restaurants + tennis players

Tonight the world's top 50 restaurants were announced for 2011.

In what I shall refer to from now on as the Iberian Effect, Spain has once again made an outsized appearance on a List of The Best in Categories that I Care The Most About. Just like in last year's US Open, when 1/3 of the round of 16 was from Spain, this wonderful peninsula is dominating the top 10 restaurants in the world. Three of the restaurants in the top 10 are located in the country known as Spain (the USA following with two top 10 placers, Alinea and Per Se). They are:

  • El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain) I don't know much about this, the no. 2 restaurant in the world. According to the website: "El Celler de Can Roca is possibly the least well-known restaurant to have ever held the much-vaunted number-two spot on the list, a quirk which, far from being a hindrance, has allowed the three brothers Roca to get on with what they do best. Their 'emotional cuisine' with different ingredients and combinations can trigger childhood memories or take you back to a specific place in your past"
  • Mugaritz (San Sebastián/Errentería, Spain) The recently reopened restaurant down the street from my house is now the no. 3 restaurant in the world. I've seen Andoni Luis Aduriz, the chef, speak on various occasions...he's super meticulous, thoughtful, and serious. Night and day with the other Grandes in the area. According to the website: "Mugaritz has two dégustation menus that change daily according to what chef Andoni Luis Aduriz can get his hands on at the street markets and what's growing in the restaurant's herb garden.Whatever happens, you can expect to sample the team's intricate dishes that seek to reconnect diners with nature. His self-dubbed 'techno-emotional' approach sees the appliance of science and a rigorous understanding of ingredients jostle with produce-driven cuisine.
  • Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain) I've eaten (what I would call up to now the most special meal of my life) at this temple of gastronomy, which actually used to be a bodega and is now the no. 8 restaurant in the world. They manage to run a spectacular restaurant and serve as the face of Basque gastronomy. According to the website: "If you like your food pretty, this is the place. Father-and-daughter team Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina's plates look fantastic: striking, colourful and imaginative, yet for the most part unfussy. The pair run the kitchen as equals and are a major presence in the dining room. Like the food, it pulls off the neat trick of balancing tradition and innovation, with warm, familiar service."

And if it weren't for Celler de Can Roca, all the restaurants in the Top 50 from the country known as Spain would be Basque. And less than 60 miles from my house. There must be something in the water (besides lots of delicious edible sea creatures, which certainly doesn't hurt ).

Update coming soon from Mugaritz...going this week!!!!!