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The best places to eat in Andalucia from chef Angel Leon

Travelers looking for a three-star Michelin meal in Andalucia will inevitably end up at Aponiente.

It is the only restaurant in the region to have this distinction.

The restaurant, located in the heart of the Bahia de Cadiz Natural Park, is run by chef Angel Leon.

Unlike most Michelin-starred restaurants where the seasons inform the menu, Leon’s muses are discarded seafood, like fish eyeballs, and unseen harvests from the ocean floor, like seagrass and rice. of sea.

Ham in Aponiente.

Alvaro Fernandez Prieto

Despite all the culinary accolades Leon has earned, his trips outside Andalucia are surprisingly few and far between.

He knows the area – and when asked where to eat in southern Spain, he offers the following recommendations.

Ronda: Bardal

A restaurant with two Michelin stars in the town of Ronda, Bardal is owned and operated by Catalan Benito Gomez.

Benito Gomez de Bardal.

Source: Bardal

Gomez was born to Andalusian parents who ran a restaurant in Barcelona. He draws on Andalusian and Catalan cuisine to serve what Léon describes as “the Ronda region on a plate”. Favorites include grilled red snapper with chamomile and chamomile butter as well as seaweed cured goat with seaweed juice and sides of the animal’s shoulder, brain and kidney.

Jaen: Baga

Chef Pedro Sanchez opened Baga in 2017, after cutting his teeth at Casa Antonio, Château de Bagnols and Martin Berasategui restaurant.

The quisquilla of Motril de Baga.

Source: Baga

With just 16 seats, the only Michelin-starred restaurant may be small, but it manages to combine minimalist ingredients and innovation.

Highlights of the menu are the partridge escabèche (partridge marinated in vinegar and loaded with herbs and spices), the quisquilla de Motril (prawns from the town of Motril served in a mushroom broth) and the skin of rusty pear and smoked eel.

Fuengirola: Los Marinos Jose

Los Marinos Jose in Fuengirola, a town on the Costa del Sol, is what Leon describes as a “seafood temple”.

Jose Sanchez and his family have run this spectacular restaurant for over 30 years. In addition to the restaurant, they own a boat which they use to fish daily. Seafood goes straight from the boat to the kitchen to make sure it’s fresh.

Bolonia: Restaurante Las Rejas

Located on Bolonia beach in Cardiz, Las Rejas is a “chiringuito” (or beach establishment) that serves traditional cuisine in a unique setting.

Carlos and his brothers make customers feel at home with comfort food like shrimp omelette, lard tuna with roasted peppers, boiled white shrimp and calamari croquetas. The borriquete, a fish from the Atlantic Ocean, is a highlight of the menu.

Arcos de la Frontera: Horno Artesa

Horno Artesa is a bakery located in the town of Arcos de la Frontera, gateway to the “Route of the White Villages”, which winds from the provinces of Cadiz to Malaga.

It is the only bakery in the province listed in “La Ruta del Buen Pan”, an annual selection of a hundred artisan bakeries in Spain. Run by Paco Ruiz Salguero, the bakery’s malt toast is legendary, as are its pastries and specialty breads with raisins and nuts.

Jerez: Bar Maty

According to Leon, Bar Maty is arguably the “best bar in the world” for eating fried fish washed down with beer or wine.

It’s a small establishment with only one bar and several high tables outside. The menu features shrimp salad, fried choquitos (small calamari) and boqueroncitos (anchovies), frigate tuna and grilled mackerel, but the star is the fried fish, prepared by Antonio Gonzalez. He runs the place but always makes time to chat and joke with the customers.

El Puerto de Santa Maria: Churros Charo

Open daily from 8 a.m. to noon, Churros Charo is a market stall in the town of El Puerto de Santa Maria that is run by 80-year-old Charo Salguero Venegas (also known as Churros’ grandmother). She started making churros at the age of 13, carrying on a tradition started by her grandfather.

The stall serves churros finos (thin churros) and churros gordos (fatty churros), which can be had with coffee or chocolate at one of the nearby bars.

The Taberna of Chef del Mar

Located on the original site where Leon founded Aponiente, La Taberna del Chef del Mar is an informal tavern in El Puerto de Santa Maria with friendly service by Leon himself.

La Taberna del Chef del Mar serves “easygoing cuisine with a sea soul,” according to its website.

Source: Alvaro Fernandez Prieto

The cuisine is funky and caters to locals and tourists alike with Aponiente signatures like grilled sardines with eggplant, sea charcuterie and plankton risotto.


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