La Buena Vida is a small place in Madrid that has been run by Chef Carlos Torres and his wife Elisa Rodríguez for 16 years. It is a cozy place of about a dozen tables dominated by a large wood bar and street windows, with subdued lighting and nice linens. The lovely proprietors make you feel like you are in their home for dinner and our language barriers just didn’t matter. If you have the chance I highly recommend trying the terrific food and great vibe of this place.
After Elisa gets you settled at a table she brings a tasty relish tray of tomatoes(nice), olive tapenade(amazing, one of the best I’ve ever had), olive oil and some crispy crackers to snack on while you look over the menu. Then Chef Torres comes to the table to take your order and more importantly advise you on what and how much to get. Take his advice, he knows what is freshest and best – he designed a fabulous feast for our dinner there and suggested some of the nightly specials that are not on the menu too.
We started with the tongue and foie gras paté and it was amazing. Smooth, rich foie gras combined with tender and meaty tongue – a great match. Yum x2 here!
The mushrooms were combined with sausage and potatoes. This was simple elegance in its best form. The flavors melded into the sauce and all came together to produce a something great. A lick-the-plate dish for sure.
Another terrific suggestion from them was the wine which was absolutely spectacular. Unfortunately it was their last bottle cause I would have been tempted to linger there over a second bottle.
The skate was Galician style, served with brown butter. The Yums just kept coming cause this was x3 for sure. The amazing fish and tender potatoes were surrounded by the most buttery delicious sauce, each bite was a delight. The capers added a nice tart contrast in just the perfect proportion. Even the potatoes seemed great. This man can make magic with his food.
He is known for his Woodcock and he only had one left that night so we split it (as we had with all the previous courses). It is the entire bird, breast, leg, organs and head served with apple and pomegranate seeds. The bird was perfectly cooked, still juicy and tender. It is a gamey, wild bird so stay clear it that’s not your thing.
For dessert we had the apple tart which had intense tastes of both apple and butter and was surrounded by cream. There was not crust just the wonderful taste of apple and butter. It was terrific. The cheesecake was surrounded by strawberry jam, which was good all by itself. The cheesecake was creamy and the kind that has no hint of dryness. Luckily he kept the portions moderate cause I couldn’t leave a bit on the plate. Yum x2.