Restaurante Arriaga in Granada: High Altitude Gastronomy
Granada is known for free tapas and lots of it. Little did we know that there is so much more gastronomy to the city. We got to know Restaurante Arriaga and were taken on a gastronomic journey high up in the sky, on a journey we will not forget.
On the top floor of the Museo Memoria de Andalucía you can find this beautiful restaurant that can be described as a long glass cube with amazing unobstructed views over the city and the nearby Sierra Nevada. Just the views left us in awe. The maître d' handed us the menu and after just a glance we knew that the choice would be difficult, if not impossible. Almost everything looked so good. Luckily there was a tasting menu, El Camino, that we opted for. There was an option of 5 or 9 courses, and since we were in no hurry whatsoever we opted for the longer one. There was also a wine pairing option available, but since I get drunk after half a glass I thought 5 would lead to unwanted results... The maître d', who also is the sommelier at the restaurant, promised he would pair the courses for us with fewer wines. And from there our journey started.
I will not go into too much detail to explain what each course was, because I will not dot them justice. What I do want to point out however is that the dishes have their roots firmly in the ground with local ingredients, but proposed in a way that shows the magnitude of the chef and the genius that he is. The dishes were fun, surprising, exciting, the combinations interesting and fascinating. We were in awe and so excited to see each dish. We spent four hours in the restaurant and the time flew by. Nobody wanted to leave, people were lingering at their tables and I understand perfectly why.
Chef Arriaga came out to greet everyone in the restaurant and it was such a pleasure to get to know him. It is a true blessing to see people in their element and doing what they were born to do, what they live and breathe. Arriaga has done a magnificent job with the team he works with, he has put a lot of effort in giving each member a feeling of ownership of their work and you can see how proud everyone is for doing the job they are doing.
The sommelier/maître d', Daniel Ruiz, deserves a special mention. The pairings he did were mind-blowing, and he was happy (and excited) to answer all of our questions and spending time on guiding us through the wine experience. One of the courses was paired with a local, high-altitude wine from his childhood village, and it was such an intriguing experience. Rarely have I experienced such a perfect pairing as that one. The dessert pairing was excellent as well, with a wonderful white Moscatel, and he also presented us with a glass of Monastrell that was wonderfully smooth and balanced. In addition to sharing his very extensive knowledge he was so friendly, warm and helpful, and so passionate about his work that the passion radiated from him.
People come to Granada just to visit this restaurant, and I have a feeling we will be one of them. I HAVE to go back to experience that again. And again. And again.