Below, we offer recommendations on some Spanish restaurants debuting their Michelin star this year and on some of their specialties that you should not miss.
The presentation of the new Michelin Guide – a renowned benchmark in fine dining – for 2019 took place late last year in Lisbon. There are now 170 Spanish restaurants recognised and Beat, Molino de Alcuneza, ENEKO Bilbao and Yugo are some of those making their debuts this year. Below, we tell you about each one’s specialty.
1 From Paris to Calpe: Beat
Valencia-born José Manuel Miguel has worked with chefs such as Martín Berasategui and Juan Mari Arzak. His career received a big boost in Paris, and two years ago he returned to Alicante to run Beat, the restaurant in the Cookbook boutique hotel. This year, he brought the star home to his region, thus helping to further establish Alicante as a benchmark in the world of Michelin stars. Calpe alone is home to three of them.
Cuisine type: French haute cuisine combined with local and seasonal products: mushrooms, game, fruits and vegetables.
The chef recommends: some of the new dishes, such as veal sweetbreads with spinach gnocchi and sweet potato puree, or creamy Albufera rice with wild rabbit Royale.
Our tip: If you like mushrooms, this season all the dishes come with the different varieties received by the restaurant.
2 A mediaeval mill with a star
Located in Sigüenza (Guadalajara), Molino de Alcuneza is a former stone mill repurposed as a hotel, spa and restaurant. The latter has been converted by the chef Samuel Moreno into a gourmet spot known nationwide for going far beyond merely serving its guests. After studying at Teruel’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and working at restaurants such as Can Bosc, Moreno’s talent has just brought Molino its first star.
Cuisine type: creative, based on local and seasonal products: trout from the Tajo, local meats and their own homegrown organic vegetables.
The chef recommends: artichokes filled with marinated ear with confit of rosemary-scented peppers or stuffed veal tail ravioli with Bordelaise sauce and truffle.
Our tip: don’t miss the bread. Samuel makes it in-house with native grains that had fallen into disuse but have now been recovered thanks to organic agriculture.
3 Eneko Bilbao, by a 5-star chef
In 2007, Eneko Atxa – one of Spain’s best-known chefs – earned his first star, for Azurmendi. Now, with Eneko Bilbao having opened just five months earlier, he’s just earned his fifth. The restaurant, located in Euskalduna Palace, is inspired by the Basque culture in both its design and its cuisine. For Eneko, it has become a personal project that brings back recipes from his childhood without losing the flavours and techniques so characteristic of his work.
Cuisine type: the essence of Vizcaya. He brings back and updates dishes that are part of his own culinary memory.
The chef recommends: reinvented dishes based on traditional Vizcayan recipes, like hake barbels pil-pil, sukalki (a type of beef stew), and the walnut-based dessert intxaursaltsa.
Our tip: as the kitchen is in the middle of the dining room, take the opportunity to see the chef in action as he prepares your meal.
4 Straight from Japan to the plate
Yugo The Bunker offers a non-stop trip to one of the traditional Japanese izakayas. Julián Mármol is the creative soul behind this unique concept he himself has named “Urban wild sushi”. He and his team are constantly creating new and different dishes always focused on the raw materials. The restaurant – which features two tasting menus and the best offer of sakes on the market – has just received its first star.
Cuisine type: contemporary Japanese haute cuisine.
The chef recommends: otoro nigiri with beluga caviar and white salmon collagen or moriawase sashimi.
Our tip: home to Spain’s first private high-quality Japanese gastronomy club, the restaurant has a section that simulates a genuine WWII bunker.