They have come to be described these days as the Invincible Army: six Spanish restaurants in the world Top 50 and, even more, no less than three among the six best in the world. It is the express balance of gastronomy made in Spain after the presentation on July 18 in London of the 2022 edition of The World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
If Spain stood out more than a decade ago with elBulli repeating global leadership up to five times and, later, El Celler de Can Roca was ranked number one twice (the question remains as to whether it would have returned to first place if it had not applied the change of rules that prevents former world leaders from competing again since 2019), the great unknown was whether or not the homeland gastronomy could be able to shine again in the international ranking. It never really stopped doing it, but that year, even with no flavors, the Spanish culinary muscle has stood out particularly with the Catalan Enjoy, the Madrid DiverXO and the Basque Etxbearri, as third, fourth and sixth, respectively, in the market world. The national army is completed with Elkano at number 16, Mugaritz at 21, Quique Dacosta Restaurante at 42 and, in the 51-100 section, with Azurmendi at 55.
In this review of the world's Top 10, apart from the three Spaniards in the Top 6, businesses from Copenhagen, Lima, Mexico City, São Paulo, Lake Garda or Padua, which dispatch varied proposals attached to their territories, with tasting menus that They move in a wide range that goes from 40 euros for the Brazilian A Casa do Porco to 430 for the world leader, the Danish Geranium.
Eating overlooking the National Soccer Stadium in Denmark is equivalent to the theoretical best gastronomic experience in the world, according to 'The World's 50 Best Restaurants'. Geranium, leader of the ranking in 2022, is the project of chef Rasmus Kofoed and Soren Ledet, sommelier and director of what was the first Danish 'tri-star'. They have a powerful financial muscle: the businessman Lars Seier Christensen is a partner of the Copenhagen restaurant, which takes over from Noma, leader in 2021. They are two diametrically opposed concepts. René Redzepi's headquarters are located in an idyllic setting: an old mine depot converted into an avant-garde project -with the hallmark of the renowned BIG studio- is the setting for a 'casual' experience in the room, super creative on the plate, with change menu three times a year and a small cellar of curious references. Geranium assumes a classic orthodoxy under a millimetric restaurant model, which, in 2022, changed the menu 100% (430 euros, without drinks), eliminating meat and iconic dishes after years without variations; his cellar is 'infinite'.
Second place in '50 Best', is the space of Virgilio Martínez and Pía León in Casa Tupac, a former cultural center in the Lima neighborhood of Barranco, where the couple also has Kjolle -led by the chef, chosen 'Best Chef in the World 2021' -, Mayo Bar y Mater, a network-information center on Peruvian products "based on a holistic view. We try to convey to the producer that it is worth producing because it is productive," explained Malena Martínez, the chef's sister, in 'Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress', held in London hours before '50 Best'. Mater is the axis of all his projects, including Mil (Cuzco), Olluco, inaugurated in December in Moscow -its Russian partners keep it open-; and Maz, just released in Tokyo. "As chefs, we have the responsibility to go a little further," Leon said at the brewery's forum. In Central, Virgilio Martínez signs a proposal 'by heights' to tour the Peruvian pantries, from the coast to the Amazon or the Andes, with various menus with prices -in exchange- from 192 to 208 euros.
Going from fifth to third place in a restaurant that opened seven and a half years ago may seem like luck, but it's not. Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas started out at the end of 2014 with Enjoy, but, apart from the fact that they had opened Compartir in Cadaqués two years earlier, their career spanned almost two previous decades as Ferran Adrià's key team at elBulli. The culture of effort and the desire for perfection are hallmarks of three chefs who lead an urban space in Barcelona. After the pandemic, they have reduced the number of tables, now dressed with a tablecloth. This creative team not only creates dishes, but also invents techniques that are later generalized in haute cuisine. "The important thing is to understand where the techniques come from; we always have to remember and bring it with tradition to our way of working," Castro said at the 'Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress', hours before the '50 Best' gala. His proposal works with the 'Classic' and 'Festival' tasting menus, with the same price of 235 euros.
After debuting last year in the world 'Top 50' directly in the twentieth position, it has jumped to fourth in 2022. Dabiz Muñoz, immersed in recent times in a plan to improve the management of his UniverXO group, is in a great moment : DiverXO is its haute cuisine mother house, which is preparing to move from Madrid to La Finca (Pozuelo) in 2024; El GoXO is added as a 'delivery' and a 'foodtrucks' brand; StreetXO, moving to a new space after the summer; and the brand new RavioXO. Who gives more? Mediatic but above all ultra-hardworking and creative, he offers a tasting menu at DiverXO, for 365 euros.
Opened 22 years ago by Enrique Olvera in Mexico City, it is his mother house, since he has several projects, such as the New Yorker Cosme or Jerónimo, opened a few months ago in The Madrid Edition. His cuisine adheres to Mexican culture, from raw materials from a network of local producers to a recipe book that he versions with a contemporary perspective. Fifth in '50 Best', Pujol proposes two formats: a tasting menu, for 122 euros -in exchange- and with 'hits' such as the mother or old mole; and a similar formula to a 'Japanese omakase', served in a 12-seat taco bar, for 138 euros.
A way of cooking as ancient as the grill reaches perfection in this farmhouse in the Atxondo Valley, where Bittor Arginzoniz started Etxebarri in 1990. Selection of raw materials under an obsessive search for maximum quality, design of specific gadgets so that each product goes through the grill, use of different woods -he never uses charcoal- for each preparation and care applied to a space that only opens for food service, given the high demands imposed by this chef who flees from media exposure. From third to sixth in the world ranking, it offers a menu for 242 euros or a la carte (ticket from 150 to 250 euros).
Opened in 2015 in São Paulo by the marriage made up of Jefferson -butcher turned chef- and Janaina Rueda, it has gone from 17th to seventh place. Under a 'casual' and democratic format, their offer is a monograph on pork, which they dispatch in different cuts, textures and elaborations, through a menu and tasting menu (with a price of around 40 euros, in exchange), even with a specific one with pieces of the animals raised on the farm that they bought in 2020 in São José do Rio Pardo. They are famous for their 'porco' sandwiches (about 3 euros). In recent times, he has added a vegan menu.
In 2021, it premiered at number 15 on the list -starring in the highest entry in the ranking-, in which this year it has reached eighth place. It is the house of Riccardo and Giancarlo Camanini on the shores of Lake Garda. Opened by these brothers in 2014 in the place that housed a retro swimming pool ('lido') founded in 1984, it delivers a cuisine linked to northern Italy, "where the mountains meet the lake", which gives rise to two tasting menus , with prices of 100 and 130 euros, apart from the alternative of eating à la carte.
From number 27, it has jumped to ninth in the '50 Best', which guarantees the presence of two Mexico City businesses in the world's 'Top 10'. Opened in 2012, it is the project of Jorge Vallejo (chef) and Alejandra Flores (in charge of the room and management). His proposal of "flavors of ingredients from the Mexican territory from a personal point of view" is summed up in several formulas: the menu, the kitchen bar (for 214 euros, in exchange) -which starts with 'snacks' before moving on to tacos de insects- and the tasting menu (192 euros).
In 2021, it was number 26, from which it has advanced 16 positions to 10th. It is the home in Sarmeola di Rubano (Padua) of Massimiliano Alajmo (in 2002 he became the youngest chef in history to obtain three Michelin stars, at the age of 28) and his brothers Raffaelle and Laura, the third generation of a hotel saga. Its flexible proposal allows customers to choose between three menus ('Classici', 'Max' and 'Raf', with the same price of 260 euros) or choose from three to five dishes (from 160 to 230 euros).