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.
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.
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.
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.