Bloomberg News

Spain, Portugal Restaurants Gain Stars as They Battle Slowdown

November 28, 2011

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Three Spanish restaurants and one Portuguese gained second stars in the new Michelin guide to Spain and Portugal, while Can Fabes near Barcelona lost its third star following the death of chef Santi Santamaria.

The newly elevated establishments are Abac, in Barcelona; El Club Allard and Diverxo, in Madrid; and Ocean, in Faro, Portugal. El Bulli was deleted from the guide after it closed this year, reducing the number of three-star restaurants in Spain to five from seven.

“Faced with a severe economic crisis, many hotels and restaurants are working hard every day to stay in business,” Michelin said in an e-mailed release. “Quality has improved and the true values of Iberian cuisine are reflected more fully than ever on restaurant menus.”

Thirteen venues in Spain and two in Portugal win a first star. Spain now has 17 restaurants with two stars and 117 with one. Portugal has two with two stars and 10 with one.

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.

Michelin & Cie. is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. It produced its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs. The guide contained practical information, including street maps and tips on using and repairing tires.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

--Editors: Catherine Hickley, Jim Ruane.

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines at rvines@bloomberg.net or Richardvines on twitter.com/home.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.


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