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Who won Valencia’s first Michelin star? A German chef with a Valencian soul

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

When it comes to Michelin-star restaurants in Valencia, RiFF is the best.

The first person to be awarded the coveted star in 2009 was German-born chef Bernd H. Knöller. He can be credited with kick-starting the now-thriving Valencian gastronomic scene as a pioneer of traditional Valencian cuisine.

Located in the stylish neighbourhood of Gran Via, in the buzzing Eixample district, RiFF is found where chic boutique shops meet tables spilling out onto the pavement outside haute cuisine restaurants. The spacious dining room is bathed with neutral colours, minimalist decor, and soft, warm lighting through the heavy double doors leading in from the street. Check PlagiarismSave

The menu

At RiFF, you can choose from five to nine-course menus, each with wine pairings and vegetarian options.

Those short on time will enjoy the menu del dia option, a popular offering in traditional Spanish restaurants, this time with an innovative edge.

No matter your menu of choice, savour the satisfying crunch of the homemade olive oil bread, fluffy yet crisp, light yet heavy, and seasoned with unrefined salt and sprigs of rosemary

Beauty in the details

Each dish is a brightly coloured symphony served on slate boards or rocks from the nearby beaches.

Enjoy oysters cooked in a seafood broth and sprinkled with rose petals, white asparagus and mushroom concoctions, amber-grilled wild garlic and almond, and giant caridean shrimp floating on a bed of green tomato and pumpkin.

Divine desserts

For dessert, think divine cherry, chocolate crème brûlée, and thick slices of fresh figs swimming in vine ice cream adorned with leaves and pine nuts. A taste of something sweet, and then coffee or liquor to finish the meal.

A German Chef with a Valencian soul

Despite being brought up in colder climates, chef Bernd H. Knöller demonstrates a fiery commitment to the Valencian spirit and the natural bounties of the land. Running a tight ship in the RiFF kitchens, the award-winning restaurant's chef and proprietor also takes the time to speak to the guests, serving the occasional dish and watching the diners’ faces light up in anticipation.

In conversations with guests at the table, his passion for the soils of Valencia becomes apparent. His menus, inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, are heavily influenced by the seasonal produce available, and his commitment to ecological sustainability comes through with his words as much as with every bite.

Impeccable service

The amiable chef says it’s important for him to know who he’s cooking for. He likes to see them and be able to personalise the dishes for the person he sees using the ingredients chosen that day at Valencia’s Art Deco Central Market. This personal attention is customary in every element of the restaurant, one reason why the limited number of guests walk away so satisfied every night.

Valencia’s favourite flavours

Rice dishes are plentiful in Valencia, the home of paella, so it may be surprising that this German chef has made his unusual rice creations one of the hallmarks of a RiFF experience. Yet, what else could we expect from somebody so in love with the fields and fruits of this fertile land? Savor green rice dishes' creativity by combining fresh salad leaves, pungent mustard seeds and vibrant pomegranate.

For meat lovers, you might find a cured egg yolk and crispy chicken skin masterpiece calling your attention. Chef Bernd H. Knöller’s rice dishes are distinctly his own, offering his Michelin star meaning to the humble grain.

Exploring Eixample

Located at 18 Carrer del Comte d'Altea, RiFF enjoys elegant surroundings and a joyful ambience. Wander the impressive Gran Via boulevard to soak up the nighttime atmosphere, poking your head into boutiques and luxury delicatessens.

And if you still need a place to stay in Valencia, check our reviews of our favourite Valencia hotels to inspire you in your planning. Where to stay in valencia


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