From rustic traditional tapas to avant-garde molecular gastronomy and everything in between, Madrid has it all when it comes to cuisine. But surprisingly, one of the things that our landlocked city does best is seafood.
Coastal regions of Spain like Galicia, Asturias and Andalusia are home to some of the best fish and seafood in the world, and shipments are made to the capital daily. And much of it ends up on the menus at these incredible seafood restaurants in Madrid!
Did you know that Madrid is home to one of the largest fish markets in the world? Mercamadrid brings in more than 200,000 tons of fresh fish and seafood every year!
So it comes as no surprise that we love all things seafood here in the capital, from simple anchovies and shrimp to the odd-looking and shockingly priced gooseneck barnacles. We’ll try it all!
To help you narrow it down, we’ve scoured the metropolitan area for the best seafood restaurants in Madrid. You’re spoiled for choice here, but here are six of our favorite spots 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 Galicians almost always do it right. Hailing from the northwestern 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. A humble-looking spot just off of Fuencarral, this Galician spot makes up for what it lacks in beauty with piles upon piles of incredible seafood. Order a platter of crab, shrimp and gooseneck barnacles stacked a foot high to share between friends, making for a labor-intensive but fun 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 (Galician-style octopus) and almejas a la marinera (baby clams in a succulent sauce). Finish off the meal with a flaming chalice of queimada, a traditional Galician coffee-based liquor that is lit on fire to burn off some of the alcohol. Seafood restaurants in Madrid don’t get much better than this!
2. Marisquería La Paloma
This spot in La Latina is another one of the best seafood restaurants in Madrid, despite not looking like much from the outside.
A typical cervecería and seafood house, La Paloma is as no-frills as it gets. Stop in for a beer after an afternoon spent exploring the hip surrounding neighborhood and order a few raciones of your favorite seafood.The grilled shrimp (gambas a la plancha) come highly recommended—and with good reason—but don’t miss out on 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 when done right. In Spain, we preserve the freshest and tastiest fish in cans laden with high-quality olive oils and vinegars. Many locals enjoy a can with crusty bread and a glass of wine or vermouth.
3. Casa Revuelta
Another no-frills favorite near Plaza Mayor, Casa Revuelta is known for its bacalao rebozado, or batter-fried codfish. 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!
If you’re looking for something different, go for the tuna empanadas or torreznos (pork rinds). The calamari cooked in its ink also makes for a perfectly decadent and traditional bite. This Madrid seafood restaurant is the perfect spot to stop by for a bite before continuing your tapas crawl on nearby Calle Cava Baja.
4. Bar Santurce
One of the best-known Sunday activities in Madrid is the Rastro flea market. There, you can find everything, and we do mean everything—from antique furniture to handmade leather goods, and even some great seafood.
After spending your morning bargain hunting, head to Bar Santurce for 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.
Not sure where to start? You can’t go wrong with the the calamari (try them in a sandwich for a typical Madrid bite) and the lightly fried boquerones—the perfect way to end an adventurous Sunday.
5. La Caleta Taberna Gaditana
To go full-on Andalusian, head to La Caleta in Lavapies. This place is straight out of Cádiz, a seaside region of Andalusia known for its excellent fried seafood. Always full of locals, often Cádiz transplants themselves, you can be sure it’s among the best seafood restaurants in Madrid.
One can’t-miss dish here is the cazón al adobo, or marinated and fried dogfish, which is always perfectly crisp and flavorful. We also love the pescaíto frito, a mix of fried fish and seafood that will make you feel like you’re sitting on a sunny beachside terrace in the south of Spain.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that most of the best seafood restaurants in Madrid are no-frills dive bars. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Alabaster is calling your name.
Separated into two dining spaces, one more formal than the other, Alabaster specializes in contemporary Galician cuisine, including plenty of excellent seafood dishes. No matter what you order, be sure to pair it with a wine from their ample list—their cellar is 1,000 references strong.
Seafood Restaurants in Madrid FAQs
Fish and seafood are a major part of Spanish gastronomy. Some of the most common items are gambas (shrimp), almejas (clams), mejillones (mussels), bacalao (salt cod), atún (tuna), calamares (squid), and pulpo (octopus).
A marisquería is a shellfish bar, though sometimes the word is used more loosely to describe a seafood restaurant. If you’re craving seafood, look for this word!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on March 25, 2014 and was updated with new text and photos on June 7, 2021.