domingo, 13 de enero de 2013

Echaurren The Best Restaurant and Hotel in Rioja


Today, this restaurant is the cornerstone of the Echaurren empire and a temple of the Rioja gastronomy, that honours the life and career of its owner-chef, Marisa Sánchez and son’s Francis Paniego (Chef) and Jose Felix Paniego (Sommelier). We can find an extensive selection of traditional and modern à la carte dishes, as well as different set menus.

Hotel-Restaurant Echaurren is made for the perfect enjoyment of gastronomy in a relaxed and special environment. Rooms are comfortable, and the staff is warm and engaging. Each of the Echaurren's rooms has an attractive decoration with wooden floors. All rooms come with a welcome pack of snacks and a bottle of wine. Most rooms also have a balcony.

This place is located in a small village in the middle of the mountains called Ezcaray, 61 km (37 miles) southwest of Logroño, is 7 km (4 miles) below Valdezcaray, La Rioja's best ski resort. Nestled in the historic centre of the town of Ezcaray, opposite the parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore (national monument).

Echaurren is a secret gem for people outside Spain. A great destination for anybody visiting Rioja region for their unique flavours, service and presentation. Few hotels can offer a taste of the best traditional and cutting-edge cuisine of Spain and accommodation in the same space. We could say that there is no better restaurant in Spain that represents the evolution of Spanish cuisine, where modern look meets traditional organic fresh flavours. And no matter what you choose, Francis and family will take care of you. 

It is a centenary a family establishment that has passed from father to son. It is today, the fifth generation of the family, that runs the Hotel. At the Hotel Echaurren they offer a unique set of experiences from the gastronomic point of view. Hotel prices (Rooms: €78-€90; breakfast: €8).


- Restaurant Echaurren Tradition: This restaurant managed by Marisa Sanchez, embodies the best of the culinary history of the region and fine traditional cuisine: excellent croquettes, patatas a la riojana (potatoes stewed with peppers and chorizo), lamb chops, black pudding prepared in a special way etc. Meal prices(Menu: 20€/ 45€ - Carte: 38€/65€)

- El Portal de Echaurren: this is the modern part of the restaurant managed by Marisa’s sons: Francis Paniego the chef and his Sommelier brother Jose Felix. El Portal opened in 2002 and it was recently renovated in February 2011, trying to push it to the next level or the next Micheline star.

The modern menu of el portal, is obviously influenced by the new cuisine school of cooking and could in a way be described as a contemporary version of the historical family recipe book, Francis also experiments with coals from grapevine clippings and serves contemporary numbers such as spring fava beans and baby peas with potato soup. Meal prices (Menu: 58€/ 78€ - Carte: 51€/74€)

- There is a third restaurant in Ezcaray owned by the family adjacent to the hotel, El Comilón (‘The Glutton’), a bistro serving light, and informal meals.

- Francis also oversees the Hotel Marqués de Riscal Restaurant in Elciego, and a new gastro-bar, Tondeluna, in Logroño.


In 1898, Pedro Garcia and Andrea Echaurren decided to remodel their old coach house that served as a refuelling stop for carriages. The imminent arrival of the railroad forced to anticipate the future, to refocus its business and where previously housed the stables and carriages, they decide to install a dining hall taking advantage of the culinary virtues of his wife, Aunt Andrea. It started with them, this proud culinary tradition and hospitality that has endured for five generations. Marisa and Felix, the fourth generation of the family, got top honours for their restaurant, including the National Gastronomy Award for best chef. Now the fifth generation, their sons Francis and Joseph Felix have successfully made the transition to the twenty-first century, expanding the catering at the hotel, which includes, besides the traditional hotel and restaurant Echaurren, a bistro, the glutton, a gastro bar, e- tapas and a creative cuisine restaurant, El Portal, the first restaurant to get a Michelin star in the history of the Community of La Rioja.

Echaurren Restaurant is full of history and tradition, it all started at the building in Ezcaray, and everything revolves around this place. Today Echaurren is an important part of the history of the traditional cuisine of La Rioja and its creator has been Marisa Sanchez. Marisa has met and known to transmit to the menu of this restaurant a score of memorable recipes, potato croquettes, chickpea stew, beans, vegetable stew, fish soup, mashed vegetables and leg of lamb stew are some of the dishes that cause hundreds of loyal customers, who consider this house their own, to return again and again.


Marisa Sanchez´s second son Francis Paniego, is the rising star of the La Rioja culinary world.

Francis as a kid, gradually became involved in the everyday comings-and-goings of the kitchen of the restaurant Echaurren. Luis was the oldest and was expected to carry on the culinary dynasty. Francis was a great admirer of his older brother, his role model. So he decided to sign up at the Escuela de Hostelería y Turismo de Madrid to learn the trade of restaurateur and follow in his brother's footsteps. But Luis died tragically in a car accident, and Francis decided to leave the school and return to Ezcaray to help out in the family business.

In 1988 the family invested time and money in the refurbishment of Echaurren, and Francis took the opportunity to go back to school, complete his studies and carry out internships at such famous restaurants as Arzak, Akelarre and Zalacaínwith visits to elBulli under Ferran Adrià. This latter period of training gave him a wider view of gastronomy, in which creativity took a more central role.

Francis was determined to find his own personal way of doing things, based on the reinterpretation and modernization of his mother's recipes. In 1999 an annex to the family restaurant was opened, called Echaurren el Portal, but a single kitchen served both. This allowed the young chef to offer creative, ground-breaking cuisine in his own style. In the new restaurant he was able to present the results of his culinary research, such as his well-known studies on confits and aromatized olive oils. Behind these initiatives was a genuine tribute to his mother’s cooking and the quality products of La Rioja.

In 2005, this effort to link up tradition with the culinary avant-garde earned the restaurant a Michelin star. Francis Paniego is a member of the select group of chefs who have made Spain a Mecca for world gastronomy. The latest chapter in his career is the supervision of the restaurant within the ultramodern winery of Marqués de Riscal, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. Francis Paniego is the spearhead of new Rioja cuisine, a pioneer who is leading the way for other young chefs from the region who are also keen to find new forms of expression. And it all started out in a small village in the backwoods of La Rioja.

Tondeluna is the name of a little town near Ezcaray. Francis decided in 2011 to inaugurate a beautiful tapas bar in Logroño city center, called Tondeluna. Customers can taste traditional tapas from Echaurren and avant-garde miniature cuisine from El Portal de Echaurren in this great gastrobar, whose name and decor pay homeage to the nature and forests near Ezcaray.


In 2001, the creative cuisine of Echaurren had already made an important gap in the structure of the house. It was at that moment when they thought about creating a new item. With the help and advice from clients and friends they decided to create the Portal of Echaurren. It would be a new restaurant in the shadow of the same building which houses the life of Echaurren, with a modern style and designed by and for the taste of avant-garde cuisine. Today they boast being the first restaurant in the history of La Rioja, to get a Michelin star.

The menus are seasonal, and change every few weeks. There are 2 degustation menus, and you can order a la carte too.


The Bistro Comilón brings together the expertise of the Echaurren family with a young and relaxed philosophy. They offer a menu of simple but sophisticated cuisine, blending the dishes of pasta and rice dishes with traditional dishes and many more innovative ideas. Comilón opened in 2001 and barely a decade has earned them a faithful clientele.


In the evenings many guest´s of the hotel like to dine on a selection of tapas in this Chimney Bar. In the summer they open the French patio doors becoming an attractive garden and terrace facing the church.

This space has been redesigned and completely transformed with the help of architectural Picado De Blas de Madrid. The result is a room open to the public from the street which has now become a Gastro-bar. In itself, this is a small bar serving tapas, but let′s say a bit special, beyond the typical brochetas. Their prices are moderate. They have small creations of haute cuisine at affordable prices. The concept is new, as opposed to a tapas bar, this is not like anything cooking sets in bars, it is a menu and has been chosen, the immediacy and the advantage of it is very important. The idea is to make meals or bite sized dishes in the centre of the tables so informal and quick. Desserts are sweet too. Average prices for a meal type is usually around 20 €, but can also be much less depending on the choice made, also they have free Wi-Fi.

Restaurant-Hotel Echaurren
Address: Padre José García 19, 26280 Ezcaray
Tel: 941 35 40 47
Geo-coordinates: Latitude: 42:19:33N (42.32582)    Longitude: 3:0:58W (-3.01614)

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