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#News • 1 March 2024

Balfegó stars in the first MICHELIN Guide ceremony in Portugal

On February 27, the first ceremony in the history of the MICHELIN Guide to Portugal was held at the NAU Salgados Palace & Congress Center in Guia (Albufeira, Algarve).

The ceremony, where the gastronomic novelties of the Portuguese country were exclusively presented, was hosted by the presenter Catarina Furtado and enlivened by the Portuguese singer Cuca Roseta, who starred in two live performances with a guitar and percussion music group.

The night distinguished 4 new restaurants with a MICHELIN Star. With these 4 new distinctions, the Portuguese restaurants with 1 MICHELIN Star rise to 31, which confirms and certifies the country’s gastronomic growth. These have been: 2Monkeys (Lisbon), Desarma (Funchal), Ó Balcão (Santarém) and SÁLA by João Sá (Lisbon).

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The big surprise of the night came when Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides, announced that Portugal had added a new restaurant with TWO MICHELIN Stars to its list, the Antiqvvm restaurant in Porto. With chef Vítor Mateo at the helm, Antiqvvm becomes the eighth two-star restaurant in the Portuguese country. Its proposal invites gourmets to take a “Volta ao mundo” with their palates transcending the purely gastronomic, seeking through their dishes to “promote the values of a cultural, natural, evolutionary, social and artistic cuisine.”

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This year the MICHELIN Portugal Guide recommends a total of 167 restaurants, 21 of which are new this year and were presented and congratulated at the same gala, where they were presented with a jacket that certifies their inclusion in the Guide. In addition, MICHELIN Portugal also wanted to recognize the new Bib Gourmand restaurants, a distinction that recognizes the restaurants with the best quality/price. This year the list amounts to 32 establishments, 8 new this year: Flora (Viseu), Inato Bistrô (Braga), Norma (Guimarães), Olaias (Figueira da Foz), OMA (has recently moved from Baião to Porto), O Pastus (Paço de Arcos), Pátio 44 (Oporto) and PODA (Montemor-o-Novo).

The ceremony did not forget sustainability. MICHELIN wanted to award 2 new restaurants with MICHELIN Green Stars, which recognize initiatives or commitment to sustainable gastronomy, thus increasing the number of establishments with this certification in the Portuguese country to 5. The two new additions to the list have been Malhadinha Nova (Albernoa), where they defend the traditions of the Alentejo by betting on the circular economy, and Ó Balcão (Santarém), also awarded with its first MICHELIN Star, which is surprising for its work with freshwater fish. river, a restaurant that tries to maintain the river balance of the region and eradicate invasive species.

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In addition, the MICHELIN Portugal Guide also wanted to present three special prizes. The MICHELIN Award for Young Chef, which went to Rita Magro, resident chef of the Blind restaurant (Porto); MICHELIN Service Award, for Pedro Marques from The Yeatman** restaurant (Vila Nova de Gaia); and the MICHELIN Sommelier Award, for Leonel Nunes, from Il Gallo d’Oro** (Funchal).

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Immediately after the gala, the cocktail dinner took place for all the winners and attendees. Chefs Dieter Koschina from Vila Joya (two MICHELIN Stars), and João Oliveira, from Vista (one MICHELIN Star) coordinated the cast of chefs who offered the tastings. From Balfegó, as Official Partners of the MICHELIN Guide to Portugal Gala, we were able to participate in the catering with a tasting corner, where the Tunateca Balfegó team offered dishes made with the best bluefin tuna in the world.

Without a doubt, the first Guide ceremony in Portugal certifies the rise of Portuguese gastronomy and positions many of its restaurants on the world map, for their extraordinary preparations, services and quality. As Official Partners of the event, we are proud to be part of this great step for Portugal and to continue working alongside Portuguese chefs so that the country’s gastronomy continues to grow, evolve and establish itself as a reference cuisine in Europe.

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