the highest quality ingredients.

He has another locale, more

informal, called Tapas 24 (Diputación, 269.

Tel. 934 880 977. Web: www.tapas24.net),

which is considered one of the best tapas

bars in Barcelona.

Comerç, 24. Barcelona

www.comerc24.com✍

Acorn-fed Iberico cured ham, the king

of Spanish food

Pure acorn-fed Iberico cured ham is something magical,

whose quality is dependant on careful, traditional

production methods. To learn everything about this

wondrous world, the key reference book, for both its

photos and text, is El jamón ibérico en la gastronomía del

siglo XXI (Everest).

Four regulatory councils control the process in the

four production areas. There are three Denomination of

Origin (DO) controls: Dehesa de Extremadura (www.

dehesa-extremadura.com), Guijuelo (www.i-guijuelo.

com) and Jamón de Huelva (www.jamondehuelva.com),

and one Specific Denomination, called Jamón de Los

Pedroches (www.jamondelospedroches.com). All of them

guarantee the quality of the process.

There are some recommendations to guarantee the

most enjoyment of this special ham experience. If you

buy a complete piece, it should be consumed within three

months; if not, it can become too dry and lose a large

part of its aroma. As for the best way to cut it, this can be

done either by hand or by a machine. Cutting by hand is

always to be preferred, especially if this is done by a good

professional with the right kind of knife so as to bring out

the ham’s true essence. And once it has been cut, the

meat should be consumed quickly so as to maintain that

magic moment, and always at room temperature. Pure

acorn-fed Iberico cured ham is a real delicacy; to bring

out its enormous potential, it should be accompanied by

a good dry sherry from Jerez.

The best offer comes from Real Jamón (www.realjamoniberico.com).

It presents the best quality from

each DO, hand-cut by Florencio Sanchidrián (a ham

ambassador to the world) and packed under optimum

conditions in packets of 100, 50 or 25 grams.

25


26

Tapas

el Atelier d’enrich

Víctor Enrich, a young and wellestablished

chef, is backed up in

the dining room by his wife, María

Vega de Seoane. Following a refurbishing,

there are two different parts of the

restaurant: Enrich –a traditional, now

smaller culinary operation— and its

new gastrobar, El Atelier, with a more

carefree ambience and a pleasant terrace.

It has a bar offering food prepared

by Víctor, and served at a small number

of tables. At both the bar and the tables

there are servings to share along with

Víctor’s more traditional dishes, making

it possible to eat at more affordable

prices all day long.

Estafeta, 2. Plaza de la Fuente.

La Moraleja (Madrid)

el plAtó

This bright, modern functional and

informal establishment is in the

heart of Madrid, near the Open-air

Museum of Modern Art. There is

a terrace for dining in fair weather, with

views of the studio of the Intereconomía

television channel. The cooking of Andrés

Armero, who is advised by Pedro Larumbe,

is traditional, and is offered in full

and half servings; the Iberico pork is special

(meatballs, hamburger, jaw). By night, the

cocktail bar is full.

Paseo de la Castellana, 36. Madrid

www.elplato.es✍

el sAlón de lA chimeneA

The Echaurren is the fullest expression

of cuisine in the Rioja region


of northern Spain, both in the traditional

cooking by Marisa and in the

more modern version by her son

Francis Paniego. This is also a fine hotel.

The town of Ezcaray is an important

centre for rural tourism and for skiers.

This has led the Paniegos, in their efforts

to perfect their food and advance with

the times, to create a new, less formal

dining space: El Salón de la Chimenea,

a gastrobar that Francis defines as “the

union between the traditional and the

modern, in the tapas version.” In other

words, all kinds of tapas and rations from

both ways of cooking in a free-and-easy

setting, but it’s only open at night.

Hotel Echaurren. Padre José García, 19.

Ezcaray (La Rioja)

www.echaurren.com✍

estAdo puro

Facing Madrid’s Plaza de Neptuno

on the ground floor of the

Hotel NH Paseo del Prado is an

establishment with three areas: a

bar, a ground floor terrace, and a

dining room with a ceiling full of

ladies’ ornamental combs. At this

gastrobar Paco Roncero is responsible

for the cold tapas (for example,

potato salad with regañá bread) and

the hot ones (brochette of pickled

pork), in addition to the salads (eel

and pineapple with orange sauce),

hot and cold bread-based tapas, and

sandwiches.

Hotel NH Paseo del Prado.

Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, 4. Madrid

www.tapasenestadopuro.com✍

27


28

Tapas

inopiA clAsic bAr

Modern decor and a relaxed and

cosmopolitan ambience in a small

Barcelona locale where customers

must wait their turn so as to avoid

crowding. It’s a good approach, and makes

it possible to enjoy the place and the food.

Proprietors Joan Martínez and Albert

Adriá define it as “a classic Spanish bar”.

Everything revolves around the large bar,

with the exception of a single table that

must be reserved. Traditional rations, tapas

and brochettes with the Adriá stamp. Potato

salad, anchovies in vinegar, homemade

cured ham croquettes... An army of friendly

waiters circulate along the bar taking customers’

orders.

Tamarit, 104. Barcelona

www.barinopia.com✍

l’AleznA tApAs

Pedro Martino, along with the

Villabrille brothers (of the Valles

del Oso cheese operation), created

this locale in the Barrio de

Montecerrao in Oviedo for a wide

public. The luminosity and decor are

the perfect complement for the creative

furniture. Even though Pedro Martino

has left, this is still a high-quality operation

based on simple dishes very

carefully prepared from the best local

products. The result is a succulent selection

of tapas and miniaturised cuisine,

along with a good selection of wine

and cheeses. Raúl Villabrille directs operations

in the dining room and advises

about wines.

Celestino Álvarez, 5. Oviedo


lA morAgA

In the centre of Malaga. Modernity

in the decor by José Luis Galán

and the cooking designed by Dani

García (Calima–Marbella) and skilfully

and precisely executed by Jesús

Barrera. Cosmopolitan ambience in a

designer locale, with high stools and a

few tables, a wide bar-refrigerator display

with cold tapas (almost as if this were a

pastry shop), and walls with glass cases

full of wines. Also hot dishes, croquettes,

fried items, stews... They’re all original and

nicely presented. In the same city there’s

another Moraga, at the Corte Inglés department

store, with similar characteristics

and commercial hours.

Fresca, 12. Malaga

www.lamoraga.es✍

The rise of Spanish wines

Spanish wines are at

the top of their form.

Until recently, to speak

of Spanish wines was to

speak only of the Rioja

region (www.riojawine.

com), such as the Amaren

from Luis Cañas, or

of the Ribera de Duero

(www.riberadelduero.

es), such as the Loess

Collection. But today

there are Denominations

of Origin all over

the country such as

Toro (www.dotoro.es),

Priorat (www.doqpriorat.org),

Somontano (www.somontano.es), Bierzo

(www.crdobierzo.es) and Valdeorras (www.dovaldeorras.com)

among many others: they’re terroir or estate

wines of unquestionable quality. And it’s not just the

reds that are great: there are exceptional whites such

as those from the Rias Baixas (www.doriasbaixas.

com), with the notable Pazo de Señorans Selección

from Añada, the Penedés area (www.dopenedes.es) or

the Rueda region (www.dorueda.com). Also Castile-La

Mancha with its Hipperia de Vallegarcía wines.

Today there are extraordinary wines from regions

that had traditionally been of little interest: when

looking for quality it’s time to go beyond the obvious

and seek out other parts, on both the peninsula and in

the islands. As for grapes, in addition to the permanent

success of Tempranillo or Verdejo there has been a renaissance

in Mencía and Garnacha, and among outsiders

such as Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon: they now seem

almost Spanish for the way they have adopted to our

climate and soil.

To learn about wines, one must sample a great variety

of different offerings to discover new sensations,

and talk with other people who share our interest.

It’s also necessary to read about wines, because

this makes us want to sample them. The best way is

through the guidebooks, outstanding among which are

the Guía Repsol de los Mejores Vinos de España (www.

guiarepsol.com), the Guía Peñín de los Vinos de España

(www.grupopenin.com) and La Guía Todovino (www.

todovino.com), edited by Custodio López Zamarra.

29


30

Tapas

lA morAgA ibéricA

The moraga is a summer festival in

Malaga province that’s held on the

beach, where families roast sardines

on a spit. And that’s what Dani García

is after in his establishments: that the visit

be a party for the customer in a modern

and relaxed setting. A low bar and comfortable

seats allow for an informal meal

without any uncomfortable barstools.

There are also some tables. Behind the

bar, José Antonio Carmona successfully

executes Dani’s creations with precision.

Half-servings and individual tapas where

Ibérico pork is the star: little hamburgers,

jaw in sauce, flamenquín... La Moraga

Sweet was recently opened on the same

street (Tel. 952 815 652).

Ramón Areces, 1. Marbella (Malaga)

le cAbrerA

This recently opened establishment

has quickly become one of the popular

Madrid spots, a place to see and be

seen. Luis Galliussi has produced a modern

design for two different areas: on the lower

floor, cocktails by bartender Diego Cabrera,

a faithful follower of Arola in Barcelona and

Madrid. On the street level, a tapas bar with

stools that is run by Benjamín Benssousan,

the right-hand man of Sergi Arola, where

diners enjoy Benjamín’s culinary offerings

as uniquely designed by Sergi..

Bárbara de Braganza, 2. Madrid

lizArrán

A different concept of informal

food based on tapas and brochettes,

combining tradition and


imagination to make snacking a

surprising experience. This large

franchise chain is not only in Spain but

in the rest of Europe and on other

continents. Tapas and rations, both cold

and hot, of miniaturised Spanish cuisine:

it’s based on quality raw materials, many

of them products with an appellation

contrôlée. Spanish omelette, codfish,

Andalusian squid... and all washed down

with beers and wines. Rustic decor: bar,

tables, stools and wooden chairs from

which to sip an aperitif or enjoy a traditional

meal in a casual setting.

Comess Group de Restauración S.L.

C/ Enrique Granados 6. Edificio B.

Complejo Empresarial Imce.

Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid)

www.lizarran.es✍

nArru

In its three years of existence, this

establishment has become a point

of reference in San Sebastián. Located

in the heart of the Gros neighbourhood

close to Zurriola beach and the Kursaal

auditorium, it has modern, minimalist decor.

There are two distinct areas: the restaurant

itself, with a more extensive menu, and the

bar area. The latter, luminous and warm, has

high tables. Its tapas are the big attraction,

miniaturised cuisine based on the day’s

fresh products and presented on demand

in front of customers by the creative Iñigo

Peña. To accompany them, there’s a good

selection of wines, which can be enjoyed by

the glass. Efficient and attentive service.

Miguel Imaz, 10. San Sebastián

www.narru.es✍

31


32

Tapas

óleo

Vicente Patiño has opened this

place in front of the Museo de

las Atarazanas and next to the

headquarters of the America’s

Cup in the port. There are two

separate areas. On the lower level,

a restaurant for more formal dining.

At the entrance, a gastrobar, the first

to open in Valencia. It has an elegant

bar and high stools for the informal

consumption of some modern tapas

(which he calls ‘oleotapas’) made in

Vicente’s inimitable style, along with a

few more formal dishes and his deserts.

All this washed down with some

wine by the glass.

Juan Antonio Benlliure, 9. Valencia

www.restauranteoleo.com✍

simún

In the Cerro del Águila, facing

the entrance to the Polígono

Hytasa, is this Seville neighbourhood

spot that has been run

for 15 years by Paco Simún, offering

coffee and toast in the

morning and a daily set menu

for lunch. But now there’s a new

proposal for the evening: the gastrobar,

where tapas are the star. Pablo

Jiménez, Paco’s son-in-law, prepares

some vanguard offerings with a personal

touch, based on his extensive

culinary experience in Andalusian

kitchens. The basic ingredients are of

the highest quality, purchased in the

wonderful local market.

Avda. Hytasa, 71. Seville


villA pArAmesA tApAs

If you want something different from

the traditional Castilian roast baby

pig, this is a good informal alternative

in Valladolid. It’s en establishment with

unique touches: fine crockery to present the

different taps, and wines by the glass served

from magnums. José Ignacio Castrodeza,

who has a restaurant of the same name

in Villanubla, is the man behind this charming

locale, with its pleasing ambience and

friendly attention. There is a fine selection of

succulent servings, and designer tapas and

other traditional ones, all well prepared and

with his personal touch. They’re on view in

a covered display case like jewels.

Calixto Fernández de la Torre, 5.

Valladolid

www.villaparamesa.es✍

The importance of DOP and IGP

The Denominations of Protected Origins (DOP

in Spanish) and Protected Geographic Indications

(IGP) now represent almost 300 quality brands

throughout Spain. They recognise high quality, a

result of special characteristics that stem from the

special geography of the places they are produced

and the raw materials that go into the products.

These certifiers of approval are of many sizes, from

the wines of Rioja (www.riojawine.com), the Ribera

del Duero (www.riberadelduero.es) or the Jerez

areas (www.sherry.org), to Manchego cheese (www.

quesomanchego.es) or other tiny production areas

that seek to survive. But each one has its place in

the sun, although some, for their small size, would

do better if they went hand-in-hand with other

neighbouring products through different initiatives

that have been set in motion.

This system to defend the quality of food and

produce is important, and is currently regulated

by rules approved in 2006. So accustomed have we

become to the system that we often assume it has

been in place forever, when in fact this is a relatively

new legal guarantee aimed at protecting the production

of some of Spain’s unique assets. In fact, the most

internationally accepted definition was not established

until 1985. The DOP and IGP (there are also

Specific Denominations and Guaranteed Traditional

Specialities certifications) are meant to individualise

merchandise based on its origin. In this way they help

preserve the personality and legacy of each region, in

addition to bringing cultural benefits.

33


34

Tapas

yebrA

Yebra has achieved something of a

cult status for tapas in Seville. In a

carefree and informal setting, its offers

spectacular tapas and servings, based on

the often unconventional preparation

of haute cuisine. Placed in the centre

of the table, they can be shared among

several diners. While the restaurant is

off the usual tapas route in Seville, it’s

worth the trip to get here. It is located

in the Triana neighbourhood, just a few

steps from the church containing one

of the city’s most venerated religious

images, La Macarena. There’s a notable

wine cellar with a large selection.

Medalla Milagrosa, 3. Seville

Rafael Ansón

This guide was compiled by

Rafael Ansón, founder and

president of the Royal Spanish

Academy of Gastronomy.

With the assistance of Javier

Carretero.

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