|Aponiente's listing in the Michelin online guide, showing the pescatarian restaurant's coveted three-star ranking.|
When the Michelin stars for Spain and Portugal in 2018 were announced earlier this week, there was some exciting news for Andalucia: the region added to its tally in the most impressive and prestigious way possible.
We now have our first three-star establishment: Aponiente by Angel Leon, in El Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz). The ground-breaking "Chef del Mar" specialises in using high-tech, innovative techniques to create dishes from an astonishing variety of marine ingredients, including fish often overlooked by others, such as plankton sponge cake and seafood chorizo.
Leon now joins the hallowed ranks of just 11 chefs in Spain and Portugal who bear the triple crown; to put this into context, the UK only has five three-starred restaurants.
As the Michelin guide puts it:
"Immerse yourself in the fantasy culinary world of Angel Leon, a gastronomic visionary.
He has taken his cooking into unchartered territory thanks to his prodigious technical ability,
boundless creativity and, above all, a constant love affair with the sea."
In addition to this highest of honours, Leon's Alevante restaurant at the nearby Melia Sancti Petri hotel, a five-star GL beach resort in Chiclana de la Frontera, earned its first estrella Michelin.
The other new Michelin star in Andalucia went to Benito Gomez's Bardal in Ronda. This restaurant run by the Barcelonan chef resumes the Michelin tradition in the hilltop town started by two-starred Dani Garcia just over a decade ago - he earned his first star there at Tragabuches in 2000.
As a result, Malaga and Cadiz the two Andalucian provinces which boast most gastronomic gongs, with nine and four respectively. Almeria (province) and Cordoba (city) have two each, while Seville and Huelva regional capitals have one each.
For the 16 restaurants with Michelin stars in Andalucia, see this page.