Lasarte becomes latest Spanish eatery to win three Michelin stars

Chef Martín Berasategui, who helms Catalan restaurant, says he is “the happiest guy in the world”

Chef Martín Berasategui in his restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzcoa).
Chef Martín Berasategui in his restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzcoa).Javier Hernández

The newly released 2017 Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal has added a three-star restaurant to its list: Lasarte, a Barcelona eatery run by celebrity Basque chef Martín Berasategui. Seven more restaurants have achieved two stars, and 22 have earned one, newly joining the Michelin star system, considered a world reference for gourmet dining.

“Chef Paolo Casagrande surprised us with dishes of unusual elegance, both in their flavor and their combinations, and the uniquely personal touch of Martín Berasategui is recognizable in them,” said Michelin officials about Lasarte.

Named after the Basque town where Berasategui has his original restaurant, the Barcelona establishment opened in 2006.

“I feel like I’m on cloud nine, I’m the happiest guy in the world,” said Berasategui following the announcement. “We’ve done titanic work to achieve a three-star place in Barcelona.”

The latest figures bring the total of restaurants with three stars to nine, followed by 28 with two stars and 166 with one.

The 2017 Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal was released on Wednesday in Girona, inside Mas Marroch, an event center run by the Roca brothers – famous for their own restaurant Celler de Can Roca, which currently ranks as the world’s second-best restaurant.

Eternal candidates

Just as notable as the restaurant that made it into the three-star category were those that did not, particularly the eternal candidates Mugaritz, Sant Celoni and Atrio. There was another strong contender this year in Aponiente, whose guide description says: “A unique cuisine. Well worth the trip!”

Days before the gala event, co-host Joan Roca had already commented on “the historical injustice against Mugaritz,” which is located in the Basque village of Rentería. But its owner, Andoni Luis Aduriz, was sporting about his latest defeat.

“We are happy that Martín is adding not one but three stars to his career. This is very good for gastronomy, and he deserves it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Catalan food guru Ferran Adrià noted that “in Spain there are five or six more restaurants deserving of three stars,” but added that “it is absurd to demand them – they don’t give them out here, while in other countries they hand them over to a sushi bar.”

In Spain, the only three-star restaurants are Akelarre, Arzak, Azurmendi, DiverXo, El Celler de Can Roca, Martín Berasategui, Quique Dacosta, Sant Pau and now also Lasarte. Of these, one is in Madrid, one in Denia, three in Catalonia and four in the Basque Country.

English version by Susana Urra.

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