Gastronomy in Asturias. Cooks who leave their mark.
Chefs whomake their mark
The decorated chefs of Asturias have history, in many cases they are children or grandchildren of hoteliers and they cook traditional cuisine well. Casa Gerardo, where Pedro and Marcos Morán officiate, have behind them over a century of history, fabada and arroz con leche alternate with modern and avant-garde dishes, with an exquisite respect for the product and with constant innovations on dishes or special products such as red mullet, turnip or shrimp. Pedro led a generation of chefs who put Asturian Gastronomy on the map and his son, who now evaluates restaurants in London and Brussels, gave a new drive to the most creative line of the restaurant.
Nacho Manzano, the most prize-winning, runs a family restaurant near the Sueve Range and Les Arriondes/Arriondas. It is self-taught, amazing and hyper creative. It is an indisputable reference of Asturian Gastronomy, which was definitively uncovered in 2010 after the achievement of the second star for Casa Marcial, the head office, the family manor, the place where three decades ago his parents served arroz con pitu, caza and fabada that of course continues to exist alongside Nacho's most avant-garde creations. Then the Gijón adventure arrived, which had already exceeded ten years of life, where his sister Esther officiates who also boasts a Michelin star in the restaurant La Salgar in Gijón/Xixón.
Not far from them, without leaving that small town of Parres famous for having a star for each two thousand inhabitants, is José Antonio Campoviejo and his Corral del Indianu. Here there are no dynasties or previous training, beyond his experience in the Spanish, barely metres from his current location, which he opened in 1996. Among their special products are salmon, oysters, foie and cheese, current in a ripening period, with very rounded and complex dishes.
Gonzalo Pañeda share a passion for foie gras, and are also passionate about urchins and lamb. Solid, studious and tireless chef, he defends the star with the same naturalness as when his personal project started with Toni Pérez in La Solana, in Mareo. They now direct Auga, in Gijón Marina. And if there is someone who grew up by the sea, watching lobsters, sea bass and red mullet go past, three of their preferred products today, that would be Isaac Loya. He grew up among clothes, tables and chairs, he played with the room but his shared vocation he opted for the kitchen. Today he leads one of the restaurants that best product of the Cantabrian works, with an exquisite respect for the products. Navega enters traditional preperations inherited like the unbeatable lubina al champagne and more creative proposals but always with rigour and seriousness. The visits from the dining room of the Real Balneario de Salinas is among the best in Spain.
The two last incorporations to the starry are Jaime Uz, of the restaurant Arbidel and Ricardo Sotres, of El Retiro. Jaime's career has moved from less to more, calmly. After running his own business in Oviedo and trying to show the chef that he had within, he re-found himself in Ribadesella/Ribeseya, where he started to practise a quality-price relation cooking, with menus that straight away received the favour of the public and the critics.
Ricardo was head chef of Casa Marcial and with the prudence that characterises it, he started his adventure in the family business of Pancar, in which first alternated a village bar with abundant presence of parishioners with a tasting menu dared and balanced at the back, to leave a step after a deep reform that paired a more complex and worked menu. The fact is that now he is a chef with a lot of projection, constantly advancing and who has not yet reached his limit.
They are elegant restaurants, with maintained silverware, places where the waiters distill professionalism and customer service has a special importance. If you want to feel special, choose one of the ‘Mesas de Asturias, Gastronomic Excellence'. You will get it right!
Mesas de Asturias - Gastronomic Excellence -
This is the quality mark that shelters some of the best restaurants of this region, distributed across the whole region, accommodating different styles and cuisines. There are classic ones, modern, cosmopolitan, town ones but in all of them a defense of the local product prevails and an attentive client service. To belong to this select group, you have to pass different tests that put to test the customer service and the quality of the food.
Each year there are more chosen ones, because the ‘Asturian Cider' is seeing how its presence is being multiplied in the cider bars and also its demand, with which it is hoped that this framework, born in 2017, has a promising future and serves as a reference to the visitors at the time of choosing in which typical establishment of the region to lunch or dine.
Sidrerías de Asturias - Natural quality -
Lacking was a list of sidrerías where a special care in the treatment is required, a quality in the cooking and a care in the details. The same system that was valid for ‘Mesas de Asturias' was personalised for the temples of cider and thus Sidrerías de Asturias was born. In all of them, it has to have cider with Designation of Origin, staff specialising in the pouring of the regional liquid and a menu with predominantly Asturian products.
These are the defenders of the traditional recipes of the region. They are woman who defend stew cooking, casseroles and typical products of our food culture, that they and try to preserve so as not to lose the amount and quality that we can find in this region. They have just reached twenty years of history and are achieving renew and integrate young feminine values of cooking. Currently, it is made up of over 40 guisanderas, many of them with their own restaurant, including mothers and daughters that continue the dynasty. There are so many of them that if you want to get to know them, the best thing to do is visit its website: clubdeguisanderas.com
Don't go yet, there's still more
Here some of the well-known faces of Asturian Gastronomy appeared but luckily there are many more. In each corner, in each town, there are houses with fantastic food in which you can also eat well and cheaply. In the main cities we can find several fusions with cuisines from all across the world but always with local products. And then there are a lot of solitary chefs, people who like their work and are over 10 hours a day all year in their little kitchen which they do really well. The Asturian gastronomic panorama is much wider and richer and with authentic specialists in a dish, in a menu, in a season like hunting or mushrooms...definitively, where ever you go, almost sure that you will eat well, very well.