Spain's Best Undiscovered Restaurants

An insider’s guide to some of Spain’s best undiscovered restaurants, from traditional market bars to temples of modern cuisine.

© Marco Pastori
OF 10

ABaC Barcelona

Want to catch a true rising star in the Spanish food
firmament, one that many predict will soon be awarded three Michelin stars?
Jordi Cruz first cooked at the restaurant L’Estany Clar in the village of
Berga, north of Barcelona, where at the age of 26 he became the youngest chef
in Spain to receive a Michelin star. He then moved further into the Catalan
hinterlands, to Món St. Benet, near Manresa, where he cooked at L’Angle, the
restaurant attached to Ferran Adrià’s food research center Fundació Alícia.
Anyone who ate there immediately recognized his rare talent. Cruz is now
lighting up the sophisticated Barcelona culinary sky at the glittering new ABaC
Restaurant & Hotel, which opened in 2008. Dishes might include smoked
salmon with cauliflower purée served under a smoke-filled cloche, or an
ethereal mushroom-and-truffle focaccio accompanied by a little tumbler of
champignon bisque with hazelnut foam. Not to be missed is Cruz’s extraordinary
extraterrestrial gin-tonic, made with cucumber and a dollop of lemon sorbet.
Cruz is not just creative; his food is as delicious as that of any Spanish
modernista cuisine chef today. Dinner,
$215. 1 Avenida Tibidabo, Barcelona; 34-933/196-600.

Where to Stay: The restaurant is located within the sleek
new ABaC Hotel (rooms, from $460), whose owners
also have two others places in Barcelona, the Hotel Cram (rooms, from $250; 54 Aribau; 34-932/167-700) downtown—home to Michelin-starred restaurant Gaig)—and the new Hotel Mirror (rooms, from $250; 255 Córcega;
in the Eixample district, whose restaurant, The Mirror,
just hired two-star chef Paco Pérez.