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Set in Cáceres – one of Spain’s most beautiful medieval towns in the western region of Extremadura – is a real foodies destination. Atrio Restaurante and Hotel www.restauranteatrio.com allows visitors to enjoy haute-cuisine while staying in the adjoining contemporary accommodation.

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Chef Toño Perez’s unique cooking style, which brings together the earthy flavours of the local produce of Extremadura along with a supremely polished interpretation of haute cuisine is what makes Atrio Restaurante such a gem of a culinary experience. He has fantastic contacts with the farmers producing the famed Pata Negra ham, locally produced organic vegetables, herbs and Torta de Casar cheese.

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What some guests for lunch and dinner may find unusual is that Chef Toño has opted for three set menus, which range in price from €89 to €109 and include six to eight courses. He realised that most people prefer to try a number of small dishes, and the tasting menus offer a progressive crescendo of flavours. While the majority of people are happy with the choice of set menus there is also total flexibility for the diner, and virtually anything is possible. Many starters can be shared by the entire table.

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Pork products feature prominently in many of the dishes and are often partnered with the somewhat unusual bedfellow, seafood. Combining the flavours of the sea and the mountains is something Chef Toño adores. Entrees such as razor clams with thinly sliced Iberian ham, drizzled with a mild curry sauce, or Iberian pancetta served with lobster and spiced with paprika and garlic are some of his most interesting dishes. Another combination, which is set to become a classic in Chef Toño’s kitchen, comes in the form of a gently strewed pig’s trotter served with warm oysters infused with the aroma of lime and ginger. Wines are exceptional and the cellar is well stocked with prestigious vintages from mainly Spain and France. Business partner and wine expert José Polo makes sure every meal is accompanied by a memorable bottle.

Atrio Restaurante’s stunning cuisine is served up in the large dining room which has room for 40 guests seated on chairs by Danish designers Nanna Ditzel and Hans Wegner. Befitting of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, the elegantly laid tables are well spaced for privacy. The garlanded restaurant and its adjoining hotel with four rooms and five suites is part of the prestigious Relais and Châteaux group www.relaischateaux.com

The interiors throughout the building are minimalist and are based on a black and white palette. Splashes of colour come from the museum-quality contemporary art. Paintings by 20th-century heavyweights such as Andy Warhol, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tápies, Geraldo Rueda and Thomas Ruff adorn the walls of the public areas as well as the rooms. It was always Chef Toño and José’s plan for the restaurant to be the destination, but now people have somewhere beautiful to stay while they are enjoying the exquisite food.

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One of the consequences of having accommodation was that chef had to formulate a breakfast menu. He decided to keep it very Spanish with strong local Extremeño elements. Guests are treated each morning to home-baked bread topped with tomato puree and paper-thin slices of Iberian ham. It is accompanied by a local dish, migas – tiny pieces of day-old bread fried with pork fat and plump sultanas.

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While Cáceres may seem off the beaten track, Toño Perez’s highly imaginative cuisine and the magnetic allure of the interiors of the hotel provide plenty of inspiration for gourmands to make the trip to this often overlooked region of Spain.