Madrid is a foodie’s dream, whether you want to prop up an old tapas bar or treat yourself to some of the finest cuisine in the world. For that certain special occasion, why not check out some of the city’s best Michelin-starred restaurants?
Restaurant, Spanish, European, $$$
Madrid’s only restaurant to hold a coveted three Michelin stars, DiverXO is the brainchild of chef David Muñoz. It is located north of Madrid close to the Paseo de la Castellana and the city’s main business district. But there is nothing businesslike about the cuisine on offer. Muñoz has described his food as “a sort of Cirque du Soleil performance” and the theatre that comes with the creative and boundary-pushing cuisine makes the meal all the more spectacular. Dishes are served on “canvasses”, elevating them from food to artwork. The food itself is a fusion of classic Iberian and Asian flavours.
Chef Óscar Velasco showcases the very best Spanish produce at the two Michelin-starred Santceloni, located in Hotel Hesperia in northern Madrid, on the Paseo de la Castellana. Dishes are creative and contemporary ranging from seafood straight from the Costa Brava to roasted suckling pig from Segovia. The dining room is chic and features a huge window looking onto the bustling kitchen, allowing diners to watch the spectacle of the chefs preparing their meal.
If the two Michelin-starred El Club Allard feels like a sophisticated private members club that’s because it was; it opened in 1998 as a private club and opened to the public in 2003. It is more than a restaurant, hosting regular cultural events, but it is in its cuisine that it really shines. Chef José Carlos Fuentes took over the reigns from María Marta in 2018. Fuentes has already put his own spin on dishes, bringing inspiration from Japan alongside traditional Spanish flavours. Dishes feature the finest seasonal ingredients and can be adapted for pescatarian or vegetarian diners.
Catalan chef Ramón Freixa started his career at this Madrid restaurant, located inside the Hotel Único in the upmarket neighbourhood of Salamanca. Today, it has two Michelin stars and a loyal and loving clientele who return for Freixa’s masterful balance of traditional dishes with avant-garde and surprising twists. From classics like callos (tripe) and calf’s snout to dishes like “ten ways to eat tomato” – tomato prepared ten different ways – Freixa is the place to try traditional Spanish ingredients in creative and exciting incarnations.
Punto MX, in the Salamanca neighbourhood, has the distinction of being the first Mexican restaurant in Europe to be granted a Michelin star. The restaurant aims to preserve traditional Mexican recipes, elevating them using modern techniques into reinterpretations that are both traditional and unlike any Mexican food you’ve seen before. Over five years, chef Roberto Ruiz has, in his words “transferred the purest taste of Mexico into our cooking”.
Not content with one Michelin-starred restaurant (La Cabra), chef Javier Aranda gained a second for Gaytán, a restaurant dominated by its huge oval-shaped open kitchen. Diners are treated to the full theatre of the kitchen as they watch the chefs weave their magic over fresh seasonal ingredients. Its executive menu, served Tuesday to Friday, is a great deal at only €40 ($50).
Fine Dining, Michelin-Starred, Gourmet, Open Kitchen
Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
Chef, sommelier, and front of house manager, brothers Mario, Rafa and Diego Sandoval brought their exciting restaurant into the heart of Madrid in August 2017 when they opened Coque in the neighbourhood of Chamberí. The restaurant’s luxe interiors are an integral part of the dining experience; courses – a modern twist on Spanish cuisine – are eaten in different spaces of the restaurant, from the cocktail bar to the extensive wine cellar. For a truly immersive dining experience, you couldn’t get much better.