This blog post was originally posted on March 25, 2014, and was updated on April 19, 2017.
From traditional tapas to wildly expensive molecular gastronomy experiences and everything in between, Madrid has it all! Surprisingly, one of the things that our landlocked city does best is seafood. Coastal regions like Galicia, Asturias and Andalusia bring in some of the best fish and seafood in the world, and and shipments are made to the capital daily.
Fun Fact: Madrid is home to the second-largest fish market in the world! The only city with a bigger fish market is Tokyo!
We love all things seafood here, ranging from the highly-prized Spanish bluefin tuna to the scary-looking and shockingly priced fresh gooseneck barnacles. We’ll try it all! We’ve scoured the metropolitan area for the best seafood spots in Madrid, and could go on and on for days about all of the incredible options available to us. For now, though, we’ll leave you with five of our favorites to get your stomach growling.
1. Ribeira Do Miño
If there’s one thing you need to know about Spanish seafood, it’s that the Gallegos almost always do it right. Hailing from the northwest region of Galicia, these folks grow up with some of the best catches in the world and don’t mess around when it comes to preparing them.
Ribeira Do Miño is no exception and we simply can’t get enough. A humble-looking spot on a side street off of Fuencarral, Ribeira makes up for what it lacks in beauty with piles upon piles of mariscos. You can order a platter of crabs, shrimps and gooseneck barnacles stacked a foot high to share between friends, making for a labor-intensive foodie adventure—get your lobster-crackers ready!
If working for your meal is not your thing, you can’t go wrong with the pulpo a la Gallega and almejas a la marinera—Galician-style octopus and baby clams in a succulent sauce. Finish off the meal with a flaming chalice of queimada, a traditional Galician spiked-coffee drink that is lit on fire to burn off some of the alcohol. Olé!
Address: Calle Santa Brigida, 1
Want to try this authentic cuisine in its home region? Join us on a food tour in Galicia! Feel like a true foodie as we explore local haunts, bustling marketplaces and traditional tapas bars on our food, culture and history walking tours.
2. Marisquería La Paloma
This La Latina spot is another that won’t look like much to an unknowing passerby. A typical cervecería and seafood house, La Paloma is no-frills. Stop in for a beer after an afternoon spent exploring the endlessly cool surrounding neighborhood and order a few raciones of your favorite sea treat.
The grilled shrimp (gambas a la plancha) come highly recommended—and with good reason—but we usually prefer the perfectly garlicky clams or any of their canned delights.
Canned seafood gets a bad rap in most non-Mediterranean countries, but La Paloma is the perfect example of just how delightful it can be. In Spain we can the freshest, tastiest fish in high-quality olive oils and vinegars right after the catch. Many locals enjoy a can with fresh, crusty bread and a glass of wine or vermut.
This is one of our favorite seafood restaurants in Madrid, and not to be missed if you are a lover of all things that come from the ocean!
Address: Calle Toledo, 85
3. Casa Revuelta
Known to have the best codfish in Madrid, Casa Revuelta is not to be missed. This small spot near Plaza Mayor is known for its must-try bacalao rebozao, or batter-fried codfish. Light and perfect with a crisp white wine or beer, this dish will give you a whole new perspective on fried fish. You’ll feel transported to the beaches of southern Spain, although fried cod is actually is Madrileño as it gets!
Otherwise, you must try the empanadas de atún (tuna empanadas) or torreznos (pork rinds), for a decadent and traditional bite. We’ve heard that the calamari cooked in its ink are quite delicious too. This is the perfect spot to stop by for a bite before continuing your tapeo on the nearby Cava Baja.
Address: Calle Latoneros, 3
4. Bar Santurce
One of the most well-known and well-attended weekend activities in Madrid is the Rastro flea market. There, you can find everything (we mean everything) from antique furniture to handmade leather goods, and also some great seafood.
After bargain hunting, we like to head to Bar Santurce for some small plates of fried seafood goodness. The energy of the place is high and with a couple of cañas in you, you’ll fit right in. We always go for the calamari (try them in a sandwich for a typical Madrid treat) and the lightly fried boquerones; the perfect way to end an adventurous Sunday.
Address: Plaza General Vara del Rey, 14
5. La Caleta
To go full on Andaluz, head to La Caleta restaurant and bar in Lavapies. This place is straight out of Cádiz, a sea-side region of Andalusia known for its excellent fried seafood. Always full of locals, often Gaditano transplants themselves, you can be sure it’s among the best seafood spots in Madrid.
Our favorite dish is the cazón al adobo, or marinated and fried dogfish, which is always perfectly moist and flavorful. We also love the pescaíto frito, a mix of fried fish and seafood, which conjures mental images of a sea-side bar.
Address: Calle Tres Peces, 21
For an in-depth look into the history of Spanish seafood and its many manifestations here in Madrid, join us on one of our food tours! We’ll give you the inside scoop on all the best places to enjoy traditional food in Madrid. We hope to see you in the big city soon!