Spanish restaurants shine in the world’s top 50

by Lorraine Williamson
Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona 2nd top in the world

VALENCIA – The prestigious British magazine Restaurant celebrated on Tuesday its most important event in Valencia: the selection of the world’s top 50 gastronomic establishments.

Six Spanish restaurants have secured a place among the best in the world, according to the annual list compiled by the British culinary magazine.  

Disfrutar and its three chefs 

While the top spot went to the Peruvian establishment Central, led by chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, Spain dominated the top five, taking positions two to four. Leading the Spanish pack in second place is Disfrutar, an establishment helmed by Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, and Mateu Casañas. This Barcelona-based restaurant has also been recognised as the best restaurant in Europe. Its three chefs are disciples of Ferran Adrià and, fittingly, they first crossed paths while working in the legendary El Bulli’s kitchens. Stepping into Disfrutar’s dining room, as highlighted by the event organisers, “is the first hint that not everything will always be what it seems throughout a four-hour meal.” 

Also read: The best cities in Spain to enjoy free tapas when ordering a drink 

Dabiz Muñoz and DiverXo 

In third place is DiverXo, the restaurant of Dabiz Muñoz, whose cuisine the magazine Restaurant describes as “edible theatre.” This high-end restaurant in Madrid, the only one in the Spanish capital with three Michelin stars, entered the list in 2021 at number 20 and moved up to the fourth position a year later. Thus, both Disfrutar, which placed third in 2022, and DiverXo have climbed one spot in this edition. 

Bittor Arguinzóniz and Asador Extebarri 

Asador Extebarri, located in the town of Atxondo in Biscay, claims the fourth spot. In the menu crafted by Bittor Arguinzóniz, the spotlight is on the flames, with the establishment’s kitchen filled with custom-made grills designed by the chef himself. The star of the establishment, as acknowledged by those who compile the list, is a juicy beef rib with a succulent texture and extraordinary flavour. 

Cogesa Expats

Also read: Spanish cuisine is the third best in the world 

Quique Dacosta 

Other award recipients include chef Quique Dacosta’s restaurant, which secured the 20th position. Dacosta, also responsible for Deessa, the gastronomic establishment at Madrid’s Ritz Hotel, boasts over 30 years of experience, and his cuisine pays homage to the fish, seafood, and rice dishes of the Spanish Levante region. Among the dishes conceived by the Valencian chef, one standout is a golden fideuá with saffron and razor clams, served cold and garnished with white petals. 

Aitor Arregi and Elkano 

The 50 Best – the English name of the event – has also recognised the work of Aitor Arregi at the helm of Elkano restaurant. The establishment in Guetaria secured the 22nd position on the prestigious list, which highlights Arregi’s restaurant as “one of the ingredient cathedrals.” Elkano’s tasting menu takes inspiration from the Cantabrian Sea and includes kokotxas (hake cheeks) in various textures: grilled, breaded, in green sauce, among others. 

Andoni Aduriz and Mugaritz 

Lastly, Andoni Aduriz, leading the Basque establishment Mugaritz, has been honoured with the 31st position by the judging panel, with his cuisine described as “a three-hour journey to a world that can be uncomfortable at times, often emotional, and sometimes completely strange, but it will leave you anything but indifferent.” In this edition, Aduriz was also recognised with the Icon Award for pushing “the boundaries of gastronomic experiences” throughout his 25-year career. 

As Spain’s culinary prowess continues to captivate the world, these exceptional restaurants stand as beacons of innovation, creativity, and gastronomic excellence. Their recognition among the world’s top 50 restaurants is a testament to the remarkable talent and dedication of Spain’s culinary visionaries. 

Also read: Tripadvisor’s Best of the Best restaurant awards 

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