Spain Has The Most Number Of The World's 50 Best Restaurants

Spain has always been known for the richness of its culinary heritage that goes beyond the paella. Hence it should come as no surprise that the country also has the largest number of restaurants to feature in the 2023 “World’s 50 Best” list
Aerial view of Barcelona city skyline at dusk
Aerial view of Barcelona city skyline at dusk basiczto/Shutterstock

Spain has long been regarded as a culinary hotspot. Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, Spain's diverse geographical location contributes to the country's rich and varied cuisine. From the arid plains of Andalusia to the fertile lands of Catalonia and the bountiful seafood along the coasts, Spanish cuisine presents an array of flavours sure to tantalise taste buds. Then there are the many food festivals that are held across the country. Hence it should come as no surprise that the country also has the largest number of restaurants to feature in the 2023 “World’s 50 Best” list.

The 2023 Awards

The World's 50 Best Restaurants is a ranking of the top 50 best restaurants and bars around the world. The 2023 award ceremony was hosted at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia. The six Spanish restaurants which featured among the 50 best in the world are:

Disfrutar, Barcelona

Savour Mediterranean delights with an avant-garde twist at the restaurant which offers a choice of four tasting menus, each comprising between 20 and 30 dishes. Menus are kept confidential until the very last minute. It was number 2 on the list.

Disfrutar in Barcelona has a tasting menu with 20 to 30 dishes
Disfrutar in Barcelona has a tasting menu with 20 to 30 dishes@disfrutarbcn/Instagram

DiverXO, Madrid

The 23-course menu explores the range of taste sensations. Book in advance as they have room for reservations for up to 30 guests. They are known for adding a twist of creative thinking to dishes, which go beyond the usual. For instance, a dish was inspired by Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter book series. It was number 3 on the list.

Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo

You'll love dining at this Michelin award-winning stone and wood structure in the mountains. The place is known for flame cooking, with a tasting menu featuring grilled ingredients such as chorizo and salted anchovy. They use different kinds of wood and a specially created pulley system for cooking. It was number 4 on the list.

The  Michelin award-winning stone and wood restaurant
The Michelin award-winning stone and wood restaurant @asadoretxebarrioficial/Instagram

Quique Dacosta, Dénia

The tasting menus are a series of theatrical tapas-inspired courses that elevate Spanish cuisine. For instance, a golden saffron fideua with razor clams, served cold and dotted with white petals; lobster roe salad elevated by an intense bisque poured from an iridescent sea snail shell; and duck and smoked eel fragrant with rosemary. All this in a white villa with a glassed-in library and gardens growing produce. It was number 20 on the list.

Elkano, Getaria

Enjoy the ‘Taste of Biscay’ with their tasting menu which features kokotxas (cod throats) in four textures – grilled, battered, in green sauce and other spices –, a speciality marinated lobster, and the best sea bass you will ever try. It was number 22 on the list.

Mugaritz, San Sebastian

The conventional rules of gastronomy are cast aside to make way for boundary-less eating with a three-hour culinary journey. Dishes like Face to Face (an edible ‘skin’ made with psyllium and cider) and Memories of the Future (caramelised white bread with bean molasses and Port) co-exist with less abstract treats like chives and butter and Norwegian lobster. It was number 31 on the list.

You can find the list of award-winning restaurants here.

One Of The Pioneers

One of the restaurants in Spain to consistently make it to the list is El Bulli, voted ‘best restaurant in the world’ in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Its chef Ferran Adrià won the Chefs’ Choice Award in 2005 and Chef of the Decade Award in 2010. Adrià is said to have been a leading figure in transforming Spanish cuisine with his creativity.

The Indian Winners

The 2023 list also featured restaurants highlighting Indian cuisine. Among the winners were two restaurants known for their inherently Indian cuisine. Chef Himanshu Saini's Dubai-based Tresind Studio is ranked 11th, and the Bangkok-based, fine-dining eponymous restaurant Gaggan Anand comes in at number 17th. Read more about it here.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller