The irrefutable fact is that Madrid does not have a beach. What you can count on is the spectacular gastronomy that the capital has to offer; savoring the summer whether you are at the beach or not. For this reason and because we don’t have a pool to cool down, we have gone out searching for restaurants – air conditioning included- who know how to elaborate the best rice. Take note because this cuisine truly is causing a sensation.
With a recently renovated image, the restaurant located in the Hotel Meliá Castilla is the perfect ally if you want to be transported to the Mediterranean. For 35 years, this restaurant has offered one of the most acclaimed and difficult to elaborate Valencian gastronomy. To prepare good rice, it goes without saying that it takes good and prime ingredients, patience and time; with this, it has become one of the best restaurants for rice in the capital. Preparing them upon the order being placed, the restaurant offers a wide variety of choices of arroces melosos, paellas o fideuás. Great options include the Bogavante served with large prawns and the Puerros with fresh clams. As for the paellas, L’Albufera – with lobster, cuttlefish, prawns, and shrimp is a popular option. In addition to the specialty of the house, the menu also has other fish and meat options like the Entrecot de vaca ruby gallega that is matured for 30 days and the Rapito a la bilbaina with traditional ajada. There are also recipes made for vegans and vegetarians like the Parrillada with vegetables of the season.
Average price: 40 € (without drinks)
Hours: Monday through Sunday from 13:00 to 16:00 and from 20:00 to 23:30h.
Address: C/ Poeta Joan Maragall, 43.
Sa Brisa https://plateselector.com/sa-brisa/
The Baleares Islands protagonize the gastronomic offerings of this local restaurant is located in the Retiro neighborhood. It has been exactly a year since this restaurant brought typical Mediterranean cuisine to Madrid with local techniques and products such as homemade sobrepasada, Ibiza salt, and the Xeixa bread, among others. Behind the kitchens plates, chef Gonzalo Aragüez provides a menu that showcases the most representative plates of Ibiza, like the Croquetas de Bullit de peix, the Cochinillo (pig) de porc negre ibicenco (a breed of Balearic pig) and the Empanadas rellenas de sofrito payés. If there is one dish that collects the essence of Baleares is, without doubt, the Mantaza(slaughter) rice. This rice is treated as a traditional plate that is prepared the day the pig is killed for all that participated in the party and this is one of the main claims of the Pitiusa island.
Average price: 40 €
Hours: Mondays through Sundays from 12:00 to 24:00h
Address: Av. de Menéndez Pelayo, 15, 28009 Madrid
Photography: Nacho Alcalde Ruiz
Antigua Casa de la Paella
With an eagerness to transform the center of the capital’s cuisine back to the tradition of the Casa Lucio, the entrepreneur Luca Gambato opened the doors of this restaurant where the paella and traditional cuisine is converted into the identity of the area. For its gastronomic offering, devised by chef Pablo Velilla, and experience in restaurants like La Bomba Bistrot (where he specialized in rice) and La Vanduca, specialized plates include the sirloin tartar over roasted marrow and carpaccio, the Croquetas of goat milk with jam and of course, the rice. Prepared in a traditional manner with Valencian rice. Here, the restaurant gives the customer the option of choosing between rice dishes that are dry, scorched and crunchy, and soft and gooey. Some of their best options are Duck rice with boletus and vegetables. For the fine diners, there’s nothing like succumbing to the lobster. True triumph!
Average Price: 35-40 €
Hours: From 12:00 to 16:30 h. and 19:30 to 00:00 h. Closed Tuesdays and Sundays at night.
Address: C/ de la Pasa, 2
El Caldero https://plateselector.com/el-caldero/
In the center of Las Letras neighborhood, you will find one of the best restaurants in the capital for rice. The owners arrived in Madrid more than 40 years ago with the intention of offering the most representative flavors and dishes of their land. Not only have they done it but they have launched themselves into the Madrid public with their caracoles (snails), paparajotes and their well-known specialty plate archiconocido arroz al caldero. This restaurant has more than ten variations – arroz de chato, de marisco (shellfish), arroz negro, with vegetables, a banda- this is, without a doubt, a favorite. Why? Because of its simplicity, originality and strong flavor. It is elaborated with garlic, tomatoes, ñoras and Mediterranean seafood like mújol. The most interesting part is that it was cooked on the beach and served in a large cauldron.
Average price: 35 €
Hours: Sunday to Monday from 13:00 to 16:00 h; Tuesdays through Saturdays from 13:00 to 16:00 h and from 20:00 to 00:00 h.
Address: C/ Huertas, 15.
Photography: Elena R. Feijoo , Nacho Alcalde Ruiz, and the restaurants
Text: Ana María Clemente