Spain is a haven not only for those interested in the country’s culture and history, but also for those who want to indulge in its rich and vibrant cuisine. Good food is a mainstay in the Spanish consciousness, so you will definitely not run out of restaurants to try out while in Spain. The pitfall, of course, is that you might have difficulty deciding which particular restaurants to try out here first.
To help you decide which restaurants are definite must-try, here is a list of the top restaurants in Spain:
1. Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo
This restaurant focuses on fine dining but with a twist – each dish carries a distinctive smoky hint. The dishes are, in one way or another, prepared on the grill. The restaurant is famous for its version of the chorizo. It was ranked 13 in the top 50 restaurants in the world.
2. Arzak in San Sebastián
This is a three Michelin-star restaurant and was ranked 17 in the best 50 restaurants in world. The restaurant is known for its modern take on traditional Basque dishes. Its “Red Egg” made from trotter meat and piquillo peppers is a must-try for anyone dining in the restaurant.
3. Azurmendi in Larrabetzu
This was ranked 19 in the best 50 restaurants in the world and for good reason. It pioneered ultrasonic technology in cooking and uses geothermal energy for temperature control inside the restaurant. Its dishes are equally inventive, the most famous of which is the inside-out truffled egg and squid noodles.
4. Quique Dacosta in Dénia
This is another three Michelin-star restaurant which was ranked 39 in the best 50 restaurants in the world. The restaurant boasts an extensive tasting menu, some of which has around 30 dishes. Its most notable dishes include the tobacco leaf and toro which features tuna belly prepared sashimi-style.
5. El Celler de Can Roca in Girona
This is a three Michelin-star restaurant which was previously ranked 1 in the best restaurants in the world. Its menu is highly inventive and features culinary delights such as the “ink rocks” and the “king prawn sand”.
6. Akelaŕe in San Sebastián
This restaurant is among the best in San Sebastian and has three Michelin stars to boot. The restaurant offers a great view of the Biscay Bay. It offers three tasting menus for first-time diners.
7. Can Majó in Barcelona
This restaurant is a literal paradise for seafood lovers. The restaurant makes its dishes from Catalan coast seafood which are delivered to the restaurant fresh daily. Among its must-try dishes are the paella and the zarzuelo.
8. Martín Berasategui in San Sebastián
Another restaurant in San Sebastian which is definitely worth trying is this one. Some of its most notable dishes are suckling lamb chop with parmesan whey, as well as the monkfish liver marinated in sea chlorophyll. Even its desserts are invetiove with such offering such as whisky and tea flower ice cream.
9. DiverXO in Madrid
This three Michelin-star restaurant boasts a Spanish-Chinese fusion cuisine. It was ranked 59 in the best 50 restaurants of the world. The shumai dumplings offered in this edgy restaurant is certainly worth trying.
10. La Castela in Madrid
This is one of the best tapas bars in Madrid. While its dinner menu is equally compelling, this is a great place if you want fast service, great tapa, and a good drink.
11. Mugaritz in San Sebastián
This restaurant was ranked 6 in the world but, interestingly, it does not have a menu. The chef tailors a 24-course menu for each diner, so every visit is certainly a pleasant surprise.
12. La Barraca in Madrid
If you are looking for great paella, then this restaurant is the best place for you. It specializes in traditional Valencian dishes and boasts more than 15 varieties of paella dishes. The La Barraca Mixed Paella is a good place to start if you are uncertain which paella variety to try first.
13. Nerua in Bilbao
If you plan on visiting Guggenheim Museum, then you should definitely stop by this one Michelin-star restaurant which was previously ranked 68 in the world. Interestingly, diners can pass through the kitchen so diners can really get a feel of how the food is prepared. Some dishes worth trying are the candied baby squids, as well as the veal sweetbreads.
14. Restaurante Botín in Madrid
This restaurant specializes in Mediterranean fare. If that is not enough to catch your fancy, maybe the fact that it is the oldest restaurant in the world will do the trick. Its succulent roasted meats are delightful, especially since they are roasted in the traditional Castilian oven.
These are just some of the most popular and well-received restaurants in Spain. Note, however, that if you go to Spain during the peak season, getting reservations in these restaurants may prove to be a real challenge. Nonetheless, if you do manage to dine in at least one of them, you will certainly enjoy a culinary experience unlike any other.
As previously mentioned, Spain boasts a whole roster of great restaurants, so if ever you find yourself way back in a long line of restaurant reservations, then it might be better to give other nearby restaurants a shot. This is especially the case if what you are looking for is authentic Spanish cuisine. Trust us, with food being a central part of Spanish culture, you will not run out of great restaurants to dine in Spain.