Three Spanish restaurants and one Portuguese gained second stars in the new Michelin guide to Spain and Portugal, while Can Fabes near Barcelona lost its third star following the death of chef Santi Santamaria.
The newly elevated establishments are Abac, in Barcelona; El Club Allard and Diverxo, in Madrid; and Ocean, in Faro, Portugal. El Bulli was deleted from the guide after it closed this year, reducing the number of three-star restaurants in Spain to five from seven.
“Faced with a severe economic crisis, many hotels and restaurants are working hard every day to stay in business,” Michelin said in an e-mailed release. “Quality has improved and the true values of Iberian cuisine are reflected more fully than ever on restaurant menus.”
Thirteen venues in Spain and two in Portugal win a first star. Spain now has 17 restaurants with two stars and 117 with one. Portugal has two with two stars and 10 with one.
Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.
Michelin & Cie. is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. It produced its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs. The guide contained practical information, including street maps and tips on using and repairing tires.
Three stars: Akelarre, San Sebastian Arzak, San Sebastian El Celler de Can Roca, Girona Martin Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mar Two stars: Casa Marcial, Arriondas Abac, Barcelona (New) Lasarte, Barcelona Atrio, Caceres Quique Dacosta, Denia Mugaritz, Errenteria Azurmendi, Larrabetzu Miramar, Llanca El Club Allard, Madrid (New) Diverxo, Madrid (New) Ramon Freixa, Madrid Santceloni, Madrid Sergi Arola Gastro, Madrid La Terraza del Casino, Madrid Calima, Malaga Les Cols, Olot Can Fabes, Barcelona Vila Joya, Faro Ocean, Faro (New) The new one stars: Maralba, Albacete Solana, Cantabria Rodrigo de la Calle, Madrid Nerua, Bilbao Choco, Cordoba Marques de Riscal, Alava Lillas Pastia, Huesca Casamar, Llafranc Es Fum, Mallorca Jardin, Mallorca Annua, San Vicente de la Barquera Casa Marcelo, Santiago de Compostela Silabario, Pontevedra Feitoria, Lisbon The Yeatman, Porto
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)