San Sebastian, Spain
Andoni Luis Aduriz
What's it all about? Mugaritz is playful, avant garde and highly innovative. It’s a creative dining experience developed by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz aimed to open minds; Aduriz freely admits that not all of his plates are designed to be enjoyed by diners – a gelatinous pork tendon arriving mid-way through the experience is a case in point. Dishes on the 20-to-30-course menu – which change throughout its eight-month season – bear emotive names such as How Long a Kiss Lasts or Depends On How I Look At It.
What’s the vibe? Thought-provoking. After a 20-minute drive from San Sebastian to Errenteria, enjoy your first snacks in the garden before moving into the traditional Basque country house, complete with wooden beams and walls, to sample a mind-blowing array of aromas, flavours, textures, temperatures and even sounds.
Typical dishes: Expect the unexpected: Mugaritz is not for the faint-hearted. Drawing from a rich tapestry of Basque ingredients, Aduriz turns them on their head to serve crab upon a frozen tongue, raw pork heart or bellota ham plated on musical dishware that’s perfectly timed so all diners eat and orchestrate together.
Other ventures: Andoni published Mugaritz Puntos de Fuga (Planeta Gastro, 2019), overhauling the classic recipe book format to prove that creativity is the finest ingredient.
Worth noting: Before the Mugaritz season kicks off every April, Luis Aduriz holds a lottery to invite 10 diners to go behind the scenes of the latest menu.
Little extras: Don’t be afraid to ask the service staff for a kitchen tour of the pristine space. The brigade welcomes interaction with the dining room.