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May 13, 2008 06:52 AM

Viridiana, Arce, Fronton ?

I will be in Madrid for 4 nights next week. I am looking to have some good modern Spanish cooking, but I am not really looking for super expensive or overly formal fine dining. After researching this board, I am thinking about Arce, Viridiana, Asador Fronton, and perhaps one night of sampling all the tapas I can eat.

Any thoughts or other suggestions ?

Is Fronton open on Sunday night ? I believe Arce and Viridiana are closed.

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  1. I believe Fronton is open, but it´s not modern at all, just a steak house. I like Viridiana, but it´s really expensive. As far as suggestions I have none, but I just wanted to clarify on those two places since I have been to both.

    1. Arce is one of my favorite restaurant in Madrid. The cooking has many modern touches but not ultra modern (no foams, gels, etc). It is very reasonably priced, about 60E for the tasting menu. Viridiana is also very good but more eclectic with some Asian touches. It is more expensive than Arce but not very expensive. Madrid is not particularly known for modern Spanish cooking (more of a Barcelona thing). I had a very good meal (my only) at Dassa Bassa last October but it is more expensive than either of the above and more "modern" than the other two. I can also recommend Sacha, not really modern but innovative and moderately priced. I've had couple of pre-ordered group meals at La Terraza del Casino (Ferran Adria Madrid outpost), but have not been impressed either time.
      As mentioned on the previous post, Asador Fronton specializes in steaks and is a good example of a type restaurant that is popular in Madrid. If you like seafood, Madrid has some of the best fish restaurants anywhere but it can be expensive depending on what one orders. The best is to order simply, therefore, may not fit your 'modern' criteria. Combarro and La Trainera are two of the best.
      None of the above restaurants are opened Sunday evenings, a difficult night. One will more luck at lunch. Might consider making that the main meal and the evening for light tapas. Though many are also closed that night, one an always find a few opened around Huertas, Plaza Santa Ana, Cheuca and a couple on Cava Baja.

      1. Don't overlook Principe de Viana. One of my favorite Basque places. It is run by the Oyarbide family who opened Zalacain years ago. But also closed on Sunday. That's a bad day for dining in Madrid. Your best bet on a Sunday would be to head for a hotel restaurant. There are some good ones around, believe it or not.

        1. Arce is a good choice. Iñaki, the chef only works with seasonal produce and usually has a couple of different tasting menus to chose from (Mushroom menu in season, 'Market' menu depending on what's available on the day, Winter menu etc.) If you're feeling more adventurous, simply ask him to put something special together for you and enjoy the ride.

          For tapas you should hit La Latina neighbourhood and/or calle Ponzano in Chamberi and just bar hop. Avoid Plaza Santa Ana at all costs as pretty much all the food available there is crap and it's full of tourists (2+2 as ever).

          I ate at Sacha last Saturday and while the place itself is charming, was largely unimpressed with the food and the fact that there's no non-smoking area.

          There's a lovely little restaurant called Gala (Espronceda 14) which is worth checking out. Their current tasting menu with (perfectly) matched wines is well worth the 65€ price tag. Here's their Web site: so you can have a look.

          You should definitely give time to La Manduca de Azagra (Zagasta 14 - between Alonso Martinez and Bilbao metros). They bring all of their vegetables from their own vegetable plot (manduca) in Azagra, Navarra daily. The result is quite simply the best vegetables in Madrid - though the meat and fish are great too. Make sure you try their anchoas de Santoña and fried artichoke starters. They have a small but perfectly chosen wine list with a mark up so small that I've frequently found bottles of stuff they have more expensive in shops.

          As far as Sunday goes, if you're willing to go a little less modern - okay, totally traditional - you should check out an Asturian place called, Asturianos (Vallehermoso 94). It looks like a total dive, but the food is really really good and it's technically an 'enoteca' so you'll have loads of wines to choose from. Try their rice black pudding - less intense than the pure blood one - and one of their fabadas.

          7 Replies
          1. re: cmoniker

            I agree with you on la latina and you seem to know your madrid. Have you tried the food at Cerveceria Cruz (corner of Cascorro and.... the name escapes)? Some of the best navajas and berberechos in town.

            1. re: cleveland park

              Thanks very much for all the great suggestions. Asturianos sounds fun - traditional is great, too - didn't mean to over-emphasize the "modern" comment. We're leaving tonight and are very excited.

              1. re: cleveland park

                and... Embajadores?

                I don't think I have actually (unless it was in those hazy days of learning my way around Madrid without registering a thing). I love navajas and berberechos, however, so most certainly will pop in one of these days. Thanks for the tip.

                1. re: cmoniker

                  Bar Cruz is at the corner of Maldonadas and Plaza de Cascorro. It's just a little cervecería... It happens to be really close to where I live, so I go there all the time. I don't think I would go out of my way for it since there are tons of other places like it all over Madrid, but it's a good, really cheap option in you are in the neighborhood. Though I would take it over the tourist-mill places near Plaza Santa Ana. The nice thing about it is that it has a terraza in the Plaza when the weather's nice.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    Que paso Mariposita! I will be in Madrid again june 21st, do you have any new spots?

                    1. re: cleveland park

                      More recent meals at Fronton have been less successful

                      Last time out, we headed up to Asador Asorena in Plaza De Castilla. It is run, I think, by one of the family from Fronton, and is one of only three in the country that specialises in Carne Roja from Galicia


                      Well worth a try


                      1. re: Simon Majumdar

                        I believe the people who started Fronton left and one of the places they opened was Ansorena as mi Hermano states above. The other was Asador Imanol in Barrio Salamanca which is also excellent.


            2. This is way too late for bulldog's visit, but Lágrimas Negras at the Hotel de Américas (Avenida América 41, Tel: 91- 74 45 400) is worth checking out too. Their degustation menu is 85€ and they have a varied wine list with bottles to suit every budget. They also have a small informal dining area which serves wines by the glass and a nice assortment of tapas next to the bar. My food experience of May was their totally clear gazpacho, without a doubt.