Spain is renowned for its fantastic cuisine, from the classics such as paella and gazpacho to the heavily seafood influenced dishes such as suquet (seafood stew) and empanada (bread pies filled with shellfish) – there are thousands of new and exciting flavours to try while holidaying in Spain.
If you are a bit of a foodie and are looking to try out some of the finest dishes while you’re away, then take a look at our guide to 10 of the best restaurants to visit in Spain.
1. El Bulli
El Bulli, the Michelin 3 star restaurant on the north-east tip of Spain, is regarded as being one of the very best restaurants in the World. El Bulli has featured as the number one restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine a record five times, and is run by head chef Ferran Adria.
Typical dishes include: hot and cold trout roe tempura and “tapioca”ť of Iberian ham.
Mugaritz features head chef Andoni Aduriz, who was an apprentice at El Bulli. Situated in San Sebastian, and similar to El Bulli, has been recognised as being one of the best restaurants in the World, with two Michelin stars. A fire destroyed the kitchen of Mugaritz in February 2010, but it was quickly restored to working order and opened back up for business.
Typical dishes include: ceramic potatoes and monkfish cheek.
Another fantastic Basque restaurant is Arzak â€“ situated in San Sebastian, with the cooking done by a unique father-daughter combination. Arzak mixes robust Mediterranean flavors with the 21st Century, delivering a truly once in a lifetime experience. Consider opting for the highly-recommended 16-course taster menu while visiting.
Typical dishes include: smoked white tuna with fresh figs and pine nuts.
4. Can Fabes
Can Fabes is dedicated to delivering some of the finest Spanish cuisine in the country, with classical dishes at the forefront of the menu. ”The clock never ticks at Can Fabes” with it standing out as one of the unique restaurants in which you are encouraged to stay, talk and have an all round enjoyable evening after you have finished your meal. Can Fabes was also the first Catalan restaurant to be become a Michelin 3-star establishment.
Typical dishes include: hot-and-cold mackerel and tender pigeon with duck tartare.
5. Martin Berasategui
Spain’s Martin Berasategui is one of the most unique restaurants in Spain in the sense that you will very rarely hear about a bad experience being had by diners. Traditional cooking techniques are blended with science to coax out the most wonderful flavours in the boldest of dishes. As with some of the other big-hitters in this list, Martin Berasategui holds 3 Michelin stars.
Typical dishes include: grilled sole with liquid chili and smoked fish snout.
6. El Celler de Can Roca
Headed up by Joan Roca, El Celler de Can Roca is the work of three brothers. Along with a stunning Spanish menu, the popular restaurant is most well known for the dining experience, featuring a wine cellar offering diners a complete audio-visual journey through the five key wine regions in Spain, and a phenomenal dining space crafted with organic materials.
Typical dishes include: baby squids with onion rocks and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.
A favourite amongst celebrity visitors to the region, Madrid’s Jockey blends traditional cuisine with French tendencies. The cuisine is “elaborated to satisfy the most demanding of tastes”, with each new chef priding themselves on developing new and creative dishes. Along with the Michelin-starred food, there is also a modest choice of over 700 varieties of wine and spirits to choose from.
Typical dishes include: grill-roasted young pigeon and sole filets with figs in Chardonnay.
8. La Terraza del Casino de Madrid
La Terraza del Casino de Madrid is another one of restaurants from El Bulli owner Ferran Adria, and lies on the top floor of Madrid’s casino. The an experimental yet mouth-watering restaurant, La Terraza offers some of the finest cuisine in the Spanish capitol, featuring attentive staff and service that is regarding by most as being perfect.
Typical dishes include: Asturian bean soup and jamon jabugo (cured ham from acorn-fed pigs).
9. Sant Pau
Sant Pau is a three Michelin starred restaurant headed up by Carme Ruscalleda – the only woman in Spain to receive 3 stars. Situated just north of Barcelona, Sant Pau is a fusion of traditional Catalan cuisine blended together with Ruscalleda’s modern twist. The dining area of the restaurant is split between a romantic first room with a contrasting summary second.
Typical dishes include: Iberian pork shoulder and stuffed calamari.
10. Cal Pep
Although one frequented by many tourists to the region, Barcelonaâ€™s Cap Pep is famous for its fresh sea food tapas and fantastic atmosphere. Cal Pep is known for being a true local experience, serving up a whole manner of Catalan classics in a warm and welcoming environment. This two-Michelin star restaurant aims to push the boundaries of the traditional palate.
Typical dishes include: shellfish a la plancha
What’s your favourite?
With so many fantastic restaurants across the breadth of Spain, there are endless possibilities no matter where you decide to venture out to this summer. Do you have a favourite place to experience some traditional cuisine while in Spain? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
Kieron Josep is an Online Marketing Execuitive at Thomson Al Fresco, a provider of family holidays throughout Europe.