When it comes to restaurants with Michelin stars, most people immediately assume they are going to be expensive. But stars do not indicate prices but rather the quality of the food. One star is given to a restaurant with good cuisine, to places you should try if you’re in the area. Two stars indicate excellent cuisine, restaurants that are worth making a detour for. And three go to establishments where the food is so exceptional they deserve their own special journey.
Luckily in Spain, there are lots of restaurants with Michelin stars that aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg.
Take Cocinandos in León, a restaurant with one Michelin star where a tasting menu costs €45. Head chef Juanjo Pérez opened the restaurant on Calle de las Campanillas with his partner Yolanda León. It is the only restaurant with a star rating in Léon, a city he says tastes “smokey.” Apart from the great food, this establishment is known for offering the cheapest haute cuisine in Spain.
Like Cocinandos, Yayo Daporta in Cambados, Galicia (Rúa Hospital, 7) also has reasonable prices. Well-known after appearing as a judge on the second season of Top Chef, alongside Alberto Chicote, Daporta opened his self-named restaurant with the values of “good taste and common sense.”
Next to the famous Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo in El Escorial in Madrid, you can find Montia, a restaurant with one Michelin star. Chefs Luis Moreno and Dani Ochoa get their supplies from local producers and research all ingredients in the area. Diners can choose from three, constantly changing menus: a short menu for €45; a longer one for €60 and the XL menu for €65.
The best way to enjoy the star-rated Arbidel restaurant in Ribadesella, Asturias, and its €49.95 menu, is outdoors. Out on the terrace, you can more fully appreciate the full culinary talent of Jaime Uz, the protégé of top-rated chef Martín Berasategui. Uz mixes tradition with avant-garde touches.
In the Pyrenees
In Huesca, the restaurant Lillas Pastia specializes in black truffle but does not let the pricey ingredient triple the cost of a meal. A tasting menu at the one-starred restaurant starts at €75. “The important thing is that people eat well and enjoy their food,” says their kitchen staff, led by Carmelo Bosque.
In the shadow of the Pyrenees is another restaurant with one Michelin star, Tatau Bistro (Azara in Huesca; with options starting from €30). While it might look like a tapas bar, the creation by Tonino Valiente – a graduate of Barcelona’s prestigious Hofmann Culinary School – and by Arancha Sáinz, is so much more. “It’s a mischievous place, similar to the pin-ups of the 1950s, an experience that leaves a mark like the tattoos of that time,” say the owners.
Acanthum was opened in Huelva (San Salvador 17; dishes from €55) in 2011 by Xanty Elías to revive the region’s culinary fame. Its dishes, reviews and one Michelin star attest to his success.
Lluerna, run by Víctor Quintillà and Mar Gómez, showcases modern Catalan cuisine. Located on the fringes of Barcelona in Santa Coloma de Gramenet (Avinguda Pallaresa, 104; starting at €43.50), it has gained one Michelin star with dishes like ajoblanco de codium (a typical Spanish cold soup with codium algae).
Food website El Comidista named Nova in Ourense, “the cheapest Michelin star-rated restaurant in all of Europe.” It received the star in 2014 – just two years after it opened. Its €30-menu changes every week depending on what ingredients are available. The restaurant (Rúa Valle Inclán, 5) also has fixed menus for €45 and €60. The kitchen is run by Julio Sotomayor and Daniel Guzmán who say the secret to their success is: produce, proximity and freshness.
English version by Laura Rodríguez.