7 places where you eat best in Spain


From Seville to San Sebastian making stops in Cáceres, Madrid or Segovia, these are the 7 best places to eat in Spain.

The modern traveler chooses more and more frequently destinations where tourism offer goes beyond monuments, museums or beaches. We Spaniards love to enjoy a good meal or dinner to recover strength and get to know in depth the different cuisines offered by the different autonomous communities of the peninsula.

San Sebastian, Pais Vasco

The capital of Gipuzkoa always appears in any gastronomic ranking that boasts, and it is not in vain. Of the seven Spanish restaurants awarded with the highest distinction in the Michelin Guide, three of them are located in San Sebastian: Akelarre, Arzak and Martín Berasategui -the latter, in the nearby town of Lasarte-, adding a total of 16 stars among all those located in the province. If, years ago, the Basque chefs crossed the border to learn from Gallic chefs, now they are the ones who want to practice in the kitchen of Donostia. Little or nothing should be added about the city’s pinchos bars, famous all over the planet and predecessors of the ‘miniature kitchen’.

Santiago de Compostela, Galicia

The superb quality of Galician products, both from the sea and from the garden, have made Santiago de Compostela a unique culinary destination. From mesones or pulperías, to refined restaurants or seafood restaurants, it is almost impossible to eat badly in Galicia. To admire first hand the raw materials with which some of the most popular Compostela creations are made, such as the octopus a feira or empanada, nothing better than an early visit to the Mercado de Abastos, the second most visited attraction in the city after the Cathedral.

Bilbao

Like its neighbor Donostia, Bilbao has earned its culinary fame by the increasingly spectacular spiked bars that resemble those of ‘its sister’. On the other hand, proper names such as Eneko Atxa, in front of Azurmendi, 10 kilometers from the city and another one of the Basque 3-starred, have made many who come to the Biscayan capital to do more than admire the Guggenheim museum. The museum’s own restaurant, Nerua, with Josean Alija at the front of its stoves, Etxanobe or Etxebarri, number 13 on the World’s 50 Best list, are more than enough reasons to be seduced by the northern municipality.

Madrid, capital of Spain

Few cities in the world offer a gastronomic variety and with a range of prices as wide as Madrid. From the typical calamari sandwich in the outskirts of the Plaza Mayor, going through the most authentic two-course menu and dessert (for an average of 10 euros) to the show offered by DiverXO. Defining the gastronomy of Madrid is complicated, since it has been nourished by the best of the different regional cuisines, although there are dishes that indisputably bear the stamp of the capital of Spain, such as patatas bravas, the Madrid-style callos or the cocido madrileño.

Barcelona, Catalunya

Few cities in the world can boast a culinary category like Barcelona, the birthplace of some of the most prominent chefs on the national scene, such as the Ferrán brothers and Albert Adrià, Carme Ruscalleda or Sergi Arola. The Mediterranean cuisine, which is made with the best products offered by the sea and the mountains, has adapted to modern times, as well as to the tastes and needs of the tourists who visit Barcelona. Its pleasant temperature makes Barcelona’s population great fans of eating and being outside, and, if possible, on a sunny terrace. In addition, the aperitif tradition, with the vermouth at the head, seems to have returned with more strength than ever.

Valencia, Comunidad Valenciana

Beyond paella, the cuisine of Valencia is wide, natural and, above all, traditional. Fresh fish and seafood, one of the most fertile orchards in the country, and rice, the jewel in the crown, and cultivated since the Muslim era, the star in most of its dishes. For those who want to convince themselves that not everything in the City of Turia are its incomparable paellas, nothing like being seduced by La Albufera, bread and paprika; clóchinas, a more salty and nutritious mollusk than the mussel that grows only in Valencian waters, or the evolved proposals of two of its most renowned chefs, such as Ricard Camarena and Quique Dacosta.

Seville, Andalucía

Like Granada, the city of Seville has a well-deserved fame thanks to ‘tapas‘, which every year attracts thousands of travelers to the feet of La Giralda and the Torre del Oro. Gazpacho or ‘pescaíto frito’ are part of its cookbook. The walls of some of Seville’s centuries-old restaurants and taverns have witnessed curious stories featuring colorful characters, as well as those of the Oven of San Buenaventura, one of the oldest in Spain, where since 1385 some of the desserts have been made typical of the area, such as Yemas de San Leandro, torrijas or borrachuelos.

Carmen Caballero is Founder of Exotik Traveler. Exotik Traveler is a luxury travel design and consultancy firm which creates unique experiences for luxury travelers, tailored to their needs.

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Comments (14)

  1. Jeff G says:

    Although I have not visited any of the above mentioned establishments on my visits to Spain over the last decade or so I have been highly impressed by the rising standards that I have experienced in Spain. From some of the superb meals that I have experienced it is clear that there are many innovative and imaginative chefs leading Spain’s culinary charge. Look forward to visiting a few of these places on my next trip.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Thirty years ago when I last visited Bilbao the food was great but back then it was a fairly grim city and you certainly wouldn’t have expected to see a plethora of Michelin Stars.

    How times have changed! It’s a real artistic hub now and I have just heard so many good things about the Bilbao Foodie Scene. I definitely need to return very soon.

  3. Phil says:

    Casting my eye over this post strikes me that nowadays we take three things for granted.

    Firstly and perhaps least surprising the quality of restaurant food throughout the world has improved hugely over the last few years.

    Secondly standards of food presentation are close to making food presentation an art.

    Thirdly isn’t food photography brilliant. I know that a lot of us put our phone over our food and take a picture thinking that it will be good enough for our Insta account only to be disappointed. There’s a real skill to taking great food photography.

  4. Rose Davies says:

    I think the world’s fascination with Tapas has strangely been one of the things driving Spain’s development as a food power.

    Tapas menus have given chefs licence to be innovative and try things out. If the experiment doesn’t go down well then it just drops off the bottom of the tapas menu. If it’s a success it gets developed into a full option either as a starter or a main. Anyway that’s my theory for what it’s worth.

  5. Gerald says:

    Imagine a grand gastronomic motoring tour of Spain calling in at these restaurants. It would be in spirit of the original parador tours where one drove from one historic hotel to another back in the 1930s. That’s before the Spanish Civil War …

  6. Sam says:

    I have visited Barcelona, but it was only a day trip while visiting Salou for a week, and there were lots of places to eat with such a diverse range of dishes, so I think you’re right about it being hard to define the gastronomy there. Eating outside in Spain in incredible because the weather is usually very pleasant, the architecture provides beautiful scenes to look at, and the food is, from what I’ve experienced, good quality, fresh, and often reasonably priced. This has made me want to go back and sample more as I must admit I tended to go for more basic options when I was there, in part because I didn’t know what a lot of it was and I played it safe instead, which I do regret a little now.

  7. Perry M. says:

    Las delicias españolas son las mejores. Spanish delicacies are the best! I think regardless of the restaurant that a person visits, if it is a spanish dish that they are serving, it really stands out and gives a distinct taste that is very enticing. I was able to try a lot of restaurants in Madrid when I had my vacation there and I really enjoyed every bite.

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