The Best Restaurants in Melilla, Spain

Enjoy fresh seafood in Melilla
Enjoy fresh seafood in Melilla | © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Mark Nayler

Overlooking the Mediterranean, Melilla has fantastic access to fresh seafood – something that its best restaurants capitalise on. And, as a Spanish city on the African continent, it’s home to an array of cuisines, with the Moroccan food here especially good.

From chic harbourside terraces to cosy Spanish tapas joints and elegant Moroccan eateries, the range of excellent dining options in Melilla belies its small size. Whatever you feel like eating, Culture Trip has picked the best restaurants to visit in the city.

Melilla’s excellent range of dining options includes cosy Spanish tapas joints

1. Restaurante Miguel Benitez

Restaurant, Spanish

Boasting a spacious terrace overlooking the port, Restaurante Miguel Benitez is a classically Spanish place to eat in Melilla. It’s gained a reputation for doing the best paellas and arroz dishes (brothy stews usually prepared with meat rather than seafood) in town. The restaurant’s popularity makes for a warm, family atmosphere, especially at weekend lunchtimes.

2. Casa Marta

Restaurant, Spanish

Cosy Casa Marta is nestled on a quiet street in the heart of Melilla. It’s one of the city’s best tapas joints, and serves a free snack with every beer, wine or soft drink ordered – ideal if you want to sample several dishes rather than choosing a single meal. If you’re after something more substantial, though, there’s also a full menu of raciones (main courses). Tables both indoors and outdoors mean you can choose to sit basking in the sun or shelter from it on hotter days.

3. La Pérgola

Restaurant, Spanish

Port-side hangout La Pérgola is comprises several areas, each with its own ambience, making it just as suitable for lunch as for an early-evening drink, with a light, bright interior and plenty of outdoor seating. As is fitting given its seafront location, the fish dishes (pescado a la brasa/plancha) here are exceptional, but the varied menu also offers meat and rice-based options. Prices are reasonable given the premium location, but due to its popularity, it can get busy.

4. Los Polillas

Restaurant, Spanish

For tapas in a historical setting head to Los Polillas, a friendly bar-restaurant housed in a section of La Muralla Real, Melilla’s ancient defensive walls. The terrace spreads out at the foot of the walls and is a great spot for an alfresco lunch of tapas and cañas (small beers) on hot summer afternoons. Must-tries here are the pescaito frito (battered, deep-fried fish) and pinchitos morunos (spicy meat skewers).

5. El Caracol Moderno II

Restaurant, Moroccan

Situated a 20-minute walk from the city centre’s Plaza de España, El Caracol Moderno II serves the best Moroccan food in Melilla. In its elegant dining room, you can enjoy freshly prepared tagines, couscous dishes and Arabic sweets and teas, the latter being served with a sweet couscous as dessert. Attentive staff and excellent value make a meal here even more enjoyable.

6. El Rincón de Alicia

Restaurant, Spanish

A classy little restaurant just outside the Parque Hernández, El Rincón de Alicia, or Alice’s Corner, is one of Melilla’s best-kept secrets. Its carnes a la brasa (meats prepared barbecue-style, on the grill) are cooked to perfection. The entrecôte steak – served in wedges on a black slate and sprinkled with rock salt – must be one of the best meat dishes in the city. For the full Alicia experience, order the superb house red and one of the home-made desserts to finish.

7. EntreVinos

Restaurant, Spanish

Opened in 2006, EntreVinos is a popular choice for both tapas and main meals. The menu offers a great selection of Spanish classics, from meats and fish cooked a la brasa to paellas and croquetas – all of which can be enjoyed in the gastro pub-like interior or out on the terrace. EntreVinos is also a great spot for a late-night drink, never closing its doors before 1.30am.

8. La Gaviota

Restaurant, Spanish

La Gaviota is all the proof you needs that appearances are often deceptive when it comes to tapas joints. This resolutely no-frills establishment, which is amazingly good value, does some of the greatest fried fish and seafood in town, with customers raving about the gambas (shrimp) and calamari. The fish here arrives either as a small tapa with your drink, for no extra charge, or can be ordered separately as either tapas or a main meal.

9. La Posada de Paco Benitez

Restaurant, Spanish

With its rustic interior decorated with antique farming equipment, La Posada de Paco Benitez feels like it should be out in the countryside rather than in Melilla’s city centre. There’s plenty to choose from on its traditional menu, from grilled fish and meat (the latter being a house speciality) to soups and salads. Aperitifs and desserts are complementary and there’s also a superb wine cellar to choose a bottle from.

10. La Traviata

Restaurant, Spanish

Book ahead to avoid disappointment at La Traviata, a small, bistro-type eatery that seats around 30 diners in total. People come here primarily for the seafood – fresh, cooked with flair and beautifully presented – but the meat options on the menu are also highly recommended. All dishes are prepared using high-quality ingredients and the wine list is particularly impressive. A little pricier than elsewhere in Melilla, La Traviata is worth the extra outlay.

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