Asador Alameda

Located in the historic town of Fuenmayor, and just a 10-minute drive from the Marques de Riscal in Elciego, Alameda is one of the most famous restaurants in Rioja. Spain’s steak culture is on full display at this family-owned asador, which boasts a menu that includes such specialties as ox chop and chuleta (thick-cut T-bone steak). Slowly cooked over a wood fire, the meat is typically from older animals, which gives it a delicious flavor. For non-carnivores, there is a nice selection of local fish, including grilled turbot, the other signature dish here.

Echaurren La Tradición

La Tradición—which shares a kitchen with El Portal— is the original restaurant started by Francis Paniego’s mother, Marisa Sánchez. A star in her own right, Marisa Sanchez was anointed the Best Cuisine Chef by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy in 1987 and again in 2008. As its name implies, La Tradición serves classic dishes including an outstanding stew of monkfish, clams and chickpeas that pairs perfectly with a crispy loaf of bread.

Indagare Tip: Although Hotel Echaurren is a 40-minute drive from Rioja’s main attractions, it is a worthwhile detour for foodies.

Dinning Area at El Portal,  Rioja, Spain

El Portal

Located a bit off the beaten path in the tiny resort town of Ezcaray, El Portal is one of the two main restaurants in the family-run, boutique Echaurren hotel. Helmed by Francis Paniego, who also oversees the restaurant at Marques de Riscal, El Portal has the distinction of being the first restaurant in Rioja to earn a Michelin star (it earned its first in 2012 and a second in 2014). The restaurant’s sleek, minimalist décor is the perfect back drop for the sublime creations of the kitchen. Perfect for a special occasion, this restaurant has two seasonal, multi-course tasting menus.

Indagare Tip: Although Hotel Echaurren is a 40-minute drive from Rioja’s main attractions, it is a worthwhile detour for foodies.

Interiors at Restaurante Marques de Riscal, Rioja, Spain

Restaurante Marques de Riscal

Dining in the signature restaurant at the gorgeous, contemporary Marques de Riscal is a must, whether you are staying at the hotel or not. The kitchen is overseen by Rioja’s sole Michelin-starred chef, Francis Paniego, and turns out exquisite, innovative dishes (a recent meal included Norway lobster carpaccio on a tartar of tomato, white garlic and red wine caviar). There are several menus available, including an a la carte selection and two tasting menus.

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