Even though it’s nowhere near the coast, the city of Madrid has a surprisingly fantastic offering of delicious seafood. In fact, it is considered one of the best cities in the world for seafood lovers. Many of the best seafood restaurants have fresh catches flown in daily to the land-locked capital from coastal regions such as Asturias, Andalusia and Galicia.
The citizens of Madrid love every delectable morsel that can be plucked from the sea, from anchovies to octopus to gooseneck barnacles. In many of the bars and pubs you will be given a plate of tapas with your drink and often it will be a perfectly seasoned snack of grilled shrimp, Galician style Octopus or crabs. Seafood is celebrated here and cooked in many creative ways, with herbs, spices, oils and seasonings that bring out the nature flavours and textures. If you are a seafood lover, visiting Madrid is an opportunity to stuff yourself on all of the delicious treasures of the ocean – prepared in mouthwatering ways.
So where should you start when it comes to exploring the seafood scene of Madrid? There are countless restaurants that specialise in marine offerings, as well as street food spots and market places where you can grab quick fishy bites. With many of the restaurants you can’t go wrong, but there are some that stand out from the others and offer superb ocean-inspired cuisine. Let’s look into some of the best places to treat yourself to a fishy meal in Madrid, so that you can dive headfirst into the local seafood scene.
Feasting with Footballers at Puerta 57
Head to Puerta 57 for a true seafood feast. This dining spot gets its name from Gate 57 of Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the impressive Real Madrid football stadium. It attracts a vibrant crowd of football players and their wives and others who seek to dine on Madrid’s seafood cooked to perfection.
The dishes here are fresh and expertly prepared, such as the steaming shellfish, the salt-baked gilt-head bream and the delectable frituras of whitebait and red mullet. It’s the perfect place to treat yourself to a special occasion seafood meal that will be one of the highlights of your trip to Madrid.
La Caleta – Flavours from the Coast
Visit La Caleta Bar and Restaurant in the neighbourhood of Lavapies. The restaurant will make you feel like you have been transported to Cadiz, a seaside region of Andalusia that is known for its superb fried seafood. Many of the regulars here are people who have moved to Madrid from the coast, as the fishy cuisine reminds them of their seaside home.
One of the best dishes to try at this restaurant is the cazon al adobo, which is dogfish that has been marinated and fried. It is moist, full of flavour and it melts in your mouth. La Caleta also offers a pescado frito platter, which is a mix of delicious fried fish and seafood. It will make you feel like you are dining at a seaside bar with the salty breezes in your hair, even though you are miles from the coast.
More Praiseworthy Madrid Seafood Joints
There’s plenty of fish in the sea and there are plenty more seafood restaurants in Madrid to choose from. Other notable Madrid seafood spots include La Dorada, Casa Rafa and El Telegrafo. At these superb restaurants you can dine on boiled octopus, grilled sardines, steamed percebes and ruby-red gambas rojas – so make sure you bring a big appetite.
Are you dreaming of a perfectly flaky and moist deep fried cod fish? Casa Revuelta, near Plaza Mayor, is known for having the best codfish in Madrid. It is crispy, light and cooked to perfection and it goes perfectly with a cold beer on a warm and sunny Madrid day. You might also want to try the tuna empanadas and the calamari cooked in its ink.
Explore Fish Markets Overflowing with Fresh Catches
Take some time to explore Mercado de la Paz, the best enclosed food market in the city boasting an abundance of unforgettable tastes. There you will find seafood delicacies such as anchovies, salt cod and even salt-cured tuna loin. Cured and smoked fish is ideal for taking home with you as a gift for friends and family (buy a little extra in case you get tempted and eat it yourself before you make it home).
On the weekend Madrileños head to the Rastro Flea Market, a bustling and exciting place to shop for handmade leather goods, antique furniture and delicious seafood. There you will find Bar Santurce, which serves drinks and wonderful calamari and lightly fried boquerones. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, close your eyes and savour the simple yet delicious seafood perfection.
You can also check out the Mercamadrid, which is the second largest fish market in the world (the largest is in Tokyo). If you are looking to find fresh and high quality cuts of fish and the very best shellfish, this is the place to stock up. Take your treasures back with you to your villa or apartment and have your own seafood feast – complete with a few bottles of crisp white wine to complement the flavours of course.
Who would suspect that a landlocked city would have such a strong devotion to the cuisine of the ocean? The seafood here is flown straight from the coast of Spain, arriving in Madrid within a few hours. It’s quite impressive that a capital so far inland has such as great selection of fresh seafood and it is certainly a sign of how much Madrileños truly love their fish.
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Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.