Located in the upscale district of Salamanca in downtown Madrid, Lobito de Mar restaurant brings a taste of the Mediterranean seaside to the landlocked Spanish capital, both gastronomically and conceptually. Designed by Barcelona-based interior design practice Astet Studio, the two-level venue is imbued with marine tones and textures, aquatic iconography and maritime references, inspired by Malaga’s beautiful coastline and filtered through the designers’ sense of contemporary sophistication as a reflection of the restaurant’s seafood-based menu.
The designers' conceptual approach is brandished at the restaurant's dining terrace where a timber-clad structure supports a dark blue translucent fabric that gives the sensation of sea waves as it hovers above the tables. Enveloped by a palette of natural colours and wooden texture, the space is dominated by a bespoke roof light in the shape of a boat that further reinforces the seascape theme.
On the ground floor, the main dining area has been conceived as two distinct yet complimentary zones, one evoking the cool charm of Malaga’s fish markets, and the other the craftsmanship of traditional shipyards. Centred on a rounded bar counter rendered in blue and white tones, the former space is dominated by cool materials like granite, terrazzo, and brushed steel interweaved with softer textures found in the walnut panelling, white-painted wooden ceiling beams and white braided fabrics that mimic fishing nets: At night, the braided fabric panels are backlit by coloured neon lights swapping the upmarket fish market ambience for a lounge vibe.
In the adjoining shipyard-inspired space, a warmer palette of walnut wood, warm whites and terracotta fabrics prevails, enhanced by bespoke ceramic wall tiles in alternating beige and cream hues whose gleaming pattern alludes to fish scales. Vintage seascape paintings are juxtaposed with contemporary fish-like sculptures while stainless-steel wall cladding subtly links the two zones.
Ushering patrons down to the basement level, a majestic, light-filled staircase brings the nautical theme to the fore with nautical ropes running from floor to ceiling and an immersive sand-covered wall made with materials from the beaches of Malaga, while a barrel vaulted lobby at the bottom of the stairs, resplendent in red tiles and a large painting of fish set in a black background, creates a more intimate ambience.
The restaurant’s lower level comprises two consecutive private dining spaces, the first one welcoming guests into the hull of a ship and the second one transporting them to the bottom of the sea. Dominated by a curved timber roof structure painted in a vibrant burgundy red, the first dining room gives the impression that you’ve stepped into bowels of a wooden boat, an illusion enhanced by the window-like backlit wall panels and mirrors that garbles the perception of the space.
The second private dining space also features a swallow barrel vault, albeit rendered in a dark blue instead of red, which along with the shiny blue wall tiles, sea urchin-like sconces and sand walls, evoke an uncanny setting at the depth of the sea, while the stainless-steel bar, mirrors and leather upholstery add an overall richness to the dining experience.
The bathroom has also been creatively conceived, inspired by a raw, fishmonger industrial vibe. Centred on a large, trough-like sink made of aged concrete, the space is encircled by a transparent industrial curtain while the cubicles are marked by refrigerated fish. Ultimately, it is this playful attention to each and every detail that makes Lobito de Mar such as a unique experience of discovery.