Mushrooms are becoming more valuable in Spain every day and picking the mushrooms legal or illegally has turned into a popular large-scale business these days in order to gain some extra income.
The Guardia civil even arrested a whole gang of mushroom mafia in the first week of December 2014 in a special police operation called Operación Boletus. The gang, that existed of around 45 members, were camping out illegally in the woods of Huesca and searched every day from dawn till dusk for wild mushrooms, harvesting huge illegal amounts of any type that were later sold to restaurants or private buyers.
A kilo of Lactarius delicious, better known in Spain as níscalos, can cost up to €30, while different varieties of boletus can reach three times that figure. Popular areas to pick mushrooms in Spain are Palencia, in the north of the Castilla y León region and the tiny province of Soria, located around 200 kilometres in the northeast of Madrid.
Soria, normally famous for its cold temperatures in winter seems to be a hot place these days for any mushroom lovers, as its also one of Spain’s richest sources to look for any type of rare mushrooms. During the season, the entire region seems dedicated to mushrooms, with hotels and restaurants offering special dishes, along with guided tours to identify species, tastings, and special markets where freshly picked mushrooms can be bought directly.
Signs posted along Soria’s back roads warn that mushroom gathering is tightly controlled and that large-scale collection is forbidden. Anybody wishing to collect them must have a permit issued by the local town hall. A local forest ranger says that this year Soria has been particularly hit hard by illegal mushroom collectors but the authorities in Soria say they still have little idea as to where these tons of mushrooms end up.
Mushrooms in Madrid
It could be that the majority of these mushrooms seem to end up all in Madrid, as I have never seen so much different types on offer this year. Almost every supermarket, local grocery store or fruit shop in Madrid seems to sell a different variety of mushrooms these days, and if they don’t have the type you are looking for, they can even order it on some occasions.
But if you are a lazy cook and you don’t feel like preparing your own mushrooms, Madrid also has some excellent bars and restaurants that are famous for the mushrooms they have on their menus. Here below I have selected the most famous Mushrooms restaurants and bars in Madrid, where you for sure will find some delicious setas to try out.
TOP 5 Madrid´s Mushroom Restaurants by Berber
NR 1 El Cisne Azul Bar , calle Gravina, 19 Madrid & NR 2 El Cisne Azul Restaurant, calle Gravina, 27 Madrid
Located in the heart of Chueca this local Spanish mushroom bar and annex mushroom restaurant are both specialised in serving a wide variety of setas as the Spanish say (mushrooms).
My dearest friend José was so nice to invite me for a few raciones (portions) in the restaurant and we tried the following varieties; Lentinus, Cantharellus, Trompetillas and Cardo Silvestre. I must say that I liked the Trompetillas the best as they really tasted like the forest itself, an absolutely delicious taste.
Every day they have a different variety of mushrooms on the menu and they never know beforehand what will be delivered to them the next day. If you don’t feel like eating fancy you can also go and have a drink at the bar next door which also serves excellent mushroom dishes for sometimes reasonable prices.
NR 3 Cafetería Arlanza (metro Cuatro Caminos)
Calle de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 12
A very local Spanish bar, where you probably will see some local men arguing about the latest football match at the bar while the television probably is turned on its loudest volume. Don’t be put off though by this authentic scene and just order the boletus and the clarita for 10EUR and enjoy this superb combination. You will be surprised by the delicious taste of the boletus and the great combination is makes with the white wine. This incredible combination can also be ordered with jamón, if you like it bit saltier.
NR 4 El Imperio
Galileo, 51. Madrid
Although not the cheapest, they are known for their excellent mushrooms dishes and especially their boletus. Maybe the portions are a bit small for their price but they definitely know here how to prepare their setas at this place.
NR 5 Meson del Champinon
Calle Cava de San Miguel, 17 Madrid
Although here they aren’t specialised in serving a different variety of mushrooms they do serve an outstanding ordinary mushroom the whole year round. Its cooked in front of you on a grill and stuffed with chorizo, parsley, salt and doused with some lemon and the taste is absolutely delicious. The English of the staff is not so good, but they do have a translated sort of menu… A musician fires up his keyboard at night while you enjoy authentic Spanish food, and plays cheesy old Spanish songs like “Bésame Mucho” which gives you the real authentic Madrileño feeling… Even though its a touristy place, just go with the flow and enjoy the quirky atmosphere.
Another restaurant in Madrid specialised in Mushrooms
La Cocina de María Luisa
Jorge Juan, 42. Madrid
Located in the most expensive neighbourhood in Madrid so be prepared to pay way more than average. The owner is originally from Soria (Maria Luisa) and can tell you everything about the mushrooms they have on their menu.
Marqués de Cubas, 14. Madrid
They have a special mushroom menu of 37,50EUR ( no drinks included) where you can find mushrooms in almost each dish. The starter contains amanita caesarea, the main course trompeta amarilla, and the steak is served with boletus.
Calle Javier Ferrero, 8 Madrid
Famous for their original mushroom menus and their excellent price-quality. Probably the best newcomer on this list besides El Cisne Azul.