Fine dining to rustic: La Rioja’s most exciting tables
Most people come to la Rioja for the wine. However, the region also offers culinary marvels that you will enjoy and cherish throughout your stay. We actually think the savory memories of some will last a lifetime. Here is our list of best places to eat and drink in la Rioja.
Best fine dining restaurants in Rioja:
El Portal at Echaurren Hotel, Ezcaray, Spain: You don’t come across many Michelin star restaurants in la Rioja and this is the only two Michelin star restaurant in the region. Founded in 2002, it is led by chef Francis Paniego. Paniego has been also awarded Premio Nacional de Gastronomia al Mejor Chefe de Cocina. If you are interested in innovative and creative gastronomy, this may be your best choice in Rioja wine country.
Restaurant Hotel Viura, Villabuena de Álava, Spain: Although we are generally not very fond of hotel restaurants, this one exceeds our expectations. The sleek design with barrels hanging from the walls and glass windows overlooking the green garden makes the atmosphere interesting. You can choose from an a la carte or tasting menus. All meals end with a delicious box of chocolates, a treat you don’t find elsewhere in Rioja.
Venta Moncalvillo, Daroca de Rioja, Spain: This restaurant owns a unique cellar, thanks to its award-winning sommelier owner Carlos Echapresto. The chefs add a modern twist to the traditional Rioja cuisine. This 1-Star Michelin restaurant has two different tasting menus and a la carte option.
Best traditional restaurants in Rioja:
Restaurante Amelibia, Laguardia, Spain: This traditional yet classy restaurant is just outside of the historic walled city of Laguardia. It has stunning views that overlook the Rioja region as a whole. The food, particularly the fish, is immaculate. Their wine list is also impressive for a traditional restaurant.
Asador Alameda, Fuenmayor, Spain: This Asador is famous for its charcoal grilled steaks, more particularly for the T-bone steaks.
Hector Oribe, Paganos, Spain: This is another great option for traditional Riojan food. It is in the small village of Paganos and serves seasonal dishes such as artichokes stuffed with lamb.
El Cuartito, Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, Spain: This is as informal as a real family restaurant, although it is situated in Hotel Echaurren. The mother runs the kitchen and the aim is to bring back your childhood memories of happy family meals.
Best tapas (pinchos) restaurants in Rioja:
Las Cubanas, Logrono, Spain: This is a good starting point to discover Calle Laurel, the narrow street in Logrono famous for its tapas (pinchos) bars lining the two sides of the street. This road is always boisterous and fun. We particularly recommend this tapas place for its roasted pork skewers.
Tastavin, Logrono, Spain: It has an extensive wine selection. There are good seafood tapas such as tuna skewers, grilled octopus and scallops.
Umm by Alex Garcia, Logrono, Spain: This place has a more modern and upmarket feel and there are interesting tapas that you are unlikely to find elsewhere.
Best-kept secret restaurant in Rioja:
Asador Jose Mari, Rivas de Tereso, La Rioja, Spain: Jose Mari is a rural restaurant situated just on the outskirts of Sierra Cantabria mountains. It has great views of the Rioja valley. It is cozy, warm and serves delicious food. Particularly, the artichoke dishes and chuletons (big lamb chops) are to die for.
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