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RESTAURANTS

Spain knocked off top spot for world’s best restaurant

Spain's El Celler de Can Roca has lost its crown and been relegated to second place in the newly-released World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, beaten by Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana.

Spain knocked off top spot for world's best restaurant
Chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca. Photo: AFP

But fear not, Spain still dominates the list with three entries in the top ten, compared to one entry each for Italy, the USA, Peru, Denmark, France, Japan and Austria.

At number two is El Celler de Can Roca, run by the three Roca brothers in Girona, northeastern Spain.

“The three Roca brothers are each global leaders in their respective fields – Joan as a chef, Josep as a sommelier and Jordi as a patissier – so their combined creativity is almost overwhelming. But their warm fraternal dynamic also pervades the whole atmosphere of this unique, and hugely popular, restaurant,” said the World’s 50 Best Restaurants guide, released on Tuesday.

The Catalan eaterie had reclaimed the title last year, knocking Denmark's Noma off the top spot, after taking the number one spot in 2013.

This year's list puts are two other Spanish restaurants in the top ten, both Basque, proving that the cuisine of the northern Spanish region is one of the best in the world. And Spain maintains a total of seven restaurants on the top 50 list.

GALLERY: Spain's seven best restaurants in the world

In at number seven is Mugaritz in San Sebastián: “a powerhouse of activity hidden in the green hills of the Basque Country”, explains the guide.

The restaurant is run by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, known simply as Andoni who, according to the World’s Best Restaurants guide, “iis the natural heir to Spain’s most pioneering chef after Ferran Adrià (formally of elBulli).

And at number ten is Asador Etxebarri, described as a “Basque barbecue master cooking up meat feast in the countryside”.

The Basque barbecue master in question is chef, Victor Arguinzoniz who was born in the very same village where the restaurant is now located, around an hour from San Sebastián.

Arguinzoniz worked in a flag factory for years before buying the restaurant in the town with his father and uncle and teaching himself to cook.

The World’s Best restaurant list 2016 is topped by Italian restaurant Osteria Francescana, run by chef Massimo Bottura in Modena. 


A dish from the Mugaritz, the Basque restaurant ranked number seven in 2016.

GALLERY: Spain's seven best restaurants in the world

 

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FOOD & DRINK

Six Barcelona bars serving delicious free tapas

The Local's Esme Fox, a long-term Barcelona resident, shares some of her favourite city bars that serve free tapas when you buy a drink.

Six Barcelona bars serving delicious free tapas

Spain is of course celebrated for its tapas, small plates of food, designed for sharing and consisting of favourites such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes topped with spicy sauce), pimientos de padrón (fried green peppers) and croquetas (croquettes of different varieties such as ham or mushrooms). 

One theory is that tapas were invented in order to cover your wine or beer glass, so that flies and other bugs wouldn’t fly in. The barman would give customers a piece of bread topped with jamón (ham) or queso (cheese) in order to act as a lid or in Spanish ‘tapa’, hence the name tapas.

Although most cities in Spain no longer serve free tapas when you buy a drink, there are still some cities where you are guaranteed a free snack. This is still true in the southern cities of Granada, Almería and Jaén, in León and Segovia, as well as a few others dotted around the country.

Despite this, you can still find the odd bar serving the old-fashioned free tapa in some of Spain’s largest and most expensive cities, including Madrid and Barcelona.

So, next time you’re in the Catalan capital, save some money by visiting one of these bars, where you’ll still get served a free tapa along with your drink.  

READ ALSO: Top ten Madrid bars serving free tapas, one for each barrio

Keep in mind, you won’t be served a free drink if you just order a coffee and sometimes not with a soft drink either, it’s usually when you buy a glass of beer or wine.

Ca’l Chusco

This small traditional bar in the old fisherman’s neighbourhood of Barceloneta offers one free tapa every time you order a drink. It’s usually something small and simple, but if you’re still hungry then you can always order one of their delicious paellas or plates or seafood too. 

Raspall
This cute and contemporary little tapas joint, situated on the edge of Gracia, is so popular that it often gets very crowded, so get here early if you want a spot at the bar. It costs around €2-4 for a drink and a small tapas dish, which you can choose from a large selection. There’s everything from croquetas and hummus to small sausages.

Pappa e Citti

It’s not just authentic Spanish bars offering free tapas in Barcleona, at traditional Sardinian restaurant Pappa e Citti in the barrio of Gracia, they offer it too. Be aware that free tapas with your drink is only served between 6-9pm. Small tapas offerings may have an Italian twist or maybe something simple like a piece of bread topped with cream cheese and caramelised onions.

La Xula Taperia

In the heart of the Gracia neighbourhood, this modern and stylish bar offers the closest thing to a Granadino-style free plate of tapas. Rather than just a small piece of bread topped with an ingredient, their free offerings include meatballs, anchovies or even ensaladilla rusa (Russian potato salad).

Casa Arana

Located in the heart of the Sant Andreu neighbourhood, not far from the metro stop of the same name, Casa Arana is a small local barrio bar. As well as the regular drinks on offer, they make their own beer in either tostada (toasted) or rubia (pale) varieties, which is served in a tall glass and looks like an ice cream sundae. The free tapa served with your drink is typically a piece of baguette topped with a simple ingredient such as jamón, chistorra (cured sausage) or cheese.

Cassette Bar

This tapas and cocktail bar located in the heart of Raval has a decidedly 80s themed vibe and name to match. They have been serving free tapas for the past 14 years – something typical like piece of bread and tomato topped with a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette).

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