A Chinese proverb says that "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago." And just two decades ago, METRÓPOLI – a publication of EL MUNDO, a benchmark for culinary leisure in Madrid – planted this tree called the Gastronomic Awards, with which it recognises and distinguishes the most outstanding establishments and hospitality professionals each year. Thus, last Monday he celebrated this anniversary in style with a great gala held at the Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela, which brought together the best of the gastronomy of our region.

The party was hosted by journalist and communicator Antonella Ruggiero and hosted by Amaya García (editor-in-chief of METRÓPOLI), escorted by Joaquín Manso (director of EL MUNDO), Javier García Pagán (general director of the News Area of Unidad Editorial) and Vicente Ruiz (deputy director of EL MUNDO).

Let's go with these XX METRÓPOLI Gastronomic Awards, "a masthead that can boast of having supported many great chefs who are now Michelin stars, but, beyond guides, we have always recognized all those dining rooms that above all have the applause of the public," acknowledged Amaya García.

"That Madrid is boiling is something that we repeat on this stage every year, and this time it is true again: there have been returns of great chefs, projects of young people and established chefs who have dared to give a twist to their proposal. We have witnessed all of this and we have given the necessary clues to our readers", words with which García gave way to the awards ceremony.

Antonella Ruggiero, presenter of the gala of the XX anniversary of the METROPOLI Awards.

In this new edition, the jury – made up of Víctor de la Serna, Luis Suárez de Lezo, Vicente Ruiz, Amaya García, Marta Fernández Guadaño and Isabel Muñoz – has awarded 14 categories. Let's start with the Restaurant of the Year: Saddle, which from the same space that Jockey once occupied is already one of the great contemporary classics of Madrid's restaurants. Honorable mentions went to Deessa, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant and flagship of the gastronomic offer with the Quique Dacosta seal at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz in Madrid, and Bistronómika, the temple of the sea, the grill and the spoon by Carlos del Portillo and Silvia Manzano. The awards were presented by Aurelio García, Director of Marketing and Communication at Lexus Spain.

The award for Revelation Restaurant, presented by Sandra Maestre (Head of Marketing at IQOS), has gone ex aequo to two of the great openings of 2023. OSA, the very personal and against the tide of food that Jorge Muñoz and Saral Peral have installed in the Ribera del Manzanares. He is accompanied at the top by Bascoat and his tribute to Basque gastronomy, to the product and to an intuitive, creative and travelling cuisine led by Nagore Irazuegi and Rodrigo García, souls of Arima, a rogue tavern with the soul of a txoco. The mention went to Velasco Abellà.

More discoveries. The Revelation Chef, whose distinctions were presented by Andrea Fernández (Marketing Director of TheFork), went to Patxi Zumárraga, chef and co-owner of Haramboure, the Basque-French produce and cuisine restaurant that he opened in the Salamanca neighborhood, together with Patricia Haramboure. José Certucha and Carmen Alti, from La Llorería, and Manuel Franco, from La Casa de Manolo Franco, in Valdemorillo, received mentions.

We continue with more names, those of the Best Sommelier, which was presented by Cristina Forner (president of Marqués de Cáceres) and which this year has been awarded ex aequo to Nagore Arregui, sommelier of El Lince and one of the most prestigious barmaids in Spain, and to Santi Carrillo, from Corral de la Morería, that temple of sherry wines. Ruth Ortiz, in charge of the spectacular wine cellar (about 1,200 references) of the Cárumen restaurant, achieved the honorable mention.

Amaya García, editor-in-chief of METRÓPOLI, and host of the gala.

In this edition, METRÓPOLI has decided to highlight the role of the room and has incorporated the recognition of the Best Head of the Room, which has gone to Abel Valverde (Since 1911), one of the best maîtres in Spain and an unrepentant vindication of his profession. The mentions? For Marta Campillo (DiverXO) and Javier Arroyo (Zeitaku). Olga Fernandez, CEO and owner of Familia Fernandez Rivera, presented the trophies.

The Most Sustainable Restaurant is El Invernadero, by Rodrigo de la Calle, father of Gastrobotánica, pioneer of green haute cuisine and chef who avoids pre-established labels and rules. The chef from Madrid received the award from Mónica Meroño, director of the Tourism Qualification Centre of the Region of Murcia.

The Restaurant with the Best Social Action is named after the Deluz y Compañía Group, led by Carlos Zamora, for those projects that involve everything from small producers to people who come from socially excluded backgrounds. El Qüenco de Pepa and La Quinta Cocina received mentions. The three received the awards from Guillermo Rubert, regional director of Hostelería Madrid at Mahou San Miguel.

In-Pulso, the updated traditional cuisine with heart officiated by the brothers Álex and Adrián García de la Fuente from their small dining room in Legazpi, received the award for the restaurant with a Ticket Less than 40 euros, whose prizes were presented by Rosario Barrios (general director of Le Cordon Bleu). LaLopez, the gastronomic stand/restaurant of Sergio Mayor and Maialen Parra that triumphs from the Antón Martín Market, and Las Margaritas, a food house of El Plantío, took the mentions.

The Best Tapas Bar of 2023 is Hermanos Vinagre, a brand inspired by the most traditional taverns in the capital and a temple of the aperitif. He was escorted by mentions Bar H Emblemático, a return to the tavern origins of the historic Hevia, and Docamar, an essential in the Quintana neighborhood. The awards were presented by Joaquín Manso, deputy director of EL MUNDO.

The gala brought together the best of Madrid's gastronomy.

We make a stop in the large food markets with the award for the Best Market Stall, which in this edition has gone to Antonio Municio (in Maravillas), a benchmark of first-class fish and seafood in Madrid. The mentions went to Raza Nostra, a carnivorous temple in the Chamartín market, and Pandomé, a shop in the Tirso de Molina Market dedicated to pizza, pastries and artisan sourdough bread. Nicoleta Negrini, CEO of Negrini, presented the awards.

We return to one of our classic categories with the Best Gourmet Shop, which this year has gone to Petramora. which, after almost a dozen years dedicated to the online sale of food from small and medium-sized producers, has just opened a store in Chueca. It is accompanied by Casa Ortega, an online and physical store that will open a store in Madrid in a few days, and Formaje, a must stop for lovers of artisanal cheeses. The awards were presented by Javier García Pagán, general manager of the News Area of Unidad Editorial.

And speaking of "recognitions that above all have the applause of the public", we could not miss a concept that has shaken up the panorama strongly: delivery. Armando, the great home bet of Familia La Ancha, won the highest distinction, and Hutong and Juancho's BBQ, with the honorable mentions, awards presented by Vicente Ruiz (deputy director of EL MUNDO).

With a unique interior design, the Abya restaurant, the 1,000-square-meter gastro megaproject located in the Saldaña Palace and with chef Aurelio Morales at the helm of the kitchen, won the distinction for Best Decoration. Bascoat and Club Financiero received the diplomas of honor. The three trophies were presented by Pelayo Pintado, CEO of Idónea Comunicación, Rémy Martin's communication agency.

Sacha Hormaechea, a great chef and photographer, takes a selfie at the photocall.

We close with Juanjo López Bedmar (La Tasquita de Frente), the Lifetime Achievement Award, a late restaurateur as he likes to say about himself. The patron saint of this temple of the product and staunch defender of "less is more", decided 25 years ago to take over the old restaurant that his father founded in the early 70s. Juanjo dedicated the award, presented to him by Joaquín Carceller, regional director of Makro, "to my wife; to Nacho, my head chef, and to all my customers and friends who continue to visit me in these 25 years."

At this gala, which was attended by more than 400 guests, there was no shortage of big names in the Madrid hotel and restaurant industry: Rogelio Enríquez (new president of the Madrid Academy of Gastronomy), Sacha Hormaechea (Sacha), Carlos Torres (La Buena Vida), Julio Zhang (Soy Kitchen), José María Goñí (El Club Allard), Javi Estévez (La Tasquería and El Lince), Álex Marugán (Tres por Cuatro), Ciro Cristiano (Baldoria), Javier and Francisco Aparicio (Salino, Cachivache Taberna, La Raquetista and La Raquetista in Havana), Mario Sánchez and Charlotte Finkel (Comparte Bistro)...

And that's it for the XX METRÓPOLI Gastronomic Awards, which have been sponsored by Marqués de Cáceres, Región de Murcia, Philips Morris, TheFork, Makro, Lexus and Madrid City Council -special mention for ceding to METRÓPOLI a space as emblematic as the Palacio de Cristal-, and with the collaboration of La Finca, Quesos de Suiza, Negrini, Mahou-San Miguel, Le Cordon Bleu Madrid, Vino Pesquera, Manzanas Pink Lady, Jamones Blázquez, Mai e Matucha Empanadas, Baldoria, Villa Massa, Rémy Martin, Popit Popomitas Gourmet and Chocolates Trapa.