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REVEALED: Spain’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants

Discover where in Spain you can treat yourself to a gourmet Michelin-starred meal without breaking the bank - for under €45 per person.

REVEALED: Spain’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants
Dine at Adrián Quetglas in Palma de Mallorca. Photo: Adrián Quetglas / Facebook

Spain with its varied and delicious cuisine has many Michelin-starred restaurants dotted throughout the country. The city of San Sebastián is king with more Michelin Stars per square kilometre than anywhere else in Europe and second in the world. Only Kyoto in Japan has more than this Basque city. 

While there are of course many famous Michelin-starred restaurants that are very expensive, where many of us may only go once in a lifetime, Spain is lucky that it has several very affordable ones – and some of the cheapest in Europe.

However, in order to get the more affordable prices, you need to know what to order and when to go. The trick is to go at lunchtime to make the most of the menus of the day, to order a la carte or opt for a shorter and less expensive version of the tasting menu.


Xerta, Barcelona
Barcelona is full of expensive restaurants, but even here you can try exquisite Michelin-starred cuisine for €45. Located in the luxurious Ohla Hotel, Xerta has both a restaurant and tapas bar. To pay just €45, go for the Menú Ejecutivo, a three-course option with wine and mini sweets included. The a la carte menu is also very affordable such as the arroz de barraca – rice from the Delta del Ebro with clams, nettles, beef and green sauce emulsion. 


Chirón, Valdemoro
This restaurant located in the municipality of Valdemorillo is the only place in the region of Madrid where you can dine on Michelin-starred quality food for less than €30 per person. To take advantage of this price you should order the six-course executive menu, which is only served at lunchtime from Tuesday to Friday and costs €29.95. Madrileño chef Iván Muñoz has one Michelin-Star and serves up innovative dishes such as crispy socarrat rice, flavoured with clams and aioli (garlic mayonnaise). 

At Chirón you can dine for €29.95. Photo: Chirón / Facebook


Silabario, Vigo
This Galician restaurant headed up by local chef Alberto González centres around traditional Gallego seafood fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. There are three tasting menus offered, one of which, the Berbés is a very affordable €27 per person. This includes a starter, main course and a dessert.

Order the Berbés menu at Silabario in Vigo. Photo: Silabario / Facebook

Castilla-La Mancha

Coto de Quevedo, Torre de Juan de Abad
Chef José Antonio Medina’s traditional Manchego restaurant at the rural Coto de Quevedo hotel has been awarded two Michelin Stars and serves classic dishes with a modern twist. While the tasting menus are over €45, you can order from the main menu for much less. Try the deer loin, cauliflower, chocolate, plum and liquorice cake for €20 or the classic pisto de Manchego (similar to ratatouille) with Iberian potatoes and egg. 

Try modern Manchego-style cuisine at Coto de Quevedo. Photo: Coto de Quevedo / Facebook


Atalaya, Alcalá de Xivert

Located in a small village on Spain’s Costa de Azahar or Orange Blossom Coast, just above Valencia, Atalaya is run by a couple – Alejandra Herrador and Emanuel Carlucci. They serve classic Valencian and Mediterranean cuisine where unsurprisingly, rice features heavily. To eat for €45 per person, choose the Menú Arroz (Rice Menu), an impressive seven-course menu with appetisers, mains and desserts.

Try the Rice Menu at Atalaya in the region of Valencia. Photo: Atalaya / Facebook

Castilla y León

MU.NA, Ponferrada
This Ponferrada restaurant offers typical Leonese cuisine with seasonal ingredients. Open Wednesday to Sunday, it has two different tasting menus, but by ordering dishes from the main menu such as the deer with truffle and leek or the sea bass, you can eat for under €30 per person.

You can eat for under €30 at MU.NA. Photo: MU.NA / Facebook

Basque Country

Garena Jatetxea, Lamindao
The Basque Country is the undisputed queen of Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain and many of them are very famous and expensive, but at Garena, you can dine for just €45. Chef Julen Baz sticks to creative Basque cuisine with fresh and simple ingredients. Choose the Menú de Mercado with six courses, only offered Mondays to Fridays.

Sample Basque cuisine at Garena. Photo: Garena / Facebook

Balearic Islands

Adrián Quetglas, Palma de Mallorca
Named after its Argentinean chef, Adrián Quetglas, this Michelin-starred restaurant is located on the island of Mallorca. Its dishes are presented like works of art and are just as colourful as the island itself. The tasting menu costs €45 and consists of five courses including dishes such as Carnaroli rice with rockfish, saffron, prawns and honeycomb. It’s only available at lunchtime from Tuesday to Friday.

Dine at Adrián Quetglas in Palma de Mallorca. Photo: Adrián Quetglas / Facebook


Versátil, Zarza de Granadilla

Run by three brothers David, Jose and Alejandro Hernandez Talaván, this Extremaduran Michelin-starred restaurant has two different dining zones. Choose the bodega area and you can get a main meal for €20 – €25 per person. Think charcoal roasted octopus with rustic mashed potatoes, citrus, chive aioli, rice chips and paprika foam or stewed pork cheeks glazed in the oven with creamy potatoes and black truffle. 

Choose the bodega area for a cheaper Michelin-Starred meal. Photo: Versátil / Facebook

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Where can you get free tapas in Spain?

Not everywhere will offer you free tapas in Spain, but there are some cities where the tradition lives on. Read on to find out where they are, how you can get a free 'tapa' and the slight differences between each place.

Where can you get free tapas in Spain?

Tapas are an important part of Spanish culture, not only because of the gastronomical aspect but because of the social aspect of sharing dishes too. 

The word ‘tapa’ – meaning ‘lid’ – is thought to derive from a 13th-century law passed by a Castilian king requiring taverns to serve food with alcohol, perhaps in a bid to avoid inebriation of the serfs.

A ‘tapa’ was a small plate of ham or olives used as a lid to keep insects and dust away from a drink and usually came free. 

The tradition of free tapas has died out across much of Spain, but there are still some cities where it is alive and well. Most of these cities can be found in three regions – the eastern part of Andalusia, Castilla y León and Galicia. 

READ ALSO: Fourteen classic Spanish dishes to celebrate World Tapas Day


Granada is the undisputed king of free tapas in Spain, famed for its offerings which can be anything from a piece of Spanish tortilla to almost a whole meal, such as a mini burger and fries or small fried fish. It works like this – each time you buy a drink, you will be given a free tapas dish. If you order consecutive drinks in the same bar, each of the tapa dishes you get will be different. Free tapa will come with everything from beer and wine to soft drinks and sparkling water, but not with coffee or tea. Keep in mind that the price of drinks in Granada is slightly higher than in some Spanish cities, which helps to cover the cost of the food.

Calle Navas, Calle Virgen del Rosario and the area around the Cathedral offer some of the best tapas in the city. Remember that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, ask for una tapa vegetariana o tapa vegana. While most bars in the city should have a suitable alternative, some of the more rough and ready ones might not, or you may just get something simple like bread and cheese. One of Granada’s best-loved vegetarian tapas dishes is berenjena con miel (deep fried aubergine drizzled with treacle). 

READ ALSO: What to order at a restaurant in each region of Spain


Just southeast of Granada on the coast, Almería is another of Spain’s great free-tapas cities. The tradition is a little different here than in other Spanish cities because you get to choose your tapa instead of just getting a surprise. Many of the tapas menus here are vast and you’ll be spoilt for choice. It could be anything from a goat’s cheese and caramelised onion montadito (small sandwich) to paté on toast. Almeríans love their toast, so don’t be surprised if you find many different variations of topped toasts on the menu.

You’ll also have to speak up here, waiters will often come over to ask for your drink order, but not come back and ask for your tapa order. It’s best to tell your waiter what you want when your drinks arrive.

You may be able to get a free pulpo (octopus) tapa in Galicia. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP


The city and province of the same name to the north of Granada is also known for its tapa gratis when ordering a drink. Like in Granada, here you’ll be given the tapa of the house and generally won’t be given a choice in what you get. The prices of beers here are not as high as in Almería, but tapas portions are generally pretty generous, meaning you can easily have enough for dinner by going to just a few places.

Dishes here may include a plate of migas (fried breadcrumbs or flour with pieces of meat and fried peppers) or morcilla (blood sausage or black pudding). You can try asking for a vegetarian or vegan tapa here too, but the bars may not be as accommodating as the ones in Granada and may not have so many options, although they will try with what they have. 


It’s not just the eastern provinces of Andalusia where you can get free tapas. One of the best foodie cities in northern Spain that has carried on this tradition is León. Some of the most typical tapas dishes you may be served here include patatas leonesas (León-style potatoes), or morcilla de León (blood sausage or black pudding from León).

During the pandemic, a few bars in León started charging around €0.30 to €0.50 for tapas, but you’ll be happy to know that the majority of them still offer it for free. Bars will generally charge less for the wine, beers and other drinks here than in Granada too. The best places to go are around the famed Barrio del Húmedo or the Barrio Romántico. There are even some bars that will offer free tapas with your coffee order for breakfast here, which is unheard of elsewhere. 


In almost every bar in Ávila you will be served a free tapa along with your drink. You’re unlikely to be served a simple piece of bread with a topping, here the dishes are almost like mini meals. Much of the cuisine here is based on meat, so you might expect a small plate of stewed wild boar or kidney with potatoes.

You will also find that they’re pretty big compared to free tapas in some other cities and filling too, but along with that, you will be paying slightly above average for your drink. The best street to head to for free tapas here is Calle San Segundo.

Alcalá de Henares

There may only be some bars left in Madrid that will offer you a free tapa with your drink, but head just east to the student town of Alcalá de Henares and you’ll find that they’re given out freely. Lots of places here will let you choose what you want too. You’ll pay above average for a caña here, around 3, but for that you’ll get a fairly decent tapa which could include patatas bravas, burgers or scrambled eggs with potatoes.

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

Santiago de Compostela

When you’ve finally completed the Camino, what could be better than sitting down to a nice cold beer and plate of free tapas? The majority of bars here offer simple tapa such as a piece of bread with some type of meat on top, such as jamón or sausage or a small slice of tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette).

Another Galician place, known for offering free tapas is the walled city of Lugo. Here you’ll be given a free snack with your glass of Albariño wine or beer. Lugo’s tapas scene works differently from elsewhere too, here a waiter will come around with a tray of various types of dishes and you’ll select the one you like the look of best. These may include anything from pulpo (octopus) to empanadas (Galician-style pies), tortilla rellena (filled omelette) or anchoas (anchovies).