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Àlvar Ayuso, the new chef at Hostal Empúries

The current ‘best young chef in Catalonia’ moves the Alvart restaurant to Empordà-based establishment

The Hostal Empúries is backing the chef Àlvar Ayuso to deliver top quality cuisine. The current Best Young Chef in Catalonia is moving his Alvart restaurant to one of Catalonia and the Costa Brava’s most iconic spots. The chef will also oversee all the hotel’s culinary offerings.

Hostal Empúries is therefore making a strong statement by turning its fine-dining restaurant (thus far, Villa Teresita) into the Villa Teresita by Alvart, where diners can enjoy a new menu based on the products and techniques honed to perfection in the Barcelona-based establishment, Alvart - a rip-roaring success with diners and critics alike. A modern proposal, combining the finest of Mediterranean and Empordà cuisine, interpreted by a chef with Nordic roots but born a few kilometres from Hostal Empúries.

This represents a big opportunity for the chef to continue exploring his cuisine and taking it a step further, with a first-class infrastructure, a financially-sound team and an inspiring environment to expand his culinary philosophy. “I’m returning to my lands with a lot of experience and the desire to make the most of everything this territory around the Hostal Empúries has to offer, and bring these delights to my dishes for guests and visitors to enjoy for lunch or dinner,” Ayuso explains. The chef will also have a space for his R+D at Empúries.

As well as being in an idyllic setting on the coast, Hostal Empúries has its own vegetable gardens and a unique environmental philosophy: it’s the first hotel in Europe to get the LEED Gold certificate, due to its sustainable design and construction.

Guillermo Arquer, the Hostal Empúries owner, highlights that the choice of Ayuso shows the establishment’s commitment to quality and sustainability: “We’ve managed to combine talent and youth to offer a unique concept, and we’re sure it’ll attract people from the surrounding area and visitors alike.”

About Àlvar Ayuso

Álvar Ayuso (Roses, 1989) was named the Best Young Chef this year by the Catalan Academy of Gastronomy, due to his interpretation of culinary tradition, his attention to detail, and his audacious technique.  

In 2015, he opened Alvart (Alvar + art) in the heart of the Eixample district in Barcelona, his first restaurant. Ayuso is no longer a promising young chef: he is now an established name in the country’s fine-dining scene. His philosophy is clear: product, taste and technique. Álvar represents ingredients, noble products and a proposal blending Catalan creations, French influences and Nordic techniques. His experience in Northern European restaurants and his mother’s family background (Swedish) shines through in his dishes with pickled, cured, smoked, etc. creations finding their way on to the menu.

About Hostal Empúries

Hostal Empuries, founded in 1907, was the first hotel in Europe to earn the most comprehensive ecological certificate (LEED), awarded in 2010 with Guillermo Arquer as owner. Located in the Costa Brava (L'Escala), it has 34 century-old rooms full of charm, refurbished and decorated with a focus on simplicity. The extension in 2012, located in the Spa area, hosts 20 spacious, modern rooms built with sustainable materials, mostly from the circular economy. This and subsequent expansions were undertaken while enhancing plant and animal diversity.

The hotel has two gastronomic spaces with very different culinary styles (Villa Teresita and Bistró del Mar), and a Spa zone offering treatments and therapies with healthy, natural products, free from silicone and oil products. Hostal Empúries puts on different social programmes to participate and become involved with the environment and add a human touch. A responsible, ecological and sustainable tourism approach, based on a philosophy of respecting the environment and the surrounding area.

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