5 Meals in France and Spain Before You Die

1) Arzak (San Sebastian): The greatest full-year restaurant in Spain. El Bulli’s only open for half the year and you might well die before getting a reservation. Older and wiser than the other Spanish Michelin 3-stars, Arzak is soulful, cutting-edge, cosmopolitan and distinctly Spanish, a heady combination. Wonderful service by all-female server-brigade is a delight, as long as you can communicate in castellano (please don’t call it español). Best orujo I’ve ever tasted.

2) Pierre Gagnaire (Paris): Far less frivolity than the naysayers would suggest. This is molecular gastronomy in the service of deliciousness. Reasonable wine a pleasant surprise and effortlessly elegant service. Tables of locals, solo-dining British rock star and rube Americans (us) all coexisted in the most convivial of the edgy French Michelin 3 Stars.

3) Jean-Luc Figueras (Barcelona): In Balenciaga’s former Barcelona mansion, this place deserves way more press than it has received. Mind-blowing food, sincere and highly competent staff with superb language skills (maintained tri-lingual dialogue with my table). Never felt so loved in a high-end Barcelona restaurant.

4) Crillon Le Brave (Provence): Plenty of Relais in this Relais Chateax hotel/restaurant. Unbelievable views, total absence of Peter Mayle Disney-Provence kitsch and great food sophisticated enough not to tart itself up.

5) Posada de la Casa del Abad de Ampudia (Castilla y Leon): Unbelievable food in the North Dakota of Northern Spain. May smell like donkeys in the streets, but inside the hotel you find a well-deserved Michelin 1-star called Restaurante Arambol: an oasis of lux et volupté and Barcelona funkiness. One of Spain’s great hidden treasures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: