[Spain: Denia] 3* Quique Dacosta - Evolution and Origin

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ (5/5)

Another restaurant we visited while we were in Valencia was the 3 Michelin-starred Quique Dacosta! We had tried his food before at an OAD event in Paris and given its high ranking on the OAD list (#9 on Top 100 European Restaurants 2018), it was a restaurant we didn't want to miss. What sets the chef apart from many others is that he is self-taught. He started working at the family-run seafood restaurant El Poblet when he was 17 years old and never left - the restaurant changed its name to Quique Dacosta in 2009. Under his ownership, the restaurant transformed into an avant-garde gastronomy temple using locally sourced ingredients. 

We drove a little more than an hour to Denia and the modern architecture of restaurant stood out immediately among the other rustic buildings in the seaside town. After we arrived, we were given the option to enjoy our amuse bouche on the patio so that's what we did. 

Spotted an herb with my name on their garden!

So when I made the reservation, I was under the impression that there were two menus to choose from - Universo Local and Evolution and Origin (both €210 per person). The difference between the two wasn't clear to me online and I was hoping for a better explanation in person. But it seemed that by default we were given the Evolution and Origin menu as no one asked us to choose a menu once we arrived - I didn't mind though since the food ended up being fantastic. 

The menu was divided into 6 acts and we enjoyed the first set in the patio. Right from the start we were captivated by the creativity and intense flavors of each of the small bites.

1° Act:

Flower's Salad

Small Rock Crabs to dip in the "Salmorreta" Sauce

Cream of Sea Urchins and Fermented Tomatoes

Soup of Smoked Chilies

For the second act, we moved into the main dining room which was white, mininalistic and sleek - much like the architecture of the building. 

2° Acts: Cooking with salt, air, humidity and time

The first dish Napkin Cheese was a bit cheeky as it was hiding inside our napkin (hence the name). While I'm not usually fan of goat cheese, the flavor here was subtle and I love the mochi texture of the outer layer.

We were then surprised with a gift from the restaurant! Inside the red wrapping was a Prawn from Denia which was simply boiled with no seasoning added. The inherent flavor of the prawn was so sweet and unforgettable.

Next up was the Selection of Delicatessen which arrived on a long table by our side. We had the choice to choose any two selection of the different cured fish roe.

Cecina of Red Tuna

The Dry Octopus had pieces of octopus being served on top of a dried whole octopus - how meta. 

Not only did this Slice of Dry Tomato Sprinkled with Rice Vinegar looked good, it tasted amazing.

3° Acts: Starting from our traditions

The Monkfish in Escabeche with Sea Fennel was a very lovely dish especially when it came with one of my favorite things to eat - monkfish liver. 

Pumpkin Seeds with Toasted Butter

4° Acts: The beauty of the flavor

Fish from Denia's Market on the Mount of Olive Trees

The Ancient Sweetcorn Bread arrived in a claypot - just like what we use for claypot rice in Hong Kong. The flavor of corn was very strong but on the whole the bread was a bit dry for my taste.

5° Acts: References marking the way

The Creamy Rice Variety Albufera of Moray Fish Bordelaise Stile was very rich and strong. The flavors were a bit heavy actually but luckily the small portion was just enough for a taste.

The "Azulon" Duck from the Albufera rounded out the savory portion of the meal nicely. The duck was cooked perfectly and the flavors were well-balanced by the white asparagus on the side.

6° Acts:

We then started our dessert and last portion of the meal with this beautiful Soup of White Petals.

The Tartelette of Pumpkin and Chocolate was served upside down and the crust was just perfection.

Lastly, we enjoyed our petit fours back outside at the patio - cinnamon of branch, prunes, petals of roses, and gin tonic of apple.

Thanks Chef Quique Dacosta for the wonderful meal! It's definitely one of the highlights of our trip this time. For those who can't make it to Denia, you may be glad to know that he has three other restaurants in Valencia - El Poblet, Veuve Carolina and MercatBar - where El Poblet serves classic and past season dishes from Quique Dacosta Restaurant.

Quique Dacosta

Carrer Rascassa, 1, 03700 Dénia, Alicante, Spain
Tel: +34 965 78 41 79

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