2 May, 2008 @ 13:23
1 min read

Spain is foodie heaven…official

ferran adria

THEY might have a reputation abroad for providing cold soup and platos combinados, but the Spanish have just been voted the world’s best cooks.

Incredibly perhaps, Spain has more restaurants in the world Top Ten than even France.

Ferran AdriaWith the trio of El Bulli at number one, and Mugaritz and Arzak in San Sebastian coming in fourth and eighth respectively, they have brushed off Gallic flair with a shrug.

It is the third year in a row that El Bulli, in Catalonia, has come out top in the poll by the UK’s definitive Restaurant magazine. Chef Ferran Adria (pictured left) also won the award in 2002.

The king of avante-garde is now firmly established at the pinnacle of haute cuisine.

Parmesan cheese shaped like spaghetti and carrots served like foam are among the dishes which Adria has concocted in his workshop and which have revolutionised Spain’s reputation for cuisine.

Closed for half of the year to perfect his skills, experts have compared his cooking to the innovation of Picasso.

It is no surprise that his former apprentice and friend Heston Blumenthal, at the Fat Duck in Bray, came in a close second in the list.

But perhaps, more impressively, Spain’s Mugaritz has gone up four places, while Arzak has moved up two.

Mugaritz chef Andoni Luis Aduriz – another Adria protege – really impressed the 20 judges this year.

In total Spain has some seven restaurants in the Top 50, pipped only by France, with ten and the US with eight.

Paul Wootton, editor of Restaurant magazine, said: “Adria offers such an extraordinary eating experience in his restaurant and what is also important is the service and the setting are top notch.

“Heston is very close to him however and it will be interesting to see if he topples his mentor next year.”


  1. As two swallows do’nt make a summer, no way heaven
    an be asked to authenticate spanish cooking.Basque
    and Catalan genius, has not reached the local venta. Portugal is far closer to paradise,at least
    for the working man, which is why taxi drivers
    arrive laden from Huelva, just to eat!

  2. Oh give me a break. Spanish food is abysmal, and Spanish restaurants are without question the worst in the world, what with poor/unfriendly service, badly-cooked food, lack of variety (“would you like jamom with your jamon?”), filthy toilets etc. Far from being “foody heaven”, Spain is a nightmare for anyone who appreciates good food and good cooking.

  3. Finding a good restaurant in the province of Granada for a proper meal can be difficult but not impossible. However, one of the main reasons for this is a positive. Tapas still comes free with your drinks. Just last week for tapas in one bar restaurant in Durcal we had a whole jacket potato each with crispy skin and seriously garlicky mayo, large tasty fish(known to us as “ugly fish”), grilled pork with herbs, quail’s egg and ham on a piece of bread and 2 other goodens that I can’t remember. Needless to say that having had the jacket potato there was no need to pay for a proper meal. Great value, but not good for their restaurant, not that they seem bothered at all !!!!

  4. English & Spanish cuisine couldn’t be more different, but that doesn’t make one better than the other. It all depends on the individuals taste. Me, give me English anytime, but when I do find a good spanish tapa/meal/restaraunt I remember it & enjoy. My husband? well he is far more adventurous than me & rarely dislikes anything even if it couldn’t look more unappetising, in my eyes!!. So less criticism & more acceptance that every country & palate is allowed to differ.

  5. I’m afraid it is nothing to do with individual taste – it’s possible to say quite objectively that most restaurants around the Granada area are poor. Given the way the most food is cooked and presented and the lack of variety and imagination we have a long way to go before we catch up with the north of Spain. If you are a vegetarian or have any kind of dietary restrictions you may as well stay home! Still, we didn’t come here for the food and there are some good places to eat if you know where to look.

  6. After leaving the U.k and moving to live in Spain a few years ago, I have felt no end to the advantages of this country. I still like english food yet we all know that this country is very well known for the healthy lifestyle & I have felt much healthier since leaving the U.k. Fresh fish, olive oil, vegetables are so beneficial to your health & at least here you are not bombarded with awlful fast food rubbish that you see in U.k & America too much on every street corner! Such a shame that the U.k now has the same problems as do America with severely overweight ‘children’! Its just so sad. Food is our fuel & life these days can be rushed therefore some people are eating processed,fast food, not wholesome decent food! You wouldnt run a car on treacle instead of petrol/diesel so why put the wrong foods in our bodies! Ahh “Ratrace” is the word I believe… Im lucky not to have to endure that anymore, proud I made the change in my life for the better & recommend to anyone contemplating moving to Spain to grab the bull by the horns (excuse the pun) & do it!!! Life is too short. “You only regret the things you do not do in life”
    Am thrilled to be in such a healthy country, just voted best for food I may add over all!
    I adore spanish food, smiles, sunshine & to feel that ultimate “I am alive” feeling will never cease here & I am thankful I live here *
    It is a shame to see posts that are one-sided & quite narrow minded on the food in Spain & U.k… your brain is like a parachute, only works when open!

  7. I think that PJMolloy is typical of many who mistake Andalucia for Spain. The article is about culinary excellence and the fact that Spanish restaurants/chefs made first, fourth and eighth place individually and third place collectively in a worldwide survey. Personally I think this is a good thing, as it will encourage more restaurants in Spain, and maybe here in Andalucia, to make really tasty, imaginative, well presented food.

    Here in Olvera I can name two restaurants that provide really mouth-watering plates of food – maybe not an accolade for the town given how many restaurants there are here, but then I haven’t been so adventurous as to explore every restaurant in the town!

    Granada has a really good vegetarian buffet restaurant, where for under 10 euros you can eat as much as you can fork in (and you get 1 drink)- the only restriction is that you give up your seat when you are done eating.

    I remember when the UK had very few “good” restaurants and ALL motorway stops were supported by “greasy-spoons” – that has changed for the better over the last 30 years and I believe the same will be true for Andalucia.

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