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Best seafood in Madrid?

d
dsilv Sep 19, 2007 07:10 AM

Looking for an excellent seafood experience in Madrid. I've heard La Trainera is good, but also some good things about O Pazo and Bajamar. Any suggestions?

  1. kathinmadrid Sep 19, 2007 03:05 PM

    I just read a good review of La Trainera. Do you speak Spanish? A fun site to look at is http://11870.com which is a compilation of the public's reviews of, well, everything. I did a search for restaurante pescado Madrid (restaurant, fish, Madrid). I'm no fish expert though so I can't make a personal comment. Most small bars and restaurants are indeed either closed on Sundays or Mondays (your other post) but you'll certainly find something open and Madrid is really a wonderful city for food.

    1. d
      dsilv Sep 20, 2007 12:58 PM

      I was leaning towards La Trainera, but was disconcerted by another Chowhound's experience earlier this year, where he was grossly overcharged by the management and ended up paying almost $300euros for dinner for two (with just two mains, two dozen clams, 2 king prawns each, and two bottles of wine at 17euros each). That kind of scared me. I since found out that O'Pazo is closed for renovation, and my hotel is recommending El Pescador (owned by the same people) as a stand-in. I don't speak Spanish, but thanks for your input!

      1. d
        dsilv Sep 20, 2007 01:19 PM

        Has anyone had any experience with El Pescador? It's apparently owned by the people who own O'Pazo (which is closed for renovation), but I was wondering whether anyone has a report on it.

        1. kathinmadrid Sep 20, 2007 02:26 PM

          There are several restaurants with the name "El Pescador" but I assume you're looking at the up-market one on Ortega y Gassett as opposed to a variety of tapas bars I see in the list. I didn't find any reviews of the place in the sites I use but I did see their menu and it's VERY expensive. The prices are listed for 100 grams of the foods. You don't have to spend a lot of money to eat really well in Madrid (a lot of money by American standards) but the premium seafood places are always expensive. Keep in mind that the fact that the food is not "native" to Madrid (not near the coast here) means that prices will often be jacked-up for that reason. Another thing to keep in mind is that you are never going to get "fresh" seafood. Our health department now requires that it all be frozen for a certain period of time before it can be served. And let's face it, it will lose a lot of flavor that way. I'll recommend one of my favorite restaurants here: Paulino. Fantastic food, great atmosphere. Classic Spanish dishes but with a modern touch like roast lamb with raspberry compote. Sorry to be so long-winded.

          6 Replies
          1. re: kathinmadrid
            b
            butterfly Sep 20, 2007 03:30 PM

            > Our health department now requires that it all be frozen for a certain period of time before it can be served.

            That's not true! If it were, people would be rioting in the streets--seriously. Any trip to the market will demonstrate that there is a bounty of fresh fish for sale. Fish that is cooked DOES NOT have to be frozen.

            Only fish that is to be served raw, very lightly seared, or marinated in vinegar is required to be frozen. Which basically effects a small subset of fish dishes: sushi, boquerones en vinagre, and other fish escabeches/carpaccios. The onus is on the restaurant to do the freezing... given the general lack of adherence to these sorts of laws--see the law on smoking, for example--I'd say it's very unlikely that most Spanish restaurants are even doing this much (though I believe most sushi restaurants already did before the law).

            http://www.elmundo.es/elmundosalud/2006/12/01/medicina/1164990700.html
            http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_da... (the actual law

            )

            The reason that those marisquerías are so expensive is that they are the creme de la creme with relatively large menus (some smaller mariquerías have a much smaller, more limited menu of just a handful of items). Every single thing served there has an impeccable pedigree. And with the state of the fisheries these days, that means expensive. The truth is that the seafood in Madrid is generally drastically superior to what you will find in the US--even at humble neighborhood joints--so unless you need to have the very, very best, and are willing to pay the premium to get it, you can eat very well at less expensive places.

            1. re: butterfly
              kathinmadrid Sep 21, 2007 12:07 AM

              Thanks for the info, Butterfly. I was repeating what I was told by health inspectors from "sanidad" in March of this year. Perhaps they were exaggerating? I don't work with any fresh fish so it didn't affect me. What they told me was that fish bought fresh had to be frozen, certain types for seven days, before serving in a restaurant. Not that the consumer is required to buy it frozen or freeze it before eating it at home. I read the El Mundo article you linked to and it indeed provides different information than what I was told.

              1. re: kathinmadrid
                b
                butterfly Sep 21, 2007 02:47 AM

                Yes, there must have been a misunderstanding, because that is not what the law says--at all. Nothing would taste the way that it does if that were true! Cooking kills the parasites. Only raw and undercooked fish is the issue with anisakis. The primary dish affected (and the one that most caused people to be up in arms) is boquerones en vinagre.

                1. re: butterfly
                  d
                  dsilv Sep 21, 2007 07:06 AM

                  Thanks for all the insight; it's much appreciated. I don't need to have the absolute best of the best and pay through the nose for it -- are there more down-to earth, reasonably priced marisquerias that people can recommend (I'm going to check out Paulino online, but I thought maybe there are some more to consider that are highly thought of)?

                  1. re: dsilv
                    Chuckles the Clone Sep 21, 2007 04:32 PM

                    According to the calendar, yesterday marks the one-year anniversary since the last time I was in Spain. So from now on, anything I say is even more unreliable than ever.

                    That said, two things come to mind: First, should you encounter it, La Trucha was pretty "meh". Even though it's in the heart of the touristical danger-zone, it came with high recommendations from trustworthy locals. I don't know, maybe we ordered wrong?

                    Second, I had a great lunch at a place on the west side of Bravo Murillo just south of Quatro Caminos, in a nondescript little marisquería with a huge pile of sea things in the window. I've lost my notes and can't find it online but if for some odd reason you happen to be up in that area it's worth trying to track down.

                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                      b
                      butterfly Sep 22, 2007 08:36 AM

                      Hey, I think I know just the place you are talking about. It's called Marisquería Norte-Sur. It's on the block south of the circle at Cuatro Caminos--well off the beaten tourist path, that's for sure. It definitely falls into the down-and-dirty neighborhood category--not in the same league (raw material-wise) as the others discussed here. There are lots and lots of places like it in Madrid, but I really like this particular place (so much so that I am always manufacturing errands up that way so I can go) because on to of the nice grilled mariscos the menu includes other grilled items (chuletón, esparragos, vegetables). I believe they have tables in the back that can be reserved, but we always stand at the bar in the front.

                      Calle Bravo Murillo, 97
                      http://maps.google.es/maps?f=q&q=...

                      Like a lot of neighborhood marisquerías, I believe it starts serving and closes up earlier than regular restaurants.

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