Though this list of establishments receiving my highest rating does not include all the eating experiences I plan to include in this series, among these establishments are the following:
1. Extebarri in the Basque Country has refined grilling a magical art form, so almost ever dish you get is something special.
2. Elkano and Kaia in the fishing village of Getaria is the place to go for the best txangurro (spider crab scrape from the shell, put back into the shell with leeks, sherry, brandy and breadcrumbs and passed under the broiler and whole rodaballo (turbot) cooked outside over a wood fire.
3. El Crucero, in the overlooked town of Corella, in southern Navarra, which is a vegetable region. The creative chef, Nabor Jiménez does dishes such as sliced, fried small artichoke hearts with foie gras (have a sweet Aliaga Late Harvest muscatel with dish, since only sweet wines don’t clash with artichokes.
4. La Taberna del Gourmet, María José San Román’s incredible tradtional cuisine restaurant in Alicante, just a block of the palm-lined Explanada. The best product, the best technique. Maybe the best tapas restaurant in Spain. Gambas rojas de Denia, rice dishes, sea urchins, etc. Whatever is fresh from the market that day. Coverage of the remarkable GrupoGourmet culinary empire in Alicante, including her Michelin-starred Monastrell, the Tribeca beer and hamburger bar and her son-in-law’s grilled meat restaurant, La Vaquería, El Campello (Playa de San Juan de Alicante).
5. Casa Elias, in the pueblo of Xinorlet inland in the province of Alicante, for thin-layer arroz cooked in paella pans over a grape vine cuttings fire.
6. D’Berto in O Grove (Pontevedra), Galicia. Certainly among the greatest shellfish restaurants in the world.
7. Casa Bigote and Bar Bigote in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Andalucía. Exceptional seafood, friend fish, composed fish dishes and those wonderful Langostinos (prawns) de Sanlúcar, fresh off the plancha grill.
8. Quim de la Boquería in la Boquería market in Barcelona. Put yourself in Quim Marquéz’s hands for a five-star dining experience on a taburete (barstool). Plump gambas al ajillo, among the best in Spain. Lovely ceviche de corvina with mango with Juve i Camps Pinot Noir Rosat (rosé) Cava. Fried tiny fish, chanquetes con huevo frito, with a fried egg. You can also go to front of the market to the legendary Pinotxo and have Xuchos, a wonderful pastry, and Calamarsets Saltats amb Fesos de Santa Pau (baby squid with tiny white Santa Pau (a village north of Barcelona on the Mediterranean.
9. Ganbara, in the old quarter of San Sebastián, has numerous varieties of mushrooms. Have an assortment grilled, use a raw egg yolk as the sauce and you will be in mushroom heaven.
10. Madrid, on Sunday nights most restaurants are closed, so I go to two places. First, Marisquería Rafa, in the other side of Retiro Park in the Ibiza Metro area, where Rafa Andrés serves one of the best salpicónes, either with lobster or with shellfish in vinaigrette, one of the best ensaladillas rusas (“Russian” potato salad), wonderful jamón Ibérico and other dishes such as beberechos (cockles).
After having some of Rafa’s dishes as appetizers, I usually go to Casa Lucio on Cava Baja in the Old Quarter of Madrid and eat setas a la plancha (plancha-grilled mushrooms with garlic, for which I request a raw egg yolk or two as a sauce, and huevos rotos con patatas (eggs “broken” over friend potatoes) and maybe a steak brought out on a sizzling platter. Yes, Casa Lucio is getting my Five Dalí POM (Persistence of Memory) Melting Watch Award as well. If I am in Madrid on a Sunday night, 99% of those nights I will end up at either Casa Lucio or Marisquería Rafa. Yes, I know there are supposed to be better places for traditional Castilian food in Madrid than Lucio and Rafa and I know a lot of them, but both places are home and family to me and it would be hard to beat the overall experiences at either place.
Calle de Narváez, 68
28009 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 915 73 10 87
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015.
Fried salmonetes, excellent small red mullet, at Marisquería Rafa.
Exquisite gambas rosas de Denia at Marisquería Rafa.
About Gerry Dawes
Gerry Dawes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): email@example.com