Marbella might have lost its iconic Michelin three-star restaurant but the Málaga culinary world has been compensated with two new distinctions.
Shortly after the annual Michelin star gala presentation (for Spain and Portugal) in Lisbon last November, when the Dani García Restaurant in Puente Romano (Marbella) received the highest honour (a third star), chef Dani García made the shock announcement that he would be closing the establishment 12 months later. His plan, he said, was to focus on other gastronomic challenges and passions not associated with the pressures of maintaining Michelin-star status.
The restaurant officially closed on 16 November with a “Last Dinner” that paid tribute to his two decades as Málaga’s most celebrated chef: securing a first star for Tragabuches in Ronda in 2000, at 25 years of age; awarded one then two stars for Calma (2007 and 2010) after he returned to Marbella; retaining two stars (2014) for his eponymous Marbella establishment, and achieving the pinnacle of Michelin recognition last year.
Among the 90 family, friends and colleagues enjoying his “Madre” menu were Ferrán Adrià, founder of the innovative former world number one restaurant, El Bulli (now closed and converted into a gastronomic “laboratory” foundation); and Ángel León, the renowned “chef of the sea” whose Aponiente restaurant in El Puerto de Santa María (near Cádiz) also has three Michelin stars.
Baton Passed on in Málaga
While García heads off to run his other Marbella projects, BIBO Andalucian Brasserie & Tapas and Lobito de Mar, and BIBO Madrid, transform the former Michelin-star restaurant into a steakhouse and continue presenting a daily cookery show on Spanish TV, two other local restaurants have each received a second star for the 2020 guide.
During this year’s gala ceremony in Sevilla, it was announced that Bardal (in Ronda) and Skina (Marbella) had both been upgraded to two stars. For Bardal, run by chef Benito Gómez, success has been meteoric: the restaurant opened just three years ago and received its first star in November 2017. Skina has taken a bit longer: restaurateur and sommelier Marcos Granda opened the establishment in 2004 and it received its first star five years later.
Elsewhere on the Costa del Sol, Sollo (set up by the “caviar chef” Diego Gallegos in Benalmádena), José Carlos García Restaurant (Málaga city) and El Lago and Messina (both in Marbella) maintained their one-star status. The news was less pleasing, however, for Kabuki Raw in the Finca Cortesín resort (Casares), which lost its single star.
Visitors arriving at (or leaving from) Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport can savour the Dani García culinary magic at his DeliBar.