Ethnic in Madrid
Will be in Madrid next week for two nights at the start of a two month stay upcountry. We will have plenty of Spanish food so figure this is a good place to possibly find something unusual. Is anyone aware of good ethnic food like Afghan, Persan or Andian? Not Chinese, those are everywhere in Spain.
We ended up following the advise on another board and had lunch at Cucina del Dieserto, a Morrocan place. Very authenic decor, in fact, so authentic that if we had't had a board recommendation, we might hot have gone it. But it was wonderful and very cheaply priced. I believe it was the best couscous I have ever eaten.
The second night we were going to try the Senagalese place but ran out of time to go looking and had a menu of the day in a small place off of the Plaza Mayor. OK but nothing to recommend.
Thanks for this thread as we were also hankering for something different in Madrid. We went to two places listed in the thread and both were very good.
Tulipan is the name on the outside of the building, but I think it actually refers to the bar you first enter before you go into the restaurant. They call the restaurant a Korean name, Gayagum. The restaurant is surprisingly upscale with white tablecloths and a relatively refined atmosphere for its location in a nondescript residential area. At lunch they serve a set menu at 20 euros per person, which comes with a bunch of very good panchan (great kimchi), kalbi ssam, and a korean stew (choice of a few - we had tofu stew and beef stew). Everything was good and authentic to Korean flavors - I couldn't identify any Spanish influence or ingredients if there were any. It was pretty busy with most tables reserved. Everyone in the dining room was Korean, including my girlfriend, except me. If you are really craving Korean food while in Madrid, this is a great choice.
We also went to Cucina del Dieserto and had a delicious, cheap meal. I actually liked the tajine more than the couscous, but both were great and well flavored. Definitely ask for some harissa to go with your couscous, bold and spicy! We sat on the floor (one dining room has floor seating, the other with tables), which I'm not the most proficient at, but it was a very enjoyable meal. I would definitely return here as it's difficult to get this kind of meal back home in California.
A few suggestions:
Baobab for Senegalese (Lavapiés), La Polonesa for Polish (Meléndez Pelayo), Buenaventura for northern Chinese (Callao), Don Lay for Cantonese (Puerta del Ángel), Puy Thai (Embajadores)... The first three are really low-key spots, the last two a bit more upscale. You can also find every regional cuisine in Spain represented in Madrid--a lot more diversity that you will find in any other Spanish city--if there's something in particular you are interested in (freidurías, Basque asadores, pinchos spots, Castillian asadores, Asturiano sidrerías, Gallego marisquerías, Extremeño spots, Canarian food, Madrid specialties, etc.).