La Chalana Marisquerias Restaurant: An Honest review
“You might consider dropping everything to become a fisherman after trying this!”
La Chalana Marisquerias is a group of 6 restaurants specialized in Fish and Seafood. 4 of them are around Spain: Aviles, Grandia Siero, Gijon and Oviedo. 2 are in Madrid: one next to Plaza de España and one in Castellana 179. We tried the most central one, Calle San Leonardo 12, just next to the square at the end of Gran Via, Plaza de España.
The restaurant is all internal, no windows facing the outside, but yet feels spacious and welcoming. It is an elegant environment but like most Spanish restaurants you will find here a very informal and homemade atmosphere. What strikes your attention from the beginning is the wide variety and choice of wines they have, mainly white ones obviously given the mainly fish and seafood menu. They have a solid salad and red meat selection for those who are not fond of this maritime cuisine.
They also have a good Cider (Sidra)variety, that despite the Irish apple beer type, in Spain it is a popular Cantabric alcoholic drink that comes yes from the same fruit but has a pretty much different taste. Less sweet and more aged in a way. We ordered a majestic Mussels Soup a la marinara and a Mixed Grilled Seafood dish for two.The mussels were delicious, the soup was just slightly thicker than usual and it must have had a bit of fish stock coming from some real fish soup they make as the soup was almost more delicious than the giant many mussels that came already open.
The Seafood was of course the main part. Remember that this restaurant is called La Chalana Marisquerias (Seafood in Spanish). Many people claim that the absolutely freshest fish and seafood in Spain is found in Madrid, where the best restaurants are, and where they can pay the most for. Remember that Madrid is one of the furthest points to the seaside of Spain given its central and quite hilly position.
It is honestly quite challenging to express in words the fireworks, the earthquake, the geyser of pleasure and bliss you can experience when you start entering the underwater journey together with the chef of La Chalana. You are literally taken by hand and brought in the deepest corners of the Cantabric sea, a sort of culinary Little Mermaid experience.
Simple elements like olive oil, sea salt and lemon stress the qualities and the freshness of the seafood. A variety of techniques are used for the different fruits of the sea:
Cantabrian Injun lobster, Seafarer style clams, Grilled clams, King-crab, Brown crab, Large prawns, Seafarer style Mussels, Vinaigrette mussels, Grilled Scallops all cooked in different ways, some stirred, others boiled and most grilled.
The waiter that attended us wisely suggested a few white wine options from which we picked a Valmiñor Albariño of Rias Baixas, a white from Galicia with plenty of character. A vivid golden color and a mineral taste with sparkles of apple and daisy. Great suggestion!
All in all the service was good, there were plenty of waiters always ready to help and the attention was always satisfying with waiters changing our plates frequently when they got filled with seafood memorabilia. The price we found very honest, we spent 65€ among two people with 2 glasses of wine and the starter. Considering that fresh seafood is somewhat an expensive ingredient to begin with and the majestic way in which it was prepared, I believe it is a fair price. I included a peak of the menu so you can see that there are plenty of other interesting options with a variety of prices.
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