Coque, Humanes de Madrid, 12/17/16

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exterior

Coque is a 30 minute cab ride from the center of Madrid in an unlikely looking location.  They do have a good sized building which provides plenty of room for a large kitchen, several smoking ovens, a huge basement wine cellar, a medium sized main floor dining room and a downstairs lounge. Your meal moves you through all these areas in what is undoubtedly an attempt to make it a dining experience, not just a meal. The three Sandoval brothers,  chef(Mario), sommelier(Diego) and dining room management(Rafael), now own the restaurant started 14 years ago by their father.  Definitely a family operation, today even Diego’s son is working as a waiter in the restaurant. Continue reading

Restaurante La Buena Vida, Madrid, 12/17/16

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front door

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.   Continue reading

DSTAgE, Madrid, 12/16/16

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entrance

DSTAgE is medium sized place with a surprise tasting menu.  Your only choice is the number of courses and you do receive a copy of the menu when you are finished with the meal. It is a very casual setting but I did note a number of celebratory dinners being held. It is a staged meal with you moving through a couple stations to start the meal. We started in the bar area where you are encouraged to order a cocktail, but it is not part of the meal price. Continue reading

Restaurante Sacha, Madrid, 12/16/16

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building

This was a repeat visit to Sacha, and the food continues to amaze me with its excellent tastes, textures and freshness. It is a medium sized place with nice linens and good spacing between the tables.  Sacha is the chef and the son of the original owners. The place is filled with ‘regulars’ and Sacha knows them all.  Reservations are a must. Little English is spoken but enough to work through the small menu of tasty choices.   The  maitre d’ took our order and helped suggest some different dishes along with offering to split plates when possible, and the young waiter who delivered the food was most helpful and actually was very conversant in English.  This visit the decorations included a number of cotton plant buds which added nicely to the shades of blue and large amount of artwork adorning the walls.   Continue reading

Restaurante Santceloni, Madrid, 12/15/16

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Hotel that Santceloni is in

Santceloni is a fairly large elegant restaurant located in the Hesperia Hotel in Madrid. Large tables are spread out to give privacy to the guests and make service easy for the large number of staff.  The sparkler cart arrives as soon as you settle into your seat and the house Cava was not a bad buy at 11 euros a glass. The menu contains a number of a la carte items as well as a tasting menu with optional wine pairings.  We chose the tasting menu and our own bottle of white wine from the massive wine list. The sommelier helped pick a glass of red wine to accompany the one meat dish and gave us a complimentary glass of dessert wine to go with the sweets.  The wine storage is located off to one side of the room and is quite impressive.   Continue reading

Restaurante Lua, Madrid, 12/15/16

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sign out front

Lua is a two story place with the main dining room downstairs and a bar/casual dining upstairs. Downstairs the 7 large tables are nicely spaced and set with nice linens but no flowers or condiments. They did have pleasant background music but you couldn’t appreciate it until the climate control cut out. The napkins are tied with a knotted string that was not easy to untie or get off the napkin.  The only option in the main dining room is a surprise 9 course tasting menu for 65 euros or with wine pairings it is 90 euros. The staff is okay but their English was limited and thus the explanations of the dishes was minimal.  This seemed odd for a Michelin starred restaurant, but the general vibe of the place was really laid back and not overly inviting. Continue reading

La Manduca de Azagra, Madrid, 12/14/16

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Exterior

La Manduca de Azagra is a fairly long restaurant spread over numerous rooms with good spacing between tables that are appointed with lovely linens.  The lighting and noise level are perfect.  There is a fairly large menu with nightly special vegetables being featured.  We split a number of dishes so we could sample a good variety of their food, and the portion size was perfect. Not all the staff spoke English but they couldn’t have been more accommodating, gracious and helpful.  The woman, Anabel Arriezu Navarro, who helped us design our menu for the evening turned out to be the co-owner and wife of the chef,  Juan Miguel Sola Prado.  They have had the restaurant in this location since 2003 and still have their farm in Navarro. Together they make you feel like you are having dinner in their home – they are so friendly and welcoming. It was a totally delightful evening.  Continue reading