Michelin Guide awards new stars to 31 Spanish restaurants, but creates no new top-rated venues

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Michelin Guide awards new stars to 31 Spanish restaurants, but creates no new top-rated venues

The prestigious organization held an in-person ceremony in Valencia, where it announced the newest accolades for a sector struggling under the pandemic

There are no new three-star restaurants in the 2022 Michelin Guide to Spain and Portugal, which was launched last night at an in-person ceremony in Valencia, albeit broadcast online as well given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In attendance at the Palau de las Artes opera house were key figures from the eastern Spanish region’s gastronomic scene, coordinated by leading chef Quique Dacosta, whose eponymous restaurant is to be found in Denia.

A total of 31 Spanish restaurants received new stars; for most, it was their first, but four of them have now become two-star establishments.

Despite the disappointment for those who were hoping to see their fortunes take a turn thanks to the latest ratings from the world-famous guide, the sector enjoyed this celebration of gastronomy, which was a welcome night of long speeches after last year’s virtual affair.

“We are very lucky and honored to achieve this recognition in such difficult times as those we are all living through right now,” came the emotional words from one of the protagonists of the night, Paulo Airaudo, chef at Amelia in San Sebastián, in the Basque Country. The restaurant was bumped up to two stars at Tuesday’s ceremony.

In the last edition of the guide, there were 11 three-star restaurants, and this situation remains unchanged for the 2022 edition. They are: Arzak, which has held this honor for three decades, and counts on Elena Arzak at the helm; Akelarre (chef Pedro Subijana); Martín Berasategui (run by the chef of the same name); Lasarte Barcelona (also run by Berasategui, with Paolo Casagrande); Celler de Can Roca; Quique Dacosta; Azurmendi (chef Eneko Atxa); Aponiente (Ángel León); ABaC (Jordi Cruz); DiverXo (Dabiz Muñoz); and Cenador de Amós (Jesús Sánchez).
These top-rated restaurants (the stars go to the establishment, not the chef) are the only ones on the peninsula, given that Portugal has no three-star venues. The last restaurant in Spain to be granted the top accolade was Cenador de Amós, in the 2020 guide.
Just four new Spanish restaurants will have two stars in 2022, and they are located in San Sebastián, the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Toledo and Madrid.
Amelia is the project from chef Paulo Airaudo in San Sebastián. It’s an intimate setting with a bar and three tables, and is located inside the Villa Favorita hotel, overlooking the bay of La Concha. It had already won a single star thanks to its skilful and delicate mix of Argentine, Italian and Japanese culinary influences. “We are very happy to have contributed to a city that is brimming with great chefs,” said Airaudo when he was given his new jacket.
Voro, in Mallorca, was another of the two-star winners. The dishes from Andalusian chef Álvaro Salazar are Mediterranean creations that are “free and unbound,” according to the guide, with a subtle matching of textures and undertones. The restaurant, which is located in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Canayamel, had already picked up one star in the 2020 edition.
The eponymous restaurant from Iván Cerdeño, located in Toledo and which enjoys beautiful views of the city, also improved its classification thanks to its “homage to the produce from La Mancha, with creative and innovative compositions,” according to Michelin. The cuisine is focused on the local surroundings, with a particular focus on game dishes.

Of particular note at this year’s awards was the direct granting of two stars to an establishment that opened in June of this year: Smoked Room, a restaurant with just a few tables that focuses on grilling and smoking its dishes. The Michelin judges were “enchanted by the preparations with their subtle touches of smoke.” The restaurant is located in the Castellana Hyatt Regency Hesperia hotel, which was previously home to the iconic Santceloni. Both Smoked Room and neighboring Leña belong to Grupo Dani García. The chef was once behind an eponymous restaurant in Marbella, which he closed down in 2019 after it won three Michelin stars to focus on other projects.

A total of 27 establishments all over Spain walked away from last night’s ceremony with one Michelin star. The Valencia region took six, with many female chefs among the winners: Lienzo (María José Martínez), Fierro (Carito Lourenço) and Kaido Sushi Bar in Valencia city; Arrels (Vicky Sevilla) in Sagunto, Atalaya (Alejandra Herrador) in Alcossebre and Peix & Brases in Dénia.

Some of the winners have brought the shine of previous projects to their new establishments. This is the case of Ment, the restaurant that Oscar Calleja opened in Salamanca after closing his two-star Annua in San Vicente de la Barquera. El Serbal, meanwhile, which has been moved to El Sardinero beach in Santander (Cantabria), has kept the single star it was first awarded in 2003. Also in Santander, the Casona del Judío from chef Sergio Bastard won its first star.

In Ribadesella, Asturias, Ayalga won its first star, as did the Japanese restaurant in Marbella Nintai. Both of these interesting projects are helmed by sommelier and restaurateur Marcos Granda. In Santiago de Compostela, Galicia; a star went to Auga e Sal, from chef Áxel Smith. Nublo, in Haro, La Rioja, also took a single star, as did Lera, in Castroverde de Campos, Castilla y León, for its extraordinary game dishes.

Nub and El Rincón de Juan Carlos, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, took one star each, while the neighboring island of Gran Canaria saw a star awarded to Poemas by Hermanos Padrón. The Balearic Islands, meanwhile, took one star for the reopened Zaranda in Mallorca, from chef Fernando P. Arellano, as did La Gaia on the island of Ibiza.

Completing the single-star list are Atempo in Barcelona, Garena in Dima (Basque Country), Cañabota in Seville (Andalusi), Coto de Quevedo in Torre de Juan Abad (Castilla-La Mancha), and Versátil in Zarza de Granadilla (Extremadura).

“Despite being a complicated year for the gastronomy sector, the gourmets will be delighted to see that Spain and Portugal are seeing an impressive number of new restaurants with stars springing up throughout the territory,” said a source at Michelin, whose inspectors completed their reports in October.

That said, the latest guide omits some of the new projects in Madrid, which is currently going through a particularly brilliant moment in terms of gastronomy. The only new stars for the city – apart from Smoked Room – were for Deesa, a restaurant from the orbit of Quique Dacosta that is located in the refurbished Ritz Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and Quimbaya, run by Colombian chef Edwin Rodríguez.

The principality of Andorra, which is nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, enters the 2022 Michelin Guide with the restaurant Ibaya, which has won a star under the supervision of Spanish chef Francis Paniego.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed many victims in the hospitality sector and this latest edition of the Michelin Guide reflects this. A total of 24 restaurants in the Spain and Portugal guide have been left without stars – 16 of these due to closures or a move to new premises, and eight that have lost the distinction: Monastrell, Orobianco, Manuel Alonso Restaurante, Es Racó d’Es Teix, Casamar, El Club Allard, Sents and Alejandro.

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