Quique Dacosta at El Poblet in Dénia
Self-taught chef Quique Dacosta, 34, has earned a reputation as Spain’s leading young talent—and recently, a second Michelin star—by subjecting obscure local flora and marine fauna to truly alchemical treatments. Lately he’s been experimenting with aloe vera, which he discovered has miraculous gelling and emulsifying properties; playing with “mineralization,” using metals and minerals to create tour-de-force dishes like oysters Guggenheim Bilbao, designed to look like the museum; and doing fascinating things with rice. (Spain’s Next Food Mecca, February 2007; Spain’s Top Food Critic Tells All, February 2005)
DETAILS Carretera Las Marinas Kilometer 3, Dénia; 011-34-96-578-4179.
Javier Andrés at La Sucursal in Valencia
At La Sucursal, a minimalist restaurant inside the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, chef Javier Andrés has put together a menu that’s modern but not wildly avant-garde. One signature dish: rice—creamy like a risotto, studded with clams and lightly infused with ginger, then concealed under paper-thin petals of octopus carpaccio. Andrés also helped invent a miracle pressure cooker that vacuum-cooks ingredients at a low temperature with very low levels of oxygen, then infuses them with a poaching liquid. (Spain’s Next Food Mecca, Feb 2007)
DETAILS Avenida Guillem de Castro 118, Valencia; 011-34-96-374-6665.
Raúl Aleixandre at Ca’Sento in Valencia
At Ca’Sento, this 36-year-old El Bulli alumnus is working wonders with Valencia’s luminous fish. Although Raúl Aleixandre’s mother, Mari, is one of Valencia’s great traditional cooks, he takes a perverse pleasure in defying her rules—he once served an inverted paella, with the socarrat (the crunchy layer of rice that sticks to the pan) presented on top as a tissue-thin hat. (Spain’s Next Food Mecca, February 2007)
DETAILS Calle Méndez Núñez 17, Valencia; 011-34-96-330-1775.