Dos Cielos, meaning “two skies,” is not only a phrase that conjures beautiful images in both the Spanish and English languages, but it’s also the name of two game-changing restaurants by brothers and Spanish television culinary superstars Sergio and Javier Torres. The twins have been accustomed to duality since birth, and now with kitchens in both Madrid and Barcelona, the saga of two continues.
The stars of “Torres en la Cocina” opened their first restaurant inside Meliá Barcelona Sky in 2008 during the height of the Catalan region’s culinary revolution, led in part by Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli. Surrounded by panoramic views of the Mediterranean, mountains and the city, Dos Cielos received worldwide acclaim for innovative dishes such as Iberian pork salad, mushroom casserole with fresh fruit milk, honeyed rice with fish, sea fennel and dry octopus, and glazed beef shank with sea cucumbers.
In late 2016, the duo ventured to Madrid to open a second Dos Cielos at the new Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques, the 160-room property that was a 13th-century Convent of Santo Domingo and the former residence of the dukes of Granada de Ega.
This time, instead of the sea as the backdrop, the Hermanos Torres’ bespoke eatery is nestled inside the building’s former horse stables and gardens. Inside, you’ll not only find famous dishes from Barcelona, but the toques have added some Madrid flair, with allusions to typical Austrian cuisine such as rich cocidos (a chick-pea based stew) and pasta filled with foie gras as well.
Most importantly, behind the brothers’ cuisine is their philosophy that every bite jogs a sensory experience and that chefs and diners should use everything at their disposal — taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight — to create and enjoy a meal in harmony.
Forbes Travel Guide spoke with Sergio and Javier about their decade of successes and innovations.
How has being on television affected you as chefs?
Sergio: While TV is time consuming, we never lose focus on the restaurants and continue to be in charge of business as usual. It has given us the opportunity to grow in knowledge about the product and has also made us known in the media.
You are coming up on the 10th anniversary of your Barcelona restaurant. Will you be preparing any surprises for the occasion?
Javier: Dos Cielos Barcelona is in constant evolution. Every day is a new and special day, and every year we have a great party before summer with clients and friends.
How is Dos Cielos Madrid going? Why was it the next logical step in your culinary empire?
Sergio: We were clear that if we were in any other city in Spain, it would be Madrid. The restaurant is working very well. We have to take into account that there are people who have been working for many years with us and know the Torres brothers’ philosophy. The place has very good energy, with a history of 250 years.
Both of your restaurants are inside Meliá hotels. Why is that brand the right fit?
Sergio: After nine years, we already know each other well; it is a consolidated company. They gave us the opportunity to grow in Dos Cielos, as partners and cooks, and we see a good opportunity to continue growing with them. It is also true that we have our own projects and dreams.
What are some things that we can find in the Madrid restaurant that we can’t find in Barcelona and vice versa?
Javier: They are different [because of the local food], but with the same philosophy.
What are the differences you have noticed between having a restaurant in Madrid and having one on Barcelona?
Javier: It is very early to say. In Barcelona, we have had very good customers from Madrid [and vice versa]. The suppliers we trust are artisan producers, and they are almost the same in Barcelona as in Madrid. All are spread over the Spanish geography.
Have you ever been envious of a skill that the other possesses?
Sergio: There is no jealousy. Javier is more into hunting and breads. I am more nature and fish.
What are some of your favorite food cities to visit worldwide?
Javier: Switzerland, France, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Barcelona and Madrid.
What were your most memorable dining experiences in the last year?
Sergio: El Celler de Can Roca [by the Roca Brothers in Girona, Spain].
What is one ingredient that you can’t live without?
Within your family, who do you look up to most in terms of cooking?
Javier: Our grandmother, Catherine, [is a] great cook. We love her.