Zalacaín celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013, an accomplishment that is impressive for any business, but even more so for restaurants which can come and go as tastes and trends change. The secret formula at Zalacaín is that they continue to do what they have done since they opened in 1973: serve the highest quality food, and provide customers with superior service in a classic and elegant setting. This is what earned them the distinction of being the first Spanish restaurant to receive 3 Michelin stars back in 1987. Although their rating has fallen and they now have 1 Michelin star, which still puts them in outstanding culinary company, they continue to be a standard bearer for high quality Spanish cuisine.
The restaurant is tucked away in a residential area of the upscale Salamanca neighborhood, just off the Paseo de la Castellana. Even though a lot has changed over the past 40 years, Zalacaín has retained its atmosphere of old world charm and elegance. The color tones are classic and warm, the furnishings elegant, and the tables are impeccably set with fine china and silver cutlery. Formal attire is still required, and men are required to wear a jacket and tie. It’s the type of place that you would not be surprised to see the King and Queen of Spain, heads of State, or other dignitaries enjoying a meal alongside other diners.
The chef Juan Antonio Medina Gálvez stays true to Zalacaín’s mission of turning out traditional Spanish cuisine using the highest quality seasonal ingredients. The menu includes a wide variety of dishes to choose from, including a section labeled “Zalacaín Classics” which have withstood the test of time. Classic dishes include Lasagna gratinada de hongos e hígado de oca (lasagna gratin with wild mushrooms and foie gras), Bacalao Tellagori (codfish Tellagori), Manita de cerdo rellena de setas y cordero a la mostaza (pork trotter stuffed with wild mushrooms and lamb in mustard sauce), and Ensalada de langostinos macerados con aguacate y naranja (prawns macerated with avocado and orange salad). There is an impressive wine list with over 35,000 bottles to choose from. Sommelier Custodio López Zamarra, a highly recognized wine expert and author of many books on wine, can help you find the perfect pairing for your menu selections.
Zalacaín is still going strong after 40 years, and continues to a standard bearer for classic Spanish cuisine. It is well worth a visit on your next trip to Madrid.
- Calle Álvarez de Baena, 4
- Madrid, Spain
- Phone: (91) 561 48 40
- Website: Zalacaín
Photo credit: © Zalacaín Restaurante
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