Michelin stars and Repsol suns
For a splash out, or budget-be-damned, celebratory dinner, Spain’s capitol city has an abundance of outstanding restaurants from which to experience some of the countries best cuisine, including twenty-two of which have been awarded Michelin stars, and eighty-five earning 1 to 3 Repsol suns for 2020.
Without doubt Albora still shines as one of my favorite spots in Madrid for an overall superb meal accompanied by one of the city’s top wine lists. The Michelin star dining room also boasts two Repsol suns in 2020. Despite its Michelin star, it is still affordable; in fact, the prices of its two tasting menus (69€ and 89€) are among the lowest, along with Lúa’s, of the Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. It remains an exceptional value, with pitch perfect service, a tranquil, inviting atmosphere and memorable cuisine executed by chef Agustín González. One can dine upstairs in the gourmet restaurant, or for an equally fine experience, one can have a more inexpensive small plates meal in the bar area. Álbora Bar has become our favorite spot to enjoy a casual, extremely well executed lunch or dinner.
This unique and very well reviewed dining venture, with 1 Michelin star and 2 Repsol suns, is at Calle del Pina, 15, in the southern end of the El Viso neighborhood, is a creation of Joselito, the finest brand of Iberian ham and La Catedral of Navarra, Spain’s finest purveyor of canned goods. Álbor’s director Jorge Dávila is in charge of the exciting dining venture, whose kitchen is manned by the former Michelin starred chef of Zalacaín, Juan Antonio Medina.
At Conde de Peñalver, 86, in the Salamanca neighborhood maintains the high quality and character of it’s institution in Santander since 2011. With 1 Michelin star and 1 Repsol sun for 2020, Javier Quirós and Nicolas Reyes offer a reasonably priced traditional Cantabrian tasting menu for 60€, wine included.
This ultra elegant restaurant (orginally called La Terraza del Casino) by multisensory chef Paco Roncero located at Calle de Alcalá, 15, works best for a very special occasion or expense account dinner. Housed in a building from 1910, it sports gorgeous chandeliers, and the interior space was completely remodeled in ’09. You’ll find extremely professional service and a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the fin de siècle buildings of Alcalá and the Cibeles fountain.
Chef Aurelio Morales and his team offer a unique gastronomic and sensory experience with their Mediterranean influenced short and long menus, with wine parings of up to 9 wines, in the 5-star GL Urban Hotel at Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34.
Located within a few minutes walk of the 5-star Santo Mauro at Calle del Marqués del Riscal, 11, Mario (chef), Rafael (sommelier, former bullfighter), and Diego (maitre d’hotel) Sandoval, third-generation restaurateurs, have moved their Relaix & Chateaux, 2 Michelin star, 3 Repsol sun restaurant into a larger space, with well spaced tables, designed by noted Mexican interior architect Jean Porsche.
The Madrid outpost of Marcos Granda can be found at Calle de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 28, down the avenue from Nuevos Ministerios.
This distinguished private club, housed in a stunning 1908 Art Deco building, Casa Gallardo, on the southwest corner of the Plaza de España, opposite the Egyptian Debod Temple, at Calle de Ferraz, 2, opened its doors to outsiders for dining in 2003. The doorman, in sophisticated style, will direct you upstairs, to the right, where you will find a very soothing and luxurious Baroque setting of gilt and chandeliers, making it one of Madrid’s more elegant, refined, romantic and tranquil dining venues.
Basque chef, Diego Guerrero, at the height of his fame, left the two-Michelin starred Club Allard to open his own unique gourmet restaurant. DSTAgE, which stands for “Days to Smell, Taste, Amaze, Grow”, has 3 Repsol suns for 2020. Look for the simple façade of iron and glass doors. You will see no plaques, signs or any indications whatsoever that you’ve reached one of the city’s hippest Michelin stars. Come here to experiment and to taste new, unknown flavors.
This is the most coveted reservation in town, a creation of bad boy, enfant terrible, David Muñoz. It can be found in the NH Eurobuilding Hotel at Calle Padre Damian, 23, in the northern business district, along with the 99 Sushi Bar Padre Damian. Since David received his 3rd Michelin star and 3rd Repsol sun, and after his review in the Dining In section of the NY Times, he outgrew his former space, as DiverXo became the hottest ticket in town. This is dining at its most cutting edge.
If you would rather experience his cutting edge cooking at far more modest prices, he has moved his “street food” counter StreetXo to the Gourmet Experience in the El Corte Inglés department store at Calle Serrano, 52, at the corner of Ayala.
At Paseo Eduardo Dato (metro: Ruben Darío), near the lovely Plaza de Chamberí, offers an inviting and beautifully decorated bar on the top floor level for casual dining at high-top tables and a few low tables, a small upstairs dining room adjacent, an outdoor terrace, and downstairs, a most inviting, rustically elegant dining space with wood beams and exposed brick walls. Here young Galician chef Manuel Domínguez serves two gastronomic market-driven menus, for €60 and €86.
Around the corner from the Wellington Hotel, at Calle Velázquez, 34, is the highly successful branch of the acclaimed Goizeko Kabi of Bilbao. Drawing a very fashionable lunchtime, bespoke suited, business executive crowd who prefer the downstairs room, Goizeko is a local hangout for the city’s movers and shakers-the mayor, other politicos, CEOs, aristocrats, and celebrities.
Opened in 2015 at Calle de Lope de Vega, 9, in the Barrio de Las Letras. Canarian cuisine, chef Safe Cruz offers two tasting menus priced at 50€ and 80€. With wines only from the Canary Islands.
Chef Javier Aranda, the restaurant named after the chef’s grandfather, opened in mid-2016 at Calle del Príncipe de Vergara, 205. Two tasting menus, 88€ and 137€, add for wine parings.
Located at Alfonso XII, 6, across from Retiro Park-a Madrid legend. Grand, palatial and luxurious Old World elegance in beautiful Viennese type surroundings in the opulent style of days gone by where waiters still do a tableside flambé. The Horcher family from Berlin founded the restaurant in 1904 and the founder’s son and grandson are now at the helm.
When this high fashion, gastronomic temple of Japanese cuisine opened at the Wellington on Velázquez, 6, it was one of the most talked about restaurants in town and one of the hardest reservations to snag. It’s the luxury outpost of chef Ricardo Sanz, whose critically acclaimed sushi bar, Kabuki, in the northern business district is still going strong.
Combining Japanese and Mediterranean traditions, a mixture between Nippon respect and Spanish hospitality is at Avenida del Presidente Carmona, 2, near Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Flamenco and a Michelin star don’t usually go together, but with the Bilbao-born chef David Garcia, formally of Álbora (2014) Calle de Morería, 17, just a few minutes walk from the Royal Palace.
Roberto Ruiz’s very high-end restaurant, with 1 Michelin star and 2 Repsol suns, is one of the cities top tables and thus, a tough rezzie to snag, is at General Pardiñas, 40, in the Salamanca neighborhood. The food critic Carlos Maribona says: “It is, without a doubt, the best Mexican restaurant outside of Mexico, and comparable to any of the best in that country”.
Located inside the lovely 4-star Hotel Unico at Calle Claudio Coello, 67, between Calle Ayala and Don Ramón de la Cruz in the Salamanca district, is the eponymous restaurant of the 2 Michelin stars, 3 Repsol suns, chef of Barcelona.
Widely considered one of the top dining venues in Madrid, the extremely elegant two Michelin starred restaurant is located in the 5-star Hotel Hesperia on Paseo de la Castellana, 57. With chef Óscar Velasco at the helm, it is one of the most exclusive dining spots in the city, with some of the best service and sumptuous décor by Pascua Ortega.
The most opulent outpost of Chef David Arauz’s 99 Sushi Bar group (Bambú) is located in the dining space of the 4-star Hotel NH Eurobuilding, Calle Padre Damian, 23, in the northern business section. Haute Japanese cuisine and a fine wine list curated by sommelier Mónica Fernández.
This new space at Calle Marqués de Villamagna, 1, next to El Corte Inglés Serrano, gives splendor to the meaning of the word “exclusivity” with room for only 16 diners. Chef David Arauz offers only two tasting menus.
Now at Calle Duque de Sesto, 48, in the Retiro. “Offal haute cuisine with a laid-back, casual touch”. This is a rediscovery of Madrid’s gastronomic tradition. It’s not everyones’s “cup of tea”, but you don’t know until you give it a try.
A concept created by chef Julián Mármol, a traditional Izakaya Japanese tavern where you can experience Japanese haute cuisine, with three tasting menus of 85€, 110€ and 155€, with fresh fish selected from Alaska, Japan, Portugal or the Ebro Delta, can be found at Calle de San Blas, 4, two minutes walk from the CaixaForum Madrid.
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