One of the things I love most about Madrid and why I have visited several times, is the endless options for amazing culinary experiences. Whether you are a fan of traditional tapas or avant-garde gastronomy, the city has something for everyone.
With so many restaurants to choose from, I have found that one sure way of knowing that the experience will be memorable, is by visiting a Michelin Star restaurant. Who knew that a tire company would one day end up setting the gold standard for gourmet dining? Initially created to help French motorists find reliable places to eat and sleep, the Michelin Guide has now become the culinary world’s highest honor – something that chefs worldwide dream about.
If you are looking to discover flavors you never knew existed and taste-test dishes crafted by Michelin-starred chefs, read further for our chosen favorites. In this post, we discuss some of the top Michelin star restaurants in Madrid and the crème de la crème chefs behind them.
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Table of contents
- The Prestige of Michelin Stars
- Our Top Picks – Michelin Star Restaurants in Madrid
- Meet the Chefs
- Reservations and Dining Tips
- The Michelin Guide and Madrid’s Gastronomic Future
The Prestige of Michelin Stars
So, what is with all the hype about Michelin? Restaurants that earn one star see a 20-25% boost in business. Some even claim that a single star can increase revenue by $1 million a year. Most places see reservations shoot up by 50% within days of receiving a star.
For chefs, this is like winning a gold medal in the Olympics. When Gordon Ramsay’s New York restaurant lost its two Michelin stars, he said he cried! “It was like losing a girlfriend,” he added. That is how much it matters.
When a restaurant is awarded a star, it tells the patrons that the place offers phenomenal quality in all it does: the selection of ingredients, their presentation, and the ambiance. Chefs spend years, sometimes decades, perfecting their craft to earn this honor.
And once they get it, they work even harder to keep it. No wonder losing a star is so devastating. In 2019, Marc Veyrat, a French chef, actually sued Michelin for downgrading his restaurant from three stars to two.
In addition to Madrid’s chefs’ daring experiments with traditional Spanish flavors, there is another reason why the city is catching the eyes (and taste buds) of Michelin inspectors.
Every year, Madrid hosts a big food event, Gastrofestival, where top chefs from Madrid and other countries come to show off their creations. The festival puts the spotlight on the local eateries and the brains behind them, which draws attention from Michelin inspectors.
👉Also read: Madrid Food Guide – What To Eat In Madrid Spain
Our Top Picks – Michelin Star Restaurants in Madrid
DiverXO ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Headed by Dabiz Muñoz, DiverXO is located in Madrid 8 (close to the Cuzco station of Line 8) and is Madrid’s only three-star Michelin spot. Muñoz is a culinary wizard who has somehow managed to blend distinct Spanish ingredients with international flavors. Expect dishes like Galician lobster with Goa-inspired spices and a 45-day matured nigiri. The 12-course tasting menu and flying pigs adorning the walls are all a nod to Muñoz’s childhood dream.
Deessa is conveniently located in the Mandarin Oriental Ritz where head chef Quique Dacosta serves Mediterranean and Asian-inspired dishes in an elegant dining room overlooking a lush garden. Their “Tomates Frescos y Lomo De Atún” is a must-try, but the “Egg” with asparagus skin filled with trout roe is our favorite. Their wine collection is equally impressive.
Coque is run by the three Sandoval brothers, but it is the head chef Mario Sandoval who has made it his business to pay homage to Spain’s diverse regions through his dishes. The experience starts with cocktails and moves through a wine cellar boasting over 3,000 labels. The 11-course menu features dishes like hot pickled foie and lacquered suckling pig.
Paco Roncero ⭐️⭐️
Celebrated chef Paco Roncero has two special menus waiting for you in this stunning restaurant atop a 19th-century building: “Esencia” and “Afirmación. Since the restaurant serves avant-garde Spanish cuisine, you will find olive oil a recurring ingredient here. His Filipino foie gras with white chocolate and cardamom is a thing of beauty. And if you think a dessert made of beetroot and black garlic sounds unhinged, chef Roncero might make a believer out of you yet.
For those craving some Japanese-meets-Mediterranean food, head over to Yugo in Madrid. Run by Chef Julián Mármol, this place is decked out in exotic wood and cultural artifacts to mimic Japan’s izakayas. The menu is full of flavors, thanks to the finest ingredients sourced from around the globe, be it wild fish from Alaska or spices from the Far East.
The restaurant offers two tasting menus and an extensive sake list. What sets Yugo apart is “The Bunker,” a members-only dining room designed like a WWII bunker.
Ramón Freixa Madrid ⭐️⭐️
Ramón Freixa has only seven tables so it is an intimate dining setting where Chef Ramón Freixa himself might serve you. The menu is one of the most unique blends of traditional and avant-garde, and each dish is a work of art that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. The edible “bags” of baby shrimp and chocolate “stones” with peanut-flavored liquid centers would have you questioning your eyes (or was it just us?)
Smoked Room ⭐️⭐️
Located in the Hyatt Regency Hesperia hotel, this boutique restaurant earned two Michelin stars just six months after opening. Smoked Room seats only 14 people at a time and offers a 15-course tasting menu that is a fusion of Japanese and Andalusian flavors. The interior is designed to resemble the inside of a volcano. But the real star here is the food. A smoky essence infuses every single dish as Chef Dani García has put a lot of focus on charcoal cooking.
Meet the Chefs
David Muñoz – DiverXO
David Muñoz, the mastermind behind DiverXO, is known as a culinary rebel who is not afraid to break the rules. Inspired by Abraham Garcia’s unparalleled cooking style, David gained experience in London’s top restaurants like Nobu before returning to Madrid to open DiverXO. Several reviews say that he loves surprising diners mid-meal by enhancing dishes in unexpected ways.
His is the only spot in Madrid with three Michelin stars and it’s not hard to see why. Each dish is chock-full of complex flavors you didn’t even know could be combined, much like the fried baby eels with barely-warm sashimi or the cold poached leg of pigeon served with marine plankton.
Edwin Rodríguez – QUIMBAYA
With a Michelin star and a Repsol Sun to his name, Edwin Rodríguez offers a tasting menu at QUIMBAYA that is a gastronomic tour of Colombia. The restaurant has just eight tables so each meal is quite a cozy affair. Edwin’s 25 years of experience and his collaborations with ProColombia and Colombian Embassies have made him an important figure in promoting Colombian cuisine as well. Thanks to his efforts, QUIMBAYA is the only Michelin-star Madrid restaurant serving Colombian fare.
Javier Aranda – Gaytán
Javier Aranda is a 36-year old rising talent who has already earned Michelin stars for his two restaurants, Gaytán and La Cabra. His cooking style is focused on bringing out the perfect balance in the flavors, textures, and visuals. Trained under renowned chefs like Pepe Rodríguez, Aranda’s dishes are heavily inspired from his roots in Toledo.
If you visit Gaytán, you can probably see Aranda create your meal in the open kitchen while he makes use of his favorite ingredients: truffles, red mullet, and saffron!
Rodrigo de la Calle – El Invernadero
If you are a vegan or vegetarian looking for a fine dining experience in Madrid, chef Rodrigo de la Calle has got you covered. Born into a family of farmers and cooks, he has always leaned toward a vegetable-based cuisine. So much so that he developed his signature concept of “Gastrobotánica” in collaboration with botanist Santiago Orts, to introduce rare vegetables to his patrons. His restaurant, El Invernadero, received a Michelin star within a year of its opening.
Reservations and Dining Tips
Now that you know where you are going, you need to do a bit more than just booking a table. To make sure your experience is as extraordinary as possible, here are our best tips:
- Try to reserve a table at least a month in advance because these places fill up fast.
- Do not show up in c-amo shorts, jeans, and a t-shirt. Most Michelin restaurants in Madrid require smart casual or formal wear.
- Try to get to the restaurant at least 10 minutes early; arriving late can throw off the entire dining schedule.
- Familiarize yourself with the menu online so you know what you will be ordering.
- Do not hesitate to ask the server for the best recommendations regarding wine pairings or menus. They know what they are talking about.
- Use the correct utensils, and remember, elbows off the table.
- Do not rush. Meals at Michelin-star restaurants Madrid are almost always multi-course affairs that can last 2-3 hours (or more) so enjoy the experience.
- While not mandatory, tipping (15-20%) is a nice gesture to show appreciation for exceptional service.
The Michelin Guide and Madrid’s Gastronomic Future
The Michelin Guide Madrid has put the La Villa y Corte on the foodie map in a big way. What was once mostly known for football and world-class art museums, Madrid is now pulling in tourists who come just to taste what the city has to offer. As a result, local chefs are upping their game and mixing age-old Spanish recipes passed down for generations with never-before-seen twists.
If you are planning a visit to this historical city, make sure you try at least one restaurant listed above. We promise you a meal you will be talking about for years!