You are spoilt for choice with the best of both worlds in Madrid, with choices to be made between the traditional style of restaurant or the more modern take on Spanish cuisine. Both are generously covered, and the good ones do require reservations. Natural charcoal grilled meats were done extremely well at La Mi Venta where we had the entrecôte of beef, perfectly cooked and full of flavour, along with well-flavored chipirones (small squid) and a good tomato salad. The tomato season occupies an important space nation-wide in Spanish cuisine. Like our own Curious Croppers but amplified.

Two wines we import, the Orben Rioja and the Pruno Ribera del Duero featured on La Mi Venta’s wine list. Their Bellota was also up to scratch, carved by hand at a station near the passe. Coincidentally, as we sat there, we received a text from an old friend who had seen we were in Madrid emphatically advising us we had to dine at La Mi Venta. Serendipity!

Delighting in the fabulous fresh shellfish and other seafood offered in Madrid we went to Restaurante Rafa, a marisqueria specializing in a daily selection of the same. We started with an excellent plate of Bellota, the sweet fatty richness of which complemented the following langostino de Isla Cristina, gamba roja (red prawns) de Garrucha and Merluza de Burela (monkfish). All the dishes were exquisite and presented by experienced, helpful, waitstaff who clearly loved their vocation. We were disappointed to be advised that the odd, black, hoof shaped Percebes shellfish had all gone during the lunch service.

Having really enjoyed Diego Guerrero’s DSTAgE previously, we headed to his more casual DSPEAK while enjoying an excellent choice of cocktails and service downstairs at DPICKLE in advance. Great name.

Our photos of lobster-stuffed rolls, white puffballs of melt-in-your mouth squid with a dip of mayo and glistening mole-covered oxtail, do not do justice to the flavours on this menu. There were many more dishes we would loved to have tried so we will have to go back!

We have a short list of a few other restaurants the staff recommended that we can share should you be heading to Madrid.


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