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FOOD & DRINK

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.

Catalonia

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. 

Madrid

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

Galicia

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

Valencia

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

Extremadura 

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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FOOD & DRINK

‘We’re going to hell’: Supermarket’s readymade fried eggs offend Spaniards

Spain's most popular supermarket Mercadona has shocked shoppers by selling pre-cooked fried eggs in plastic packaging, sparking a huge uproar among environmentalists and food lovers.

'We're going to hell': Supermarket's readymade fried eggs offend Spaniards

In a country where food is sacrosanct, gastronomic scandals that blow up on social media are not rare (we’re looking at you Jaime Oliver, and your chorizo paella).

Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona has written the latest chapter in Spain’s long list of food faux pas by selling two vacuum sealed fried eggs for €1.80.

That’s around the same price as buying a dozen uncooked eggs in Spain, but it’s not the price which has upset most Spaniards, rather the fact that something as simple and quick as cooking a couple of huevos in the frying pan is deemed too laborious and time consuming for some shoppers, according to Mercadona at least. 

The label on the packaging states “put in the microwave for 45 seconds”.

One tweet that has gone viral typifies the response of many Spaniards to this bizarre supermarket offering. “We are going to hell”, wrote Dr Elena Casado Pineda along with a photo of the packaged eggs.

Another user who posted a video of himself petrified under his bed covers, said “Mercadona selling fried eggs is the beginning of the end”’.

Several others have taken to TikTok to review Mercadona’s divisive eggs. “It tastes like an egg, even though one made at home is much better, obviously,” concluded one young influencer.

Eggs are after all a staple food product in the Spanish diet and essential for classic dishes such as the tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) and revueltos (scrambled eggs with other food mixed in).

Numerous Spanish media outlets have also covered ‘egg-gate’. La Sexta TV interviewed a nutritionist to get an expert opinion on Mercadona’s fried eggs and evaluate their pros and cons.

Others have highlighted the repulsion of a large part of the Spanish population, some stressing that Mercadona aren’t the first to engage in such lazy and wasteful food offerings as Carrefour sells pre-peeled and dissected tangerines.

In the case of public broadcaster RTVE, the focus was primarily on what it represented in terms of plastic waste and the country’s new laws to reduce it.

“An average person in Spain throws away 34 kilos of single-use plastic packaging a year,” Blanca Rubial of environmentalist group Amigos de la Tierra told RTVE.

Spain’s new plastic waste law will ban plastic packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables if they weigh under 1.5kg, something that won’t affect pre-cooked food such as the controversial eggs.

Others have also pointed out that for people with reduced mobility (of their hands in particular) as well as blind people, having access to pre-cooked eggs can be useful, although previous attempts to market these products to such groups haven’t proven very successful.

Mercadona has responded by saying that their packaged fried eggs are only being sold in some of its supermarkets during a trial period.

Food delivery services have increased by 80 percent in Spain over the last three years, and takeaways by 68 percent between 2019 and 2021, with the pandemic no doubt largely influencing this.

It’s a booming business and whether Spaniards would like to admit it or not, their increasingly frenetic rhythm of life means that having time to cook isn’t always their top priority, even though they are by and large food lovers and proud of their gastronomy.

That said, who can’t spare the three minutes it takes to fry an egg?

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