The Best Seafood Ever? Review of Romerijo Restaurant in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain
The best? Maybe.
Really fresh? Definately. Few restaurants are fresher.
Romerijo specializes in fresh fish and have been perfecting the art since opening in 1952. Romerijo has several locations in the immediate vicinity, in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain and another in Sevilla, Spain.
El Puerto de Santa Maria is a cozy, untouristy, off-the-beaten-path yet historic town that’s a quick 10 minute drive from the even more historic city of Cadiz. Based on a local recommendation, the Romerijo restaurant I visited is the one situating itself on the corner of Calle Ribera Del Marisco, one of the roads parallel to the river. The Romerijo company has other restaurants next door – literally cornering the market.
We ate in a laid back atmosphere in a packed restaurant on a warm June afternoon. We sat outside in the terrace-style restaurant eating bread while looking through the menus.
Across the street is the small riverfront park Parkque Calderon, another Romerijo establishment, and the Rio Guadalete, a river draining into the Atlantic Ocean. Up the river come the boats bringing supplies of fresh fish to Romerijo’s fish processing and preparation facility directly across the river.
We had the choice of either ordering from the menu or picking up our food from the fish counter. We reviewed both options and then chose to do a little of both.
At the fish counter (pictured at top), the shellfish are already prepared, boiled. Simply review and pick out what you want. They wrap it up in paper. You take it back to your table and chow down on fresh boiled seafood. Simple and delicious.
We chose sea snails (cañaillas) and 2 large shrimp-like shellfish, langostinos and gambas. We also ordered some Cruzcampo beer as it seems almost illegal in Spain to do otherwise.
This was my first time with cañaillas. Cañaillas taste very much like mussels and are very good. To eat this type of boiled sea snail, a large toothpick is used to pull the meat out of the shell. All the meat is then eaten whole.
The larger shellfish, gambas and langostinos, were as good as they look. Fresh and boiled. No seasoning but the squeeze of a lemon. Simple, fresh fish. Pure flavor.
We also ordered some tapas, choosing fried hake chunks and a plate of spicy fried prawns. Both excellent. We concluded the meal of a mixed salad with tunafish and onions to clear our palates.
The waitstaff can provide an English menu if needed. I looked at both – always trying to improve my Spanish! I was able to snap off a few pictures of the menus. Take a look at the menus to see the variety of seafoods. If you don’t like seafood, you are out of luck. Romerijo also offers several fish platter assortments too.
Here’s one of the menus translated into English:
The restaurant’s location is convenient. After the meals, we walked around to the nearby historical sights, working off the meal befrore heading to Cadiz.
My take? I’m not a food expert. But I have eaten at several Spanish coastal restaurants all the way up to Barcelona and this ranks as the best of my limited experiences. Maybe there are many more like this in the province of Cadiz. I drool at the thought.
Still, next time I’m in the area, it will require restraint to keep me from going back to this little seafood restaurant on the corner of Calle Rivera del Marisco in El Puerto de Santa Maria.