Madrid – Chueca – modern Spanish restaurants
cociAs you’d expect in trendy Chueca, there are plenty of modern Spanish restaurants.
Olé Lola (Intermediate A), 28 Calle San Mateo, www.olelola.com
This is the kind of place I’d open myself if I had the money.
The décor is best described as modern baroque. The vibe is classy meets casual. I love the dark reds used for the lightbox and the comfy velvet sofas. I have another existence as a party promoter and I use the same colours for my décor.
The soundtrack was pretty cool too; from Young Disciples to Purple Rain.
The service I received was friendly and efficient and the food was modern and tasty ‘cocina creativa’.
Their ‘Huerto Brasa’ grilled veg was very good (B+).
And I enjoyed their sliders, especially the Chicken and Foie in a black bun (A) but also the Wagyu beef burger in the white bun (B+), both of which tasted great when dipped in the German mustard dotted on the slate.
They even had one of my favourite Spanish reds; Habla del Silencio (A). It was as it they’d seen me coming.
A bit expensive (€3.50 for the glass of wine) but definitely a place I’d love to return to.
Gastromaquia (Intermediate A), 8 Calle Pelayo, Tel.91 522 64 13, www.facebook.com/Gastromaquia
This is a great little place with bright modern decor and efficient service. The food is especially good value at lunch times.
For the €13.90 Menu del Dia I had the wonderful Sopa Fria de Remalacha (chilled beetroot soup) (A+)…
…followed by Tigres (mussel shells stuffed with breadcrumbs and fried) (A).
The final dessert option, Crema de Curry con Espuma de Chocolate y Helado de Vanilla, was vanilla ice cream with a swirl of chocolate mousse and a sauce of egg yolk and curry spices; inspiring and delicious (A+).
To drink I had two glasses of lovely Verdejo and a Patxaran with lots of ice with the dessert. Bliss.
On another occasion in the evening I had Papas (baby potatoes on skewers with a chilli dipping sauce), Ensalada di Entresca (belly tuna on a bed of radicchio and other salad dressed with a balsamic reduction) (A+) and Pincho de Secreto (a spit of small chunks of marinated pork) (B), three glasses wine and a dessert (forgotten!) for €33.35.
This is slightly pricey for tapas but their ideas are innovative and interesting and have very tasty results. Definitely somewhere to check out on a regular basis.
Celso y Manolo (Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Libertad, www.celsoymanolo.es
A new place (in 2016) that gets lots of rave reviews. Ethel and I enjoyed it but felt it didn’t quite live up to the hype.
The table we we had reserved was quite small and generally the place felt a bit cramped when it was busy. Our service was a bit dim and not particularly friendly. Refreshingly though they open at 19.30 every evening. Video here.
If I remember correctly the standout was the Arroz Campero (A).
A dish they are very proud of is the Chuleton de Tomate de Huesca con 6 Cosas Ricas, or beefsteak tomatoes from Huesca with with six nice things (avocado, mango, papaya, cucumber, red onion, coriander) and olive oil (B+).
The Croquetas de Bacalao, cod croquettes with pine nuts and raisins are fine (B).
Another star dish is their Taquitos de Venado con Salsa de Frambuesas y Arándanos; discs of venison loin served with a raspberry and cranberry sauce and a potato puree which made a nice change (B+). The recipe is at 6.59 in this video.
To drink; the Ribera del Duero from Hacienda Solano was okay (B).
€60 for two was fair enough. Modern, bright, innovative. I’d go again.
La Cocina de San Antón (Intermediate B), 24 Calle Augusto Figeroa, www.lacocinadesananton.com
This is a restaurant on the top floor of Mercado de San Antón, the refurbished market in Chueca. It’s a good location with lots of seating inside and a coveted terrace overlooking the street.
I had the Menu del Dia for €14 which involved a spinach, orange and pork salad starter (B)…
… followed by some more pork steaks with potatoes (B).
I had glasses of the Señorío del Cid Roble for €3 and the Viña Monty Crianza €3.20 both of which were fine (B).
The bar manager and bartender outside find it hard to crack a smile but the rest of the staff were nice enough. Notwithstanding the average food and mediocre service, the terrace is a good spot to come on a sunny day or a warm evening.
Mercado San Ildefonso (Elementary B), 57 Calle Fuencarral, www.mercadodesanildefonso.com
This ‘street market’ is actually a trendy food court which is currently becoming the fashion in the UK as well. Basically there are about a dozen vendors in small stalls around a central area with tables and a bar at one end. The bar charges €3 for a doble of Mahou which is about average.
At La Croquetterie I tried the Langostino, Queso, Jamon and Pollo croquettes which were all fine if unexciting (B). However the Boletus was excellent (A) and this is now my favourite filling. Really need to learn how to make these. I paid €8 for six croquettes.
At Bovinus I had an excellent steak (B+) which was sliced up tagliata style. The vendor told me the meat was from the north of Italy rather than Spain, which is interesting because at the time of writing the UK is going mad for aged beef from Galicia. The grass is always greener…
And a place to avoid:
Bazaar (Intermediate C), 21 Calle Libertad, Tel. 91 523 1505, www.grupandilana.com/es/restaurantes/bazaar
A nice looking place that’s amazingly cheap but best avoided if you like good grub. I have eaten here and was impressed by how low the bill was but not the food. I still remember finding an alien item in one mouthful, which impresssed me in the wrong way. The same applies here as in my review for La Finca de Susana, another member of the same chain, in my Plaza de Canalejas post.
More Chueca restaurants:
Traditional Madrileño restaurants here.
Traditional Spanish regional restaurants here.
International restaurants here.
Tapas bars and cervecerias here.
Food shops here.
Google map with everything on here.
Photos from April 2011 and February 2016.