Updated: Feb 22
- Dacosta at the Deessa Restaurant, Mandarin Oriental Ritz.
With his namesake three-Michelin-star restaurant in sunny Denia, a fashionable paella restaurant in London and a role heading up dining at Madrid's most celebrated hotel - The Ritz - Quique Dacosta is at the top of his game.
He may be from Extremadura, but Valencia claims the award-winning chef as their own, thanks to his role leading the renaissance of Valencian cuisine, his celebration of the paella and his work to put Spain's third city on the culinary map.
It all began in the kitchens of a small pizza restaurant in Denia, the charming coastal town on the coast of Alicante, where Dacosta washed dishes and began to learn about the culinary world aged 14.
Just two years later, he started working as a kitchen porter at El Poblet, a family-owned seafood restaurant in the same town. And while he explored different culinary influences and led the idea of new Valencian cuisine, it could be said he never left.
Today El Poblet is named Quique Dacosta, the chef's three-Michelin-star restaurant, listed among the 50 best restaurants in the world, and it is the crowning glory of a culinary empire stretching from Denia to Valencia and Madrid to London.
While his trophy cabinet glitters with awards and accolades, Valencia's adopted son continues to focus on crafting unique dishes inspired by tradition, art, and evolution - and accompanied by a splash of genius.
It is no wonder that when Mandarin Oriental undertook the responsibility of renovating Madrid's iconic Ritz hotel, a Belle Époque beauty that first opened in 1910 at the behest of King Alfonso XIII, requested the expertise of Dacosta ahead of its opening in 2021.
Heading up Deessa restaurant, Dacosta created two tasting menus - Historical and Contemporary - and has been awarded a further two Michelin stars for his efforts.
A chef with a cause
Not only has Dacosta built his success at the very same restaurant where he trained, renaming it as Quique Dacosta, he also gave the eatery's original name - El Poblet - to a restaurant in the centre of Valencia city, which now gleams with two Michelin stars.
The chef has never forgotten his roots or left behind the sectors of society that may never grace his tables. He shows us his values by acting as the ambassador for Acción contra el Hambre (action against hunger) and donating a percentage of the proceeds from his cookbook to this organisation, as well as cooking a solidarity menu at all his Valencia restaurants to help combat child malnutrition for Restaurantes contra el Hambre.
Despite Dacosta's rise to fame and recognition, he has never abandoned the community where he became the man he is today. From his Guggenheim Oysters, said to contain actual silver and titanium, to his Ashes Rice, you can find his culinary delights in five sensational Valencia restaurants.
Quique Dacosta Restaurant- Denia
- Restaurant Quique Dacosta in Denia, Alicante.
This restaurant, renamed in 2009 after the chef, is where Dacosta became one of Spain's most successful modern chefs. It is now one of only 11 three Michelin-star restaurants in Spain. Once a simple seaside eatery, the menu now has many edible artworks inspired by the environment of this beautiful coastal town.
- Vuelve Carolina's tropical style interior.
Just two blocks from Plaza del Ayuntamiento and a short walk from Estación del Norte, you'll find Vuelve Carolina. The perfect place for a group of friends, the music and decor of this welcoming restaurant and bar provide a social atmosphere to make everyone feel comfortable and satisfied. Their tapas and drinks menu echo tradition with a unique touch. Try their spicy beetroot bloody marys or fried wild boar ribs with buffalo sauce to see for yourself.
- Two Michelin star restaurant, El Poblet.
El Poblet is located just next to Vuelve Carolina. Luis Valls, who spent almost four years working with Dacosta at the Denia restaurant, heads the kitchen, picking up the passion and innovative thinking that made his tutor so famous. El Poblet’s menus are full of personality and creativity, and you can even add a little more extravagance to your night with a wine experience tailored to your chosen dishes by the sommelier.
Llisa Negra Restaurant, Valencia
- Dacosta's Llisa Negra facade.
Also minutes from Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Llisa Negra promotes a simple and direct cuisine, paying homage to primary materials.
The produce comes straight from la Huerta to the fire, with the menu constantly changing due to seasonal variations in Valencian produce. A comfortable, modern, and welcoming place, Llisa Negra has a cosmopolitan and contemporary feel, perfectly complementing the city outside. We suggest starting with a starter of caramelised ensaladilla rusa or the emulsified shredded spider crab medley before ordering the traditional Valencian paella for the table.
- Tapas preparation at Mercatbar in Valencia.
Located in the fashionable Canovas district, Mercatbar was said to be the first gastro bar to arrive in Valencia when it opened in 2010.
This restaurant and tapas bar offers a more affordable option for those desperate to try Dacosta’s much-praised contributions. Offering a three-course lunchtime menu, a beer pairing menu, a vermutería and a chic interior design, it’s one of the coolest bars in the city for a good reason.
The food scene in Valencia will continue to thrive under his careful guidance, and we can’t wait to see where it goes next.