Cantabria: a universe of Michelin Stars

Cantabria: a universe of Michelin Stars. Spain’s largest gastronomy festival took place on 28th November, bringing together the chefs with the best reputation for national cuisine, all with one award in mind: the Michelin Stars.

Spain’s largest gastronomy festival took place on 28th November, bringing together the chefs with the best reputation for national cuisine, all with one award in mind: the Michelin Stars. This gala recognises the best chefs and restaurants in the country, and it is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most reputable gastronomy awards.

In the group photo taken at the end of the gala, featuring only the chefs in Spain who hold three Michelin Stars, our region, Cantabria, is represented with its own name, Jesús Sánchez. The chef at Cenador de Amós, in Villaverde de Pontones, is one of the fifteen privileged restaurants, and has been awarded three Michelin Stars in 2024. Our region currently has four restaurants with one Michelin Star, one with three Michelin Stars, two with a Green Star and eight have been awarded the Bib Gourmand, which highlights the quality-price ratio of their menus.

Certainly, we believe this universe of stars deserves this post to be dedicated to each and every one of them. Do they ring a bell? Do you want to discover where to find them?  Come with us to find out. Will you join us?

We will kick off with the aforementioned Cenador de Amós, in Villaverde de Pontones, where chef Jesús Sánchez is the life and soul of this kitchen, boasting three Michelin Stars and one Green Star. Cooking is his passion, or, as he says, “it’s a way of life”, which has led him to become the owner and chef at this restaurant for almost the last 30 years. Ambassador of Cantabria around the world, his cooking is centred on elevating regional produce to culinary heights.

Of the four restaurants that hold a star, two are in Santander, El Serbal, located right in the heart of Sardinero with stunning views, and Casona del Judío, located in a stunning 19th century mansion with Indian architecture.

El Serbal, focuses on making sure the customer is happy and looking forward to coming back again. The menu showcases Cantabria’s wonderful fish and aims to give even more visibility to local produce, in particular the succulent meat from the Tudanca cattle.

The Casona del Judío, with a Michelin Star and a Green Star, headed by Sergio Bastard, is focused on local produce, as well as seaweed and herbs from the Cantabrian coast. Here you will come across innovative creations including Salmuria, a unique anchovy brine that is bottled in small jars and used predominantly in sauces to enhance the flavour and add saltiness.

Moving on to the east, specifically to Hoznayo, home to La Bicicleta restaurant. Located in a renovated 18th century mountain manor house, this project, led by chef Eduardo Quintana, allows customers to tuck into modern and contemporary dishes that reinterpret Cantabrian and Basque tradition, boasting significant creativity as part of honest work with select products, organic where possible, and many of which come from the family’s own allotment, as well as a very personal travelling touch.

We have come to our last stop, Ampuero, located just a few metres from the Santuario de La Bien Aparecida, the venerated patron saint of Cantabria, where chef Ignacio Solana set up an annexe to the family’s restaurant at the end of 2007, before converting it into a restaurant with views over the valley, and a Michelin Star to its name. Solana restaurant is a fusion of tradition and modernity, boasting contemporary cooking with strong traditional roots, faithful to both sea and mountains, but with nods to tradition and an ongoing romance with seasonable vegetables from the Bajo Asón allotments.

Moreover, this list includes the representation of the Michelin guide in Cantabria, with the addition of the eight BIB GOURMANDS. Which have been chosen for 2024?

First, we must be clear about the concept. What is a Bib Gourmand? It gets its name from Bibendum, the Michelin man, and is a recognition awarded to the establishments with the best quality-price ratio. In other words, those that offer a complete meal with a reasonable maximum price are highlighted in the Michelin guide with a special award: the Bib Gourmand. Bib Gourmand restaurants do not follow an established formula: they are all unique and can vary significantly from one place to another. However, what they do have in common is their cooking style: simpler, recognisable and easy to enjoy. These restaurants will leave you feeling satisfied having enjoyed delicious food at a reasonable price. This award may not be as well-known as the MICHELIN Star, but it is becoming increasingly popular among visitors and friends of the guide.

The Bib Gourmand restaurants in Cantabria are Cadelo, Umma and Agua Salada in Santander; Prada a Tope in Treceño, Pan de Cuco in Suesa, Hostería Calvo in Puente San Miguel, El Oso in Cosgaya, and La Cartería in Cartes.

Overall, as you can see, Cantabria is a universe of Michelin Stars, where local produce and flavours are essentials at the heart of its cuisine. Have you had one of its gastronomic experiences?  If you have not yet discovered it, come and visit next year. You will love it.

Come and enjoy the Gastronomy in Cantabria, more to discover.