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David Olivas, whose restaurant Back in Marbella was awarded a Michelin star. M. Martínez
New Michelin star for Marbella's Back

New Michelin star for Marbella's Back

With five new awards for eateries in Andalucía in the prestigious guide there is much to celebrate, although El Lago loses its star

Marina Martínez

Wednesday, 29 November 2023, 14:32

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The Michelin Guide Spain 2024 award ceremony was presented on Tuesday in the Auditori Fòrum of the International Convention Centre of Barcelona with Andalucía receiving nine stars in total, including five new ones.

David Olivas, the chef originally from Úbeda (Jaén province), picked up the first Michelin star for his restaurant Back, which he opened in Marbella town centre seven years ago with renowned Ronda sommelier, Fabián Villar. When asked what their plan of action was now, the elated pair said it was simply to "keep working hard". Their haute cuisine with an informal, original, independent, creative air, connected to their Andalusian roots, impressed the judges.

There was bad news for the Costa del Sol at the event, however, as Marbella’s El Lago lost its star. Meanwhile nine restaurants in Malaga province maintain their shine for another year: Bardal (Ronda, two stars), Skina (Marbella, two), José Carlos García (Malaga, one), Nintai (Marbella, one), Messina (Marbella, one), Sollo (Fuengirola, one) and Kaleja (Malaga, one). In total there are 30 stars for Andalucía with the new additions of Malak, Radis and Vandelvira in Jaén, Tohqa in Puerto de Santa María, Cadiz, and a third star for Paco Morales and his restaurant Noor in Cordoba.

Marcos Granda, the Asturian businessman and sommelier based in Marbella, has a full complement of stars in his restaurants at Marcos, in Gijón, and Toki, in Madrid. Both opened at the beginning of the year. The Asturias venture highlights his renewed product and tradition, while his Madrid restaurant is an exclusive Japanese eatery for six diners.

Among the 23 new Bib Gourmand restaurants (229 in total) Malaga city counts Blossom and La Taberna de Mike Palmer, which are making their debut in this section.

If we look at the guide in big numbers, this year's selection recommends 1,266 restaurants, of which 271 have a star. Among the newcomers, there were 31 restaurants with one star and only one with two, Venta Moncalvillo (Darocq de Rioja).

Disfrutar in Barcelona, received three stars for the first time with a standing ovation and joins the rest of the three-starred restaurants in Spain: ABaC (Barcelona), Cocina Hermanos Torres (Barcelona), Lasarte (Barcelona), Atrio (Cáceres), Quique Dacosta (Dénia), Akelaŕe (Donostia/San Sebastián), Arzak (Donostia/San Sebastián), Aponiente (El Puerto de Santa María), El Celler de Can Roca (Girona), Azurmendi (Larrabetzu), Martín Berasategui (Lasarte-Oria), DiverXO (Madrid), Noor in Cordoba (also new this year), and Cenador de Amós (Villaverde de Pontones).

As for the green stars, this year they went to Andres Genestra (Llucmajor), Barro (Ávila), Béns D'Avall (Sóller), Ca Na Toneta (Caimari), Casa Marcial (Arriondas), El Molino de Alcuneza (Sigüenza), El Molino de Urdániz (Urdaitz), Emporium (Castelló D'Empúries), Es Tragón (Sant Antoni de Portmany), Hábitat Cigüeña Negra (Sant Antoni de Portmany), El Molino de Urdániz (Urdaitz), Emporium (Castelló D'Empúries), Es Tragón (Sant Antoni de Portmany), Hábitat Cigüeña Negra (Valverde del Fresno), L'Algadir Del Delta (Amposta) and Monte (San Feliz). With these awards, Michelin has now recognised 49 restaurants that are most committed to sustainability.

The Special Service Award went to Joan Carles Ibáñez, in charge of the Lasarte restaurant (three stars, Barcelona), the Special Chef Mentor Award went to Arzak, which was collected by his daughter Elena after an emotional video; while the Special Sommelier Award went to Josep Roca (Celler de Can Roca). The Special Young Chef 2024 Award went to Martina Puigvert, at Les Cols (two stars, Olot).

The gala, hosted by Andreu Buenfuente with his usual witty banter, was rounded off with a cocktail party offered by Jordi Cruz from ABaC, the brothers Javier and Sergio Torres from Cocina Hermanos Torres, and Paolo Casagrande from Lasarte. As in previous years, the event was managed by the Malaga-based company Sonder.

The awards ceremony was the first in which restaurants from Spain and Portugal were not featured together. Portugal will have its own event in the first quarter of 2024.

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