Cervecería Pittu has about 8 small tables inside along the bench seat walls. A half dozen bar stools also are inside and there is a lot of patio seating. The place has lots of brown wood, mementos on the walls and several televisions playing sports. Paper napkins and mats set up the tables. Service was friendly but with limited English. The menu is large and most seemed to be eating rather than just there to drink. There is a different price for things served on the terrace (higher) than inside and several items come in half and whole size. Continue reading
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
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 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
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
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
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 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
Our lunch at Alabaster was not as planned so here’s an important word of warning. When you make your reservation and confirm it, have someone who is fluent in Spanish make sure they have you in the main dining room. We thought we were but they showed us reserving a seat in the bar where they assured us the same menu was served. It is not! The menu is not the same nor is the service but you get to share a bathroom if that’s any consolation. There is a menu for the bar, as shown, as well as some chalkboard items, but there was very little explanation or help from the waiter. Most items seemed to be available in half-portions that are suitable for 2 people to share. We ordered small portions when possible. Continue reading
This small family run place was one of our favorites on our last visit so even though it’s not conveniently located we re-visited. A couple started it in 1972 and named it for their son, Sacha, who took it over after culinary school It has a feel of elegance from the appointments and the clientele and appears to have a host of regulars that make it a hard reservation to get. One word of caution also is that most of the staff does not (or maybe chooses not) to speak English.
Another repeat from last trip with less successful results. Last time was lunch with a vibrant dining room and the chef coming by the table. This time for dinner and we were one of 2 tables in the dining room but waiter said upstairs was full and the chef didn’t choose to come by our table, but our waiter was super friendly even with the slow service. The meal started with the same amuse bouche as before but this time the cheese biscuits were cold and dry and the soup seemed pasty and the fish overly strong.
Talk about a “hole in the wall” – this is it! There were 4 tables in the front room and a some bar seats. I later found they had another room down the hall that squeezed in another 8 tables and all were full. Not on the tourist path but you couldn’t have found a friendlier and helpful staff. Dona Julia started the place with her husband in the mid-sixties. Her sons run the wine and service part and she still cooks the food in a kitchen the size of a closet.
Another repeat place for us with good results. There are a couple seats out from but the main dining room is in the back and holds about 10 tables. They have tasting menus but seemed that you could also order by the dish. We talked with the waiter about what we had last time and then turned the chef loose to surprise us. While you’re making your selections they bring out a bowl of blood sausage with pumpkin to munch on with olive oil bread. The bread was excellent and the topping tasty. Continue reading
A very fun meal here! It’s like a tapas place as everything is offered in full or half portions but everything is prepared to order and very creative. It was hard to decide which of the wonderful sounding plates NOT to order, we wanted them all and by just getting half orders we were able to try a lot of them without getting overly done in. The two fried options we started with normally come 6 to a small order but the waitress (who turned out to be the chef’s wife) was concerned we’d never eat all the stuff we ordered so she offered to just bring 2 of each.