Cuisine as an artistic creation to delight the senses –this is the way gastronomy is seen in Spain. A range of five-star culinary attractions offering a world of tastes, presentation, aroma, textures, colour... Dishes by chefs such as Adrià, Arzak, Berasategui, Ruscalleda, Santamaría, Subijana and Roca have placed Spain at the forefront of international haute cuisine.


The new Spanish chefs are artists in the kitchen, as is amply manifested by their enormous international renown. Ferrán Adrià's flagship "El Bulli" was voted the best restaurant in the world a total of five times by the prestigious "Restaurant Magazine", and today there are three restaurants in the top ten ("El Celler de Can Roca" -2nd- "Mugaritz" -3rd- and "Arzak" -8th-) and as many as seven restaurants have been awarded the maximum rating by the influential Michelin Guide.


The hallmark of the work of these new culinary artists is its originality and innovation, combining the traditional Mediterranean cuisine with original and creative ideas. The importance of this new cuisine in Spanish culture is such that the chef José Andrés was awarded the Spanish Order of Arts and Letters in 2010. International prestige


There are many restaurants in Spain which have been distinguished for their outstanding quality and creativity.


Throughout the country there are around 150 Michelin-starred establishments, seven of which have been awarded the maximum distinction: one in the Region of Valencia, two in Catalonia, and four in the Basque Country.


"Quique Dacosta" is the restaurant in the Region of Valencia which enjoys the greatest renown. Its cuisine can be defined as being in the gastronomic avant-garde, but with roots in the land where it is situated, that is to say in Dénia, in Alicante.


The restaurant bears the name of the head chef. In Catalonia diners can enjoy the restaurants of "Celler Can Roca" and "Sant Pau", in the province of Girona. In the first, located in the city of Girona, the Roca brothers use their culinary creativity to convey a range of emotions. Carme Ruscalleda, on the other hand, offers a modern take on traditional Catalan gastronomy in her restaurant "Sant Pau", with views over the sea and located in Sant Pol de Mar. In the Basque Country, there are four outstanding options for enjoying Basque signature cuisine: "Akelarre" and "Arzak", in San Sebastián, "Martín Berasategui", in Lasarte (Guipúzcoa), and "Azurmendi", in Larrabetzu (Vizcaya).


The first restaurant is the creation of Pedro Subijana, and offers an experience for all the five senses in its diningroom with its spectacular views.


Meanwhile, the restaurant of José María Arzak was the first in Spain to receive three Michelin stars (in 1989). Martín Berasategui, on the other hand, is one of the main exponents of modern Basque cuisine. Finally the restaurant "Azurmendi" run by the chef Eneko Atxa is on a constant quest to convey pleasure through cuisine. There are many other restaurants that have attracted international attention. They include "Atrio" in Cáceres; "Calima" in Marbella (Malaga); "Casa Marcial" in Parres (Asturias); "Enoteca", "Moments", "Lasarte" and "Àbac" in Barcelona; "Can Fabes" in Sant Celoni (province of Barcelona); "Les Cols" in Olot, and "Miramar" in Llança (both in Girona); and "Ramón Freixa", "Santceloni", "Sergi Arola Gastro", "La Terraza del Casino", "Diverxo" and "El Club Allard" in Madrid.


The El Bulli of the future Ferrán Adrià has for many years been the standard-bearer of Spanish haute cuisine, and his restaurant, El Bulli, has been considered by many to be the best in the world. However, in July 2011 he closed down the restaurant to take on a new and ambitious project: the "El Bulli Foundation".


The aim is to create a centre for gastronomic creativity in order to spark new ideas in the kitchen and to share them at the international level.