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These two restaurants from Malaga province are among the finalists in Spain's first national 'patatas bravas' championship
Gastronomy

These two restaurants from Malaga province are among the finalists in Spain's first national 'patatas bravas' championship

The jury, made up of professionals from the gastronomy sector, will announce the winners in the traditional and the creative categories of the popular tapa on 30 January

Monday, 29 January 2024, 10:12

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For many it is a true religion. It is a tapa dish that can be found in almost every restaurant in Spain. We are talking about patatas bravas. Along with 'ensaladilla rusa' and croquettes, this is one of the dishes that has become one of the most popular and has spurred chefs to come up with different versions of it in recent years, in which the traditional tomato sauce has given way to alternative options such as alioli, mayonnaise or kimchi.

In Malaga province, there are increasingly more businesses committed to serving patatas bravas with a twist. But which are the best? This month, a national competition aims to provide the answer.

Coinciding with the 22nd International Gastronomy Conference, which will take place on 29, 30 and 31 January, Madrid Fusión and Tinto de Verano La Casera are organising the first national championship to determine the best patatas bravas in two categories: creative and traditional. Among the seven finalists are two from Malaga: those from Óleo (in Malaga city) and Tragatá (in Ronda).

The verdict will be announced on Tuesday 30 January, with a jury made up of professionals from the sector to select a winner. The winner will receive the title of national champion Madrid Fusión 2024, as well as a meal at top Michelin-starred restaurant Noor with food and wine pairing and one night's accommodation at Hotel H10 Palacio de Colomera valued at 1,000 euros, as well as some La Casera tinto de verano products.

Oleo's patatas bravas.
Oleo's patatas bravas. SUR

Created in the kitchen of Sergio del Río, Óleo's bravas is competing in the creative category alongside those of Restaurante Vint (Mallorca), Vuelve Carolina (Valencia) and Lume (Santiago de Compostela). The Malaga version has established itself as one of the most famous in the province, and also one of the most replicated, despite not keeping with the classic recipe. This does not worry the chef. On the contrary, he is "proud" to have created a trend. For many, his spicy sauce has no competition. In fact, the recipe has remained unchanged since they started serving it a little over a decade ago.

"I can't take them off," Del Río told SUR when interviewed about the dish which is inspired by another of Chicote's dishes with roasted carrots and snap peas served with mayonnaise sauce. Meanwhile, Rui Junior finished off his patatas bravas with the perfect complement: kimchi, a Korean vegetable fermentation that gives it the "power". It comes out of the syphon in the form of foam and is rounded off with sesame and shichimi (a Japanese spice). This is how Óleo crowns a daily poached potato of the sour variety, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The patatas bravas of Tragatá are competing in the traditional category of the competition.
The patatas bravas of Tragatá are competing in the traditional category of the competition.

The patatas bravas of Tragatá (in Ronda) will compete in the traditional category against those of Restaurante Santerra (Madrid) and Informal (Barcelona). Daniel Moreno's recipe, with its double sauce, will win over the most demanding palates. With it, the sister establishment of the Bardal restaurant - with two Michelin stars - is aspiring to add a new award to its trophy cabinet. They are a winning hands down when it comes to competitions. So much so that there is no competition in which they have participated in which they have left empty-handed. They won the second best Iberian ham croquette at Madrid Fusión in 2021, best ensaladilla rusa in Spain at Gastronomika in San Sebastián, best red tuna dish at the Chef Balfegó competition and their latest achievement: first place at the sixth World Tripe Championship held at the La Guisandera de Piñera restaurant in Madrid last year.

These are the finalists:

 Creative patatas bravas category: 

- Alejandro Ortega: Restaurant Vint, Majorca

- Sergio del Río: Oleo Restaurant, Malaga

- Gonzalo Silla: Restaurant Vuelve Carolina, Valencia

- José Luis Bonilla Tipan: Restaurant Lume, Santiago de Compostela

 Traditional patatas bravas category:

- Miguel Carretero: Santerra Restaurant, Madrid

- Daniel Moreno: Restaurant Tragatá, Malaga

- Alejandro Loaiza: Informal Restaurant, Barcelona

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