Noor, an illuminating restaurant hidden in the ancient heritage of Córdoba in Andalusia – once one of the brightest city lights of the modern world – has received two Michelin stars within just three years, a maximum of 3 soles (suns) from the by far most prestigious Spanish dining guide Repsol.

Last year, Paco Morales, the chef behind the restaurant of ancient tales blasted into The Best Chef Top 100 with a first new entry ranked as #29.

At Noor, Paco Morales recovers, studies and shapes a new epicurean language from the ruins of a prosperous past. He is a chef of history – a gastro-archaeologist, so if you love history then the experience at Noor in the South of Spain is an absolute must.

Here are ten good reasons to love Noor.

1. The Chef

Paco Morales’ cooking career began when he as a kid worked with his father for many years in his take-out business. This was where he learned the reality of a restaurant business, the toughness, and how challenging the industry can be.

One day you’re up, the next you are down. Despite all the credit that he gives to his family shaping the way he is today, then at some point he left the nest.

He traveled across Spain, from the family business to work for Josean Alija, the Adriá-brothers and Andoni Luis Aduriz and with it, learned from some of the greatest in Spain, and by that, also in the world. You not only have to know techniques and possess creativity in order to originate a world like Noor’s. It requires a lot of discipline, hard work, methodology, and above all, maturity.

2. Learn History

Noor means “light” in Arabic, and although most people forget or simply don’t know that what we today know as Portugal and Spain used to be the moorish Ál-Andalus, Noor’s goal is to recover and shine a light of that chapter in history.

Noor is something of a cultural project to Morales who joined forces with food writer Rosa Tovar, a Spanish cookbook author and food scholar, as well as a team of culinary historians to access centuries-old recipes, which he incorporates into three tasting menus of varying lengths that display their ingredients and way of eating from the 10th to the 15th century.

3. The Symmetry

The repeating geometric patterns are not only useful to build an amazing dining room at Noor. Every single dish is a testament on how to achieve beauty by exploding harmony that comes from symmetry and pattern making.

It’s one of the easiest ways for guests to quickly notice the amount of work and the attention to detail that Paco Morales applies to his work. In design and architecture, rhythm is everything. Rhythm can unite, direct, highlight and set the dynamics. There is a repetition of shape, color, tone, texture, accents and direction. Rhythm organises, structures and sets the elements into motion.

At Noor, Paco Morales and his team exploit this principle to create symmetry and elevate the flavours with a visual experience. Starting with the interior design and decor, continuing with the tableware and giving the final and most amazing strike with plating. Everything is thought out, everything is symmetrical and full of rhythm and intention.

4. The Dining Room

Paco Morales had a clear idea of how he wanted his restaurant to look like. Just like with his food, he wanted a modern interpretation of the Al-Andalus way of living up to a thousand years ago.

Arabic inheritance through a modern prism was the goal and they built it focused on four of the most representative concepts of Islamic architecture: the contrast between the interior and the exterior, the sequence of spaces, the articulation of light and shadow and the repeating geometric patterns.

Although Noor is located in the working-class suburb where Paco Morales grew up, a couple of kilometers away from Córdoba’s historic center, you practically feel like sitting in a house in the middle of Sahara a thousand years ago.

In a modern fata morgana of ancient tales – a feeling Paco Morales has worked hard on creating alongside a superb team of historians, archeologists, decorators and interior designers.

5. The ingredients

Noor’s cuisine combines modern culinary techniques with the flavours, aromas and subtleties of dishes from the past – up to now from the 10th to 15th century through so far four seasons and with a very strict code of only choosing ingredients 100% true to what was used then.

This leaves out a lot of the options we are used to today such as cacao, maize, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and much, much more. All products which didn’t arrive in Europe before later with Christoffer Colombus’ discovery of America in 1492.

That choice has resulted in an authentic representation of edible history, achieved by meticulous work and extreme creativity.

Read also: Paco Morales – The Chef of History

6. Córdoba

Not all Michelin-starred restaurants have cities as incredible as Córdoba as their home. Great weather, a visit to the Mezquita, a walk next to the Roman Bridge to feel like you’re in an episode of Game of Thrones (they actually filmed there), a visit to a tea house and an unforgettable diner at Noor would make for an exciting and educational gastronomic experience.

The land in the province of Cordoba spreads between olive groves and grapevines and is bathed by the tributaries of the Guadalquivir river which runs through it from one side to the other and separates it in two:

The mountain area of Sierra Morena and the flat countryside of the Guadalquivir. To the south there is another area which is not as extensive, but higher: the Subbética mountain ranges.

7. Details and technique

That symmetry is only a part of it. Paco Morales’ technique goes way deeper than his plating and the result, apart from being extremely pleasing to the eye, is also a mouthwatering experience.

A good example of the work that goes into the creation of each dish at Noor at a historical, aesthetic, and technical level, is Puerta del Perdón.

An iconic dish of the restaurant that for Paco means the perfect reflection of that moment in his project. Part of the 10th century season, this fried snack made with brick dough and finished with garlic puree, parsley mayonnaise and coriander, was born from Morales’ concern to capture the details of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba in an edible form.

And after discarding the obvious option of liquid nitrogen, Morales turned to a metal craftsman to recreate the typical fried flower molds, this time with one of the decorative motifs featured in the “Door of Forgiveness” (Puerta del Perdón).

Trial and error led them to the perfect brick dough for this technique and so this little work of art was born; an example of edible culture.

8. The Wines

A visit to Noor wouldn’t be the same without the wine pairing. They offer different kinds for different menus and include a wide range of options that go from natural wines, an amazing selection of Andalusian wines, Spanish wines and much more. You’ll definitely try a glass or three of Sherry while you enjoy the dishes of edible history that come to your table. 

9. The Service

The service is very much in sync with the whole story and Al Ándalus ways. It’s subtle, elegant and almost choreographed in the way that they move their hands and body to present every dish to the guests.

The team knows the meaning behind every single decision made by Paco, and they have to because a big part of the research work comes down to the presentation. They know the history, story, the ingredients and the details. They are the great supporting actors in this complex yet amazing play named Noor.

10. The upcoming ‘discovery’ of America

Now Noor’s kitchen prepares for a historic moment that will change everything. The upcoming 15th century comes loaded with new ingredients and possibilities thanks to the arrival of Columbus to America in 1492. His ships not only returned to Spain full of gold and emeralds, but they also brought new culinary treasures; cocoa, avocados, tomatoes, and corn are just a few examples.


Bon Vivant Communications is a culinary embassy representing star chefs and restaurants, chateaux and high-end wineries as well as working close together with various luxury hotels, gourmets festivals and bespoke concierges services.

The diplomacy speaks to a strong network of 600 journalists, bloggers and writers, as well as 6000+ luxury diners around the globe.


Hungry for more? View this video of Noor’s creation.