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Feb 22, 2006 06:09 PM

How's Ole Madrid in San Diego?

  • a

I got a rec to try Ole Madrid in the Gaslamp quarter. There wasn't a lot mentioned about the food, how is it?

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  1. Just OK. San Diego doesn't have much in the way of quality Spanish dining.

    13 Replies
    1. re: JS

      I heard Costa Brava is pretty good, but haven't tried it yet

      1. re: honkman

        I heard that, too - but from a white American guy. The one Spaniard I've known basically told me that Spanish food in San Diego doesn't really exist.

        1. re: JS

          Yep, those white American guys have no taste! Give me a break!!!

          1. re: SDEater

            Have you tried Tapas Picasso in Hillcrest? I LOVE the garlic lamb and the salad with cilantro dressing. You can get the salad with fried calamari. If you are a garlic lover, you will like those dishes, I think.

            1. re: SDEater

              Don't be daft. If I'm trying to find out how good a Spanish restaurant is I'm going to lean more on the impression of an actual Spaniard who knows what the food is supposed to taste like than someone native to California.

              If you're going out to Chinese food, which would you consider more likely to be serving authentic fare: a restaurant packed with white folks? Or one with a Chinese clientele?

              That's not to say that white people are incapable of recognizing good food - but unless you've had long exposure to a particular cuisine it's hard to judge it against the real deal. We all know that the commercials on TV for Olive Garden are total bullshit.

              1. re: JS

                It all comes down to the question if you are looking for good food or authentic food. If you are looking for authentic food you obviously would ask somebody who comes from that particular country. If you are looking for good food, which doesn't have to be authentic but should be relative close to a country's typical food than it might be better to ask somebody who doesn't come from this country and might have a more openminded (less biased) opinion about the quality of the food without always comparing it with its authenticity, IMO.

                1. re: honkman

                  Good point, honkman. I should have been more specific.

                  My experience at Ole Madrid was underwhelming. I used to prefer La Gran Tapa, but the last time I went there it kind of sucked. My folks used to live in Seattle, where there's an amazing shop called the Spanish Table. I used to go there for tapas, and the difference between what they served and what I've had down here was night and day.

                  1. re: JS

                    Spanish Table opened a branch operation in Oakland about 5 years ago. Closer than Seattle.

                2. re: JS

                  If you assume that only people from China know where the good Chinese restaurants are in San Diego, then you are misguided. Having spent months in China, I know there are different economic and social levels, just like there is here in the US. Many are content with rice and soup. Just like many in the US are content with Mac Donald’s. Thus, that would be like asking a person whose favorite restaurant is Denny’s…where to go for good American food.

                  My brother’s wife (from China) favorite restaurant is Jack-in-the-Box…go figure. One can never assume someone’s place of origin has anything to do with what might be offered in the US. If it helps, Costa Brava is owned and operated by Spaniards.

                  1. re: SDEater

                    "If you assume that only people from China know where the good Chinese restaurants are in San Diego, then you are misguided."

                    That's not what I wrote. Maybe you should work on your reading comprehension.

                    "If it helps, Costa Brava is owned and operated by Spaniards."

                    It does help, thanks.

                    1. re: JS

                      Costa Brava has a really spanish feel as well as a spanish owner. It's as close as SD gets right now. As for Ole Madrid, it's owned by people connected with The Boathouse, home of the el cheapo "prime" rib roast and the el cheapo lobster that they run out of by 7 pm. Never ate there, just knowing who owns it, but I eat at Costa Brava and it's cool. Good scene & still serving food pretty late at night -- they're still on Spanish time -- and good paella brunch on weekends.

                      1. re: elmira

                        I like Costa Brava a lot, but after spending nearly two months in Spain, my opinion of its authenticity has changed greatly.

                        It's still the best Spanish/Tapas bar in San Diego, hands down. There are several Spanish employees, and maybe also the cooks/chef. Also, lots of the food is authentic. But the prices and some of the food are not really authentic.

                        Case in point, I love patxaran, but when I first tried it at Costa Brava, it was $7.50 a glass (small glass). I bought an entire bottle of patxaran in Spain (the same brand Costa Brava serves) and it was 8 euro ($11). That's one hell of a markup, even with importing costs.

                        I'm tempted to open my own tapas bar with reasonable prices, and real morcilla (although technically Costa Brava's morcilla is 'real' since it is probably made in Spain).

                        1. re: ekomega

                          I was unfamiliar with patxaran, so I did a little reading. I had to plow through several Google pages before I found an on-line source of the stuff. The bottle they offered cost 23.95 Euros. Makes that $7.50 glass seem a lot more reasonable, and I think it gives major props to Costa Brava that they even *had* the stuff. In any case, this has been an interesting thread.
                          . . . jim strain in san diego.

        2. Personally, I liked the food at Ole Madrid. My wife and I shared the Arroz Marinera Paella. In my opinion, it was quite good!

          1. My girlfriend and I split the seafood paella on a Friday evening. It's a nice environment, but the food was awful. Nothing was made fresh, it all seemed from a can or freezer, especially the seafood. It is definitely NOT authentic, just a cheap tourist spot. I can't imagine anyone going there twice, although they did have good sangria ; )

            1 Reply
            1. re: p1rainmaker

              Well, the Gaslamp pretty much *is* a tourist spot and quite a bit of what you find there is geared for that crowd, unfortunately, and with ComicCon in full swing it doesn't make matters any better.