Culinary hotspot: Spain’s top five most sustainable fine-dining restaurants

Culinary hotspot: Spain’s top five most sustainable fine-dining restaurants

Culinary hotspot: Spain’s top five most sustainable fine-dining restaurants. Image: Casa Albets

Spain is one of the world’s culinary hotspots, with Spanish food known and loved by people all over the globe.

In this year’s renowned World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, Spain was announced as the home of a spectacular seven of the top 50 restaurants in the world, with three restaurants in the top five alone.

Nowadays it seems increasingly important for restaurants to provide more environmentally conscious and socially sustainable ways of dining, and this is reflected in the food and restaurant industry in Spain.

Spain is leading the way for sustainable approaches to food, and the Aponiente restaurant in Cadiz, Spain, was recognised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (in partnership with the World’s 50 Best) with the prestigious title of Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2022.

Below are five sustainable, fine-dining restaurants in Spain that are recognised with a MICHELIN Green Star, an award celebrating both a restaurant’s gastronomic and sustainable credentials.

Aponiente (El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz) – Holds 3 MICHELIN Stars and 1 MICHELIN Green Star – Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2022

Situated in a 19th-century sandstone tide mill, the flagship restaurant of Angel Leon joyfully celebrates Spanish seafood, raising it to remarkable heights.

Leon, who is nicknamed ‘the Chef of the Sea’, combines renewable and sustainable methods with sheer creative flair to create unforgettable seafood tasting menus. His two-chapter approach (Salty Sea and Sweet Sea) takes diners on an adventure that may include such produce as cuttlefish, oysters, sea snails and razor clams, as well as the surprising ‘sea eel mochi’ and ‘fish roe bubble tea’.

Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, near Bilbao) –  Holds 3 MICHELIN Stars and 1 MICHELIN Green Star – Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2018

Eneko Atxa’s guiding principle is that humankind should safeguard and protect their environment, and this philosophy is visible through every element of Azurmendi.

Celebrating the best of Basque cuisine and culture, Azurmendi is sustainability-focused from the very architecture of its unique bioclimatic building to the complementary bar of recycled soap that guests will take away with them.

The seasonal Adarrak menu includes courses such as the ‘Welcome Picnic’, and includes dishes integrating local produce, meat and cooking methods, elevated to extraordinary levels.

Narbasu (Cereceda, near Oviedo) – Holds 1 MICHELIN Green Star

Occupying a 14th-century Palacio de Rubianes, Narbasu (the restaurant of the hotel of the same name) is famed for its kitchen gardens and focus on working with local producers to obtain exceptional food.

Nestled in the heart of the Asturian mountains, Narbasu has an emphasis on both social and environmental sustainability, championing seasonal, local cuisine and Asturian heritage; the restaurant offers tasting menus centred around traditional classics and ingredients with a modern twist (and an optional cider pairing!).

Refectorio (Sardon de Duero, near Valladolid) – Holds 1 MICHELIN Star and 1 MICHELIN Green Star

Within the striking setting of a 12th-century monastery (now Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine), a meal at Refectorio (meaning ‘refectory’, the traditional term for a monastic dining hall), is truly an unforgettable experience.

Chef Marc Segarra has a particular interest in promoting local wines, offering extraordinary pairings that make good use of the monastery’s own cellars and local vineyards.

The restaurant itself has a strong emphasis on sustainable practices, including growing its own produce in its market garden, promoting biodiversity through beekeeping and conserving the local environment by replanting pine trees.

After being greeted with a glass of local sparkling wine, guests will be presented with a choice of wonderful tasting menus, with dishes reflecting local history and culture and including such options as Castilian stews, monkfish with agristada sauce and suckling lamb served with alboronía.

Casa Albets (Lladurs, near Solsona, Catalonia) – Holds a Bib Gourmand and 1 MICHELIN Green Star

This completely vegan restaurant is not just for meat-free diners alone; its sumptuous plant-based menu offers something for carnivores and vegans alike.

Situated on a historic farm, parts of which date back to the 11th century, this rustic restaurant uses produce from its own kitchen garden to create memorable and creative meat-free dishes, presented beautifully.

Casa Albets rejoices in traditional Catalan produce, serving reasonably-priced tasting menus featuring vegan takes on both Spanish and more international dishes, including carrot ajoblanco, seitan with green ‘mole’ and Xixona gingerbread.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere north of Alicante on the Costa Blanca with her family for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking. Anna is a news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in the Costa Blanca South area and Almeria. Share your story with her by emailing