The landlocked city of Madrid is supposedly home to the country’s best quality fish and seafood. Why? Because Madrileños say so! Opinion aside, it’s true that fresh fish from all coasts of Spain are shipped to the capital on a daily basis and one restaurant in Sol has taken full advantage: Chirignuito de El Señor Martín, located on Calle Mayor.
Chiringuito means ‘beach bar’ in Spanish, hence the restaurant’s beach-chic feel and menu featuring a variety of fish and seafood platters. During summer, this chiringuito gets even breezier when it opens its glass doors onto Calle Mayor and becomes one with the sidewalk. During winter, the restaurant also expands its menu to include heartier seafood stews and rice dishes.
James and I had the pleasure of having lunch here on Wednesday. When you walk in, you see the fresh fish on display, which comes straight from El Señor Martín, a high-quality fish market inside Mercado de San Miguel (and where the restaurant gets the other half of its name).
You can see right into the kitchen, where you’ll find the tattoo-covered chef, Beltrán Alonso. He and the waiter kindly explained each menu item to us, as well as the innovative cooking techniques they use and the origin of their ingredients. So without further ado, here’s what we had…
To drink, we started off with two glasses of champagne, which came with a tapa of camarones, baby shrimp that are caught using sustainable fishing methods.
Our first sarter was ensaladilla rusa, a traditional homemade potato salad with baby shrimp and fish roe. This is on their permanent menu and it wouldn’t be a real Spanish fish restaurant without it!
Our second starter was very innovative: gambas con dos cocciones y ajo morado de las Pedroñeras, twice-cooked shrimp with black garlic. It’s important to note that the black garlic they use is the best in Spain (if not the world, according to our waiter). The flavor of the shrimp was completely distinct and absolutely delicious.
Our third starter was our favorite: calamares. This is one of the most typical dishes in Andalucía and here, it’s not only good quality (fresh from El Señor Martín market) but also prepared in extra virgin olive oil, like everything else on the menu. It was so fresh, light and satisfying. You have to get this when you go here no matter what.
For our main dish, we had arroz meloso con corvina salvaje (rice cooked in broth with wild sea bass), accompanied by two glasses of albariño (Galician white wine). I really loved this dish. The sea bass was cooked to perfection and the rice had a delicious flavor to it. I couldn’t have been happier. To top it all off, we had cheesecake!
If you’re in Sol and looking for some of the freshest fish in the city, as well as a mini-trip to the beach, this is your place!