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A good meal in Madrid

  • c
  • CW Mar 7, 1999 09:04 PM

I am looking for a restaurant in Madrid (preferably
patronized by the local gentry) where I can find a
reasonably priced meal. Nothing fancy--just a good
honest meal. I hope that I am not asking for too much.
I live in Soho and would be hard pressed to come up
with a similar place in my neck of the woods. I would
appreciate any suggestions.

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  1. 1)asador fronton @ plaza tirso de molina? 2nd flr.
    This is a basque grill. Amazing simple food. If you go
    before 10:00 you can get in otherwise make a
    reservation, it's no big deal. They also have another
    branch w/ a bigger menu though I didn't eat there.
    There is a Gallego restaurant O'something off off
    Plaza Santa Ana that has great Pulpo a ferreria. Hell
    I still dream of that dish,washed down w/a nice light
    white wine from Galicia (the nw of Spain-nickname for
    these guys is gallegos.) Madrid is quite possible the
    best + most resonable city to eat in in Europe There
    is no spanish restaurant in NYC like it. And I think
    you can ditch all of the "spanish"restaurants in NYC

    13 Replies
    1. re: ivanstoler

      Excellent find with that Basque place...I don't know it at all!

      "There is a Gallego restaurant O'something off off Plaza Santa Ana"

      I know the place, can't think of the name, either. But while you can't go wrong with Gallego restaurants anywhere in Spain, there are a lot more exciting choices near and south of there (on the way to the Prado); that nabe is sort of the Tapas Tenderloin of Madrid. Walk around the twisty streets at 6 or 7 and go in wherever there's a crowd (an EATING crowd, that is). Ask around about the best stuff to eat. Madrilenos are cool; they'll adopt you and maybe even take you around to the best places

      "Madrid is quite possible the best + most resonable city to eat in in Europe"

      You're raving about the Gallego food...go to Galicia and you'll eat a zillion times better (and more affordably, too). Actually, Madrid's one of my least favorite eating towns in Spain, though the tapas are real good (not as good as in the south, however)

      1. re: ivanstoler

        Hi!

        I live two blocks from Asador Frontón in Tirso de
        Molina square. It's good but expensive if you compare
        with other asadores (asador = steakhouse or
        rotisserie). Last time I was there, I asked for some
        fried potatoes and they looked at me like thinking
        "Sacrilegious!". The menu is too short, I think. Next
        time you come to Madrid, drop a line and you will
        discover even better food than that.

        The octopus dish you quoted in your message is "Pulpo
        á feira" which means "Octopus Fair Style" because it's
        typical in the Galician festivals, open-air dances and
        cattle fairs (you wrote ferreira :-), which means
        'blacksmith' in Galician and Portuguese).

        Gallego means Galician in English, it's the NW region
        of Spain and we talk Galician (same root that
        Portuguese) and, of course, Spanish. You have nice
        "Pulpo á feira" in Manhattan 14th Street (not sure),
        in a Galician bar called Galicia-3. I was there and
        they are real gallegos.

        Mr. Chowhound's got the recipe for the best "Pulpo á
        feira". You can ask him. :-)

        If any of you are coming to Spain, just ask!

        Xosé.

        1. re: Xosé Castro

          Xose, what do you think about Posada de la Villa, and Botin?? thx

          1. re: stephen kaye
            x
            Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid, Spain, EU)

            "La posada de la villa" and "Botín" are touristic but
            GOOD restaurantes. This last one was opened in 1725
            (as you can see inside). Both are specialized in
            Castillian food (not Mediterranean): beans, chicken,
            suckling pig, roasted lamb, vegetables sauteé, etc.

            It's a good choice for newcomers. In fact, I usually
            take US friends there.

            But if you want a different flavour: try restaurant
            "Extremadura" (Calle de la Libertad, 13 in the Gay
            Quarter). Extremadura is the name of a region by the
            border of Portugal. It's worth the visit just to try
            the free entreés they give you before ordering. My
            advice: follow the maître's advice (avg. price: $25).
            Some specialties: migas del pastor (bread crumbles
            with sausage and grapes), revueltos (crumbled
            vegetables of your choice), game (veal, dear...) They
            even have grilled lizards (yes). Ask for the
            'aguardientes' (home made eau-de-vie) when you order
            dessert. You better be hungry before going there.
            Spanish country & subtle cuisine. Definitely something
            new.

            Cheers,

            Xosé (Madrid)

            Link: http://www.softdoc.es/

            1. re: Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid, Spain, EU)

              I hope you're all writing this down...Xose's advice is
              pretty trustworthy!

              1. re: Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid, Spain, EU)

                I tried to eat at Extramadura. However it was closed.
                We ate elsewhere. I guess I'll have to wait until the
                next time I vist Madrid (if that ever happens). So
                many places to visit and so little money and time.

                1. re: Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid, Spain, EU)

                  I know the good meals in Madrid.They come from the hands of my mother-in-law who is spanish but there are somethings she just cant give me.And that is english speaking company or anyone who enjoys doing sports,siting in cafes or parks,listening to music and just takes it easy.If you are interesting and interested,call me on 655 214 051 or e mail me,
                  I m staying in town for long.Hasta luego,Nina.
                  p.s.hablo espanol tambien

              2. re: Xosé Castro

                Thanks for stopping by, Xose!

                Xose, being Gallego himself, is my #1 source for info
                on pulpo in Madrid and elsewhere...

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Jim: How about sharing your pulpo recipe when you have
                  a moment? pat

                  1. re: pat hammond
                    x
                    Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid)

                    Golden Rule: Olive Oil.

                    That's something I didn't like in 'Xunta', that place
                    in East Side Manhattan. Even if looked like a Galician
                    bar. The owner MUST be Galician since just a gallego
                    (and Jim, of course) knows that Galician wines should
                    be drunk from a 'taza'. In fact, in Galicia we 'go for
                    tazas' before having lunch or dinner, that is, we go
                    to one, two or three bars drinking fresh white wine
                    and some tapas.

                    Chao,

                    Xosé.

                    1. re: Xosé Castro Roig (Madrid)

                      Xose, yes, Xunta has been known on occasion to commit
                      the unpardonable sin of putting non-olive oil on their
                      pulpo. On the other hand, I've also had PERFECT pulpo
                      there, the likes of which I haven't found anywhere
                      outside of Lugo. And I've even had good tortilla
                      espanola there.

                      I think it's just an inconsistency thing. But I'm going
                      to take a long, hard look at them before putting them
                      in my book again for the second edition.

                      !Viva Galicia!

                      Jim (who has Galician blood--of a slightly different
                      sort--himself!)

                    2. re: pat hammond

                      Ok, my translation first, followed by the original
                      Spanish:

                      POLBO A FEIRA (Galician octopus, in the style made at
                      fairs)
                      by Xose Castro's Grandmother, Obdulia Roig Vazquez

                      Ingredients
                      ''''''''''''''''''
                      1 or 2 octopuses (two kilos each)
                      1 little onion
                      1 or 2 bay leaves
                      1 glass (perhaps 200 centiliters) of olive oil
                      1 spoonful sweet paprika
                      1 spoonful hot paprika
                      kosher--or other course--salt

                      Wash the octopus to remove the dirty stuff inside and
                      hit it against a hard surface until you note that the
                      mussels have loosened (three or four times should do
                      it). Frozen octopus won't need pounding [even fresh in
                      this country may have been pre-beaten; ask your seller]

                      Put water to boil in a copper pan, and throw in bay
                      leaves and an onion

                      When it comes to a boil, add the octopus to the water,
                      first dunking it two or three times (ideally using a
                      hook).

                      Let it cook for 45 minutes and poke with a toothpick to
                      see if it's soft [it should have SOME firmness, and
                      definitely catch it before little pieces start breaking
                      off and floating], then remove from the heat.

                      Let it rest fifteen minutes before serving. Cut in
                      slices (not too thick) with a kitchen scissors and
                      sprinkle olive oil, salt and paprika (adjusting the
                      spiciness to taste), prettying it up with a salad.

                      Lo ideal es, por supuesto, servirlo en platos de
                      madera.

                      Serve on wooden plates if possible


                      Dada la insistencia y la desazon que causa un pulpo mal
                      cocido entre los
                      presentes, ahi va le receta de mi madre, que es la
                      persona que mejor hace
                      el "pulpo a la gallega" en el mundo y parte del
                      extranjero (seguida de
                      mi):

                      -----------------------------------------------
                      POLBO A FEIRA
                      -----------------------------------------------

                      Ingredientes
                      ''''''''''''''''''
                      1 o 2 pulpos (dos kilitos)
                      1 cebolla pequena
                      1 vaso de aceite de oliva
                      1 cucharada de pimenton dulce
                      1 cucharada de pimenton picante
                      Sal gruesa

                      Preparacion
                      ''''''''''''''''''
                      Lava el pulpo para quitarle las cochinadas que traiga
                      encima (date cuenta
                      que es un animal que viene de nadar desnudo en sabe
                      Dios que mares) y
                      mazalo para que ablande (o sea, lo atizas contra un
                      superficie dura hasta
                      que notes que se destense la rigidez del musculo, 3 o 4
                      'viajes' a una
                      mesa le vendran bien). Si estaba congelado, no lo
                      maces.

                      Pon agua a hervir en un cacerola de cobre. Si no tienes
                      cacerola de
                      cobre, tendras que echarle una cebollita en el agua.
                      Ah, truquillooo.

                      Cuando rompa a hervir, introduces el pulpo en el agua y
                      lo sacas dos o
                      tres veces seguidas (en un movimiento tipo "quetecuezo-
                      quenotecuezo"). Mi
                      madre y las senoras de las ferias hacen esto agarrando
                      al bicho con un
                      gancho modelo Freddy Kruger.

                      Lo dejas cociendo 45 minutos y 'en rondando' ese
                      intervalo de tiempo lo
                      pinchas para ver si esta blando y lo retiras del fuego.

                      Lo dejas reposar un cuarto de hora antes de servirlo.
                      Lo cortas en trozos
                      no muy gruesos con una tijera y le echas aceite, sal y
                      pimenton
                      (graduando el picante al gusto) como si alinaras una
                      ensalada, es decir,
                      que acabado el pulpo, quede aceite para hacer barquitos
                      con el 'pan' en
                      la salsorra.

                      Lo ideal es, por supuesto, servirlo en platos de
                      madera.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Oh my goodness! Thanks. I've requested the animal
                        from my fish monger. Every once in a while they get a
                        monster one and I buy just a piece. My friends call me
                        the Squid Queen because I love to prepare squid. My
                        octopus repertoire has been lacking though. pat