1 May, 2013 @ 13:12
1 min read

Spain dominates world’s best restaurants list

El Celler de Can Roca

SPAIN is once again leading the world in the food stakes.

Not only does the country currently boast the best restaurant on the globe, but it has three eateries in the top 10.

Family-run El Celler de Can Roca toppled Denmark’s Noma from the top spot of the 2013 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, having spent two years as runner-up.

Although slipping down a spot to fourth, Mugaritz in San Sebastian once again secured a top ten spot, while fellow Basque eatery Arzat stayed firmly rooted in eighth.

A total of five Spanish restaurants made it into the top 50, with the avant-garde Quique Dacosta in Dénia coming in at 26 and Atxondo’s charming Asador Etxebarri taking the 44th spot.

Girona’s three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca is run by the three Roca brothers, known for their innovative yet traditional take on typical Catalan cuisine.

Popular dishes include caramelised olives served on a bonsai tree, Iberian suckling pig with pepper sauce and garlic and quince terrine.

Head chef Joan Roca said the secret of his success is hard work and the ‘luck’ of having two incredible brothers – head pastry Jordi chef and head sommelier Josep.

“We don’t know if we are the best restaurant but you can be sure that we will continue to work with authenticity, generosity, hospitality and of course creativity,” he added.

The United States and France also did well – both with six restaurants in the top 50 – but Britain only managed three. These included two of Heston Blumenthal’s eateries – Dinner, which climbed up to seventh place, and The Fat Duck, which tumbled from number 13 down to a rather disappointing 33rd.


  1. Oh come on!!

    Spain has, without any shadow of doubt, the WORST food in Europe – if mot the whole world. The fact that there are a few artsy restaurants in Catalunia who charge 200 Euros a head to eat a few strands of artwork on a plate does not man that Spanish have even an iota of a clue about food.

    Since arriving here 9 years ago I have never – not even once – been even slightly pleasantly surprised by the crap that is served out.

    – Platos Combinados. p-u-l-e-a-se – what the I^£% is THAT all about?
    – Want meat? Just ask for Lomo. Thats all they understand
    – Want to know whats on offer in the local restaurant? They’ll just tell you Carne Con Salsa! Oh forget them all!! Where else in the world would a restaurant tell you they’re serving meat with sauce for god’s sake

    Its a TOTAL disgrace this place, when it comes to food.

    And to think we’re flanked by both France and Portugal – two countries where they REALLY understand their food.

    Now I know why it is like that and as frustrated as I am, I don’t hold it against them. With such abject poverty over such a long period of their history, food has always been a necessity rather than a pleasure, but when you hold the red rag to my face, I need to charge!!!

    Spain has NO credentials on the food front.

    And being from Italian parentage, I will add this final snippet. FOOD HAS TO BE REASONABLY PRICED TO BE WORTHWHILE

    Tell that to the guys in Catalunia. It ain’t food – its art. If I want to see art I go to a gallery!! They’re usually free to browse anyway

    There – got it off my chest…..:)

  2. Yes, you are right there Jon. In the coastal areas they cater more for different Europeans but inland it is meat with chips and that is it. They have all this great weather and they don’t serve any vegetables. When inland I cook or my Wife does, the food is much better. The menu of the day, the price has remained the same but the slops served up are getting worse. In general I gave up going to restaurants inland a few years ago. They are trying to increase their profit margins by reducing the produce costs. I was in Portugal last month and the food was much better and then France ha ha, let us not compare France to Spain.

  3. Jon2: You make one or two valid points, but, Italian food? It’s mostly essentially bread with sauce, given romantic-sounding names (pasta, pizza) with a sprinkle of smelly cheese. Peasant food. As is the Spanish grub you decry.

  4. Imps ahoy!

    Mounds of salad, virgin olive oil and the freshest meat and fish you can ever taste

    Lomo con pan a squeeze of lemon.. delicious!

    Sat outside eating nice basic, fresh, cheap original food – the essence of it

    where are you ‘orrible lot eating at?… ‘Kev’s Bar’

    get back to Blighty! IIIIMPS!

  5. Jon2,
    spot on with very few exceptions. We did visit a fusion food restaurant in Santiago and that was very good and yes fish dishes in Galicia can be very good, it’s where we learned to use garlic with white fish.

    Yes meat and chips is the norm all over Spain. When we there are articles in the Olive Press it is never ordinary food the Spanish eat.

    France, which is where I live now has changed a lot and unfortunately you have to pay plenty to eat well compared to 20 years ago. We are very lucky as on RN 88 there is an excellant restaurant where a formulae of cold buffet/dish of the day or steak/cheese and desert @ €10.60 but this is the exception.

    Stefanjo – Pesto Pasta is a favourite of mine which I eat once a week – lots of garlic, cob nuts instead of pine nuts which are now outrageously expensive, lots of dried basil (much stronger taste than fresh), lots of olive oil and coarse ground black pepper. I fusion it by steaming celery and wind in ‘blue de brebis’ sheeps cheese – try it.

    No one has mentioned the world class Spanish cheeses both goat and sheep which you can’t buy abroad – of course you never see these in a Spanish restaurant.

    It’s time for the Olive Press to visit ordinary restaurants in Andalucia – and tell the truth.

  6. “It’s time for the Olive Press to visit ordinary restaurants in Andalucia – and tell the truth.”

    I don’t think these restaurants will make it in to the “Dining Secrets of Andalucia” somehow lol.

  7. stefanjo,
    should have added that you need a mortar and pestle to grind up the garlic and cob nuts and of course, pasta of your choice.

    Got some bad news re. French restaurants courtesy of The Connexion monthly newspaper – 3 out of 4 restaurants are serving boil in the bag food and France is second only to the USA in profits for Macdonalds junk food.

    This is a direct result of letting that seriously crazy country get access to Europe – de Gaulle was right to keep the UK out of Europe for so long, he knew it would be America’s backdoor entry into Europe – crap food and crap TV.

    A recipe for stefanjo and others who enjoy good food – Merluza with a lemon Thyme sauce ( or Andalucian thyme but it’s not so nice). As fresh merluza is just not the same as in Galicia, frozen fillets, not steaks, will do nicely.

    Cook in a non-stick frying pan with just a little olive oil (I never cook with any other kind)and DO NOT OVERCOOK.For the sauce use semi skimmed milk and thicken with ground maize or flour, do not make it thick. Add lots of finely chopped Lemon Thyme and a little coarsely ground black pepper, add the seeds of one large cardoman pod do not grind, this way you get a surprising taste explosion every now and then.Serve with steamed (the only way to cook veg and preserve flavour and nutrition)broccoli (do not overcook)and carrot Julien – very tasty, nutritious and healthy – no carbohydrates.

    In another life I would be a chef and a short tempered one – in my kitchen you move fast or get the hell out.

  8. Impish misery still…

    succulent freshly grilled lomo is what you get normally

    …stopped off at a ‘service station’ the other day. Everything grilled fresh in front of you… and yes there were chips… but chips with roasted whole green peppers on

    things you never ate before in the uk that taste fantastic

    stop off at service stations back in Blighty!

    I’d hate to be living where these guys above eat at

    Maybe use your imaginations and order what you want – what you LIKE!
    (like the Spanish do)

  9. Mr Abusing,
    have you been at the wacky baccy, no one else recognizes your Spain and I’ve visited just about every autonomous region. The only thing from the ‘real’ Spain is chips.

    The Spanish don’t know what roasted means since most don’t have an oven – you mean deep fried don’t you.

  10. For someone who claims to know nearly every region, Stuart appears to know very little about Spanish cuisine. Don’t know roasted? Lol. Never visited Segovia, famous for roast lamb then. Only thing is chips? Triple lol. So all the great foods like gazpacho, cocido, fabada, paella, gambas al ajillo, ensalada mixta, espinacas con garbanzos, pulpo a la gallega, zarzuela, empanada and even tortilla, are “chips” then? You sound like you’ve never even been to Spain (or you’ve been stuck in a resort facility).

  11. EnglishDragon,
    youve been googling again hav’nt you and it’s so obvious. None of my neighbours in Guadix had an oven nor did any of my neighbours in Ortiguera.

    Have you even visited the places that those dishes you quoted come from – you’ll need to do more googling to find out won’t you.

    Next you’ll tell me that all those dishes can be found in Andalucia, go on make a fool of yourself.

  12. Exposing your ignorance whilst accusing others of not knowing Spain, is making you look a little stupid Stuart. Your claim that “the only thing from the ‘real Spain’ is chips” is nonsensical, to anyone who’s ever stayed in a Spanish town or city that isn’t a resort. You don’t even realise that dishes associated with one area are now widely available throughout Spain – I myself have eaten pulpo and empanadas (associated with Galicia) in Valencia, and paella can be had almost everywhere, including a few places I’ve been in Granada. My working experience may have been mainly in Madrid and Barcelona, but I’ve experienced eating out in many different areas, and recognise your statement can only come from someone who knows extremely little of the subject. Indeed anyone reading this can check the options on their local Menu del dia establishment to see that. Or even look at the preprepared food dishes in supermarkets. Have you truly never tried gazpacho? Still trying to kid us it’s really chips or that it isn’t served in Andalucia? Lol.

  13. EnglishDamp Squid,
    at last you expose your ignorance of authentic recipes – it had to happen did’nt it.

    Caldo gallego can’t be replicated in any other area of Spain for reasons you are totally ignorant of – the only region of Spain with soft water is Galicia. The authentic recipe has to be made with greens that are grown nowhere else also the potatoes. I’ve tried this caldo in other regions and the taste is totally wrong.

    I used to live in Ortiguera and empanada is another Galician food that is a joke made anywhere else – I used to order mine the day beforehand from the bakery at the bottom of the Magdalena, eaten hot or cold – wonderful.

    The extended family that lived downstairs had a matriarch that was known as the la cocinera del Ortigeura and I prepared recipes in her kitchen under her instructions and I am chuffed to say that I could replicate her quality. This did not go down well with the male population as it put them under pressure by their women to modernise their collective mentality.

    That poor imitations of regional dishes are available in many places in Spain is unfortunately a fact. One of the dishes that googling you missed is Gazpacho Manchego, totally different from the Arab version.

    What is also evident is that you can’t cook – how sad. Now get back to googling and look up Gazpacho Manchego – it’s really very good but a winter broth and very fattening.

  14. You’re very sad Stuart – I didn’t even mention “Caldo Gallego”. So FAIL on that!! Although I’ve certainly eaten it a few times in Galician places in Madrid – Galician restaurants can be found all over the peninsular. But whether it’s “authentic” or not (ask someone from Valencia about paella) even you’d struggle to class it as “chips”. Lol. And basic caldo is sold everywhere in winter, normally chicken stock. Amazing too how many bean recipes there are, whether involving alubias, fabes or judias.. You’d have more of a point complaining about how many dishes use chorizo and ham – although personally I love them.

  15. Hey you guys, why does it always have to end in a slanging match?
    And ultimately you have mostly missed the point… this ranking is about the highest level of originality in haute cuisine globally… it is not about your average local cuisine… and, in any case, Spain has revolutionised the way Europe and the world have looked at top end food over the last decade. Fact.
    What’s more, in my opinion, as a writer, reviewer and book and website editor (www.diningsecretsofandalucia.com) on restaurants here, the general standard has gone up a lot, but most importantly I have found that in almost every town there is – at least – one excellent/original/off beat restaurant out of the normal crop of 10/20/30.
    That is a big change since I first started coming here on holidays over two decades ago.
    Come on, give Spain some credit where it is due.

  16. Great website that one thanks.
    Stuart you seem to just be on here to win arguments no matter what people say back to you. It’s a bit painful to read ‘trying’ to troll. Leave it for the more expert children!

  17. British commentators discussing “food” and a ranking published by a British magazine ……… Funny and entertaining but a bit like Hungarians discussing high tec engineering

  18. No English damp squid you still don’t get it or want to get it. Of course there are Galician restaurants all over Spain but what they serve is not authentic.

    Jon Clarke – I would love to know a good restaurant in Granada that serves authentic Granadino recipes – I never found one and as I have many friends who are born and bred in Granada – they did’nt know of one either. The only good local recipes I got to eat were in the homes of my friends.

    Maybe you never got to collect the authentic Granadino recipes which Granada Hoy issued with the newspaper. They came in a proper snap folder – superb recipes – I never found a single restaurant that offered even one of them.

    Why not contact Granada Hoy, maybe they will supply you with a set and then you will know what I am talking about.

    Your coments about at least one restaurant serving good food may well be true in areas where there are lots of foreign money but in the real Spain, they simply do not exist.

    Like Jon2 I am not prepared to spend serious money ot get pretty arrangements on a plate which leave me feeling hungry immediately I have left.

    There are many expats who cannot afford the ludicrous prices charge by the arty/farty restaurants. The UK is now heaving with quality food not only in restaurants but in pubs. 30 years ago it was totally different but now, no country in Europe can compete with the UK and that includes France.

    The fact is a lot of Brits miss the quality they have become used to back home, thank goodness I am a good amateur cook.

  19. Stuar Crawdford, do you live in Granada no?, you can find regional tipycal food granada y “las alpujarras”. Like all place in the world, do you lookin for good food, must to pay. i´m from Italy, and the spanishfood for me it´s ones of the best in the world, with diference with Italy, and Asian food. In my honest opinion, you´ll go turist restaurant in spain, for that your brain about spanish food it´s absoluty shit. I´ve live in cornwall(falmouth) in england, compare Spanish food with the English, it´s like compare a ferrari with a fiat.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

UKIP Party Logo e
Previous Story

UKIP launch on The Rock

Green hope
Next Story

Green hope for Andalucia National Park

Latest from Food & Drink

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press