By Margaux Cintrano
Spain´s passionate love affair with the exotic, the out of the ordinary, recent gastronomic discoveries, fusions, foreign epicurism and regional Iberian is nothing new. Since the 1400s and 1500s, the Spaniards have been known to be adventurous and eager to taste food for the Gods. The venues in this edition of Gourmet’s Choice all share a common philosophy and are as diverse as their regional/national origins and from across the Seven Seas. The common denominator is that the Chefs are all tops in their specialties and these restaurants keep us returning to them, time after time.
The Greeks’ 4,000 Year Old Culinary Tradition
Restaurant Delfos Griego
Cuesta de Santo Domingo 14
Metro : Santo Domingo Line 2 or Callao Line 3 or 5
Reservations highly suggested : 91.548. 3764
DELFOS is the delicious gateway to the gastronomic glories of Greece in the center of bustling Madrid. If I had to use only one word to describe Delfos, it would have to be spectacular. Uncountable memories had once again flooded into my mind as I have recalled my wonderful dinners on the edge of the Santorini Volcano, which had last erupted in 1,500 B.C. with the Stamoses, who had spent over 40 years on the island. This is how I had felt feasting on Delfos´ 4,000 year old culinary traditions. Delfos is decorated like a venue in a quintessential Greek village, with Hellenic collectibles, artistically tucked into a quaint intimate stucco walled cottage, right here in the heart of Madrid.
Small bits, big flavors
For starters, the Greeks have been wrapping food since antiquity, most typically using grape leaves called Dolmades which are also a standard, Mezze or Appetizer. The starters brought to our lovely table included Greek Yogurt scented with lemon; fresh dill and parsley called Tzaziki; Kedtedes, which are Greek meatballs; skewers of freshly grilled prawns; Taramosalata, a grey mullet mousse; Classic Fave yellow split pea spread; Hummus, a Mediterranean staple of sesame Tahini and chick peas; Classic Tyrosalata, a Greek Feta cheese mousse; Dolmades; Classic Melitzanosalata, a smoked aubergine or eggplant mousse; and Classic Skordalia, a green fava bean mousse.
The highly recommended Moussaka and/or the Degustations for 2 people, at the fair cost of 25 – 32 Euros, is simply sensational. Furthermore, the lovely chilled Cretian rosé pairs simply perfectly with the Mezze. The menu of the day is 10.95 Euros, and offers a lovely array of seasonal Mediterranean and Greek specialties: a starter, a main course, a beverage or glass of wine, a café or a dessert.
Haute Regional Chinese
Calle Infanta de Mercedes 62 – 64
Metro Line 1: Tetúan
Reservations are highly suggested : 91. 572. 1464
The haute Chinese cuisine served here is extraordinary and transports one from their daily routine into another mindset.
This serene contemporary spot fires up the Shanghai fantasy and melds the numerous Chinese regional cuisines with a sure and knowing hand. Owner Maria Hai Feng Xu and her husband, the Chef, first opened China Crown in 1991. Recommendations include the dim sum, the sautéed noodles with prawns and vegetables served on sizzling cast ironware, and the steamed sea bass with ginger. There are also 5 Peking Duck selections and 14 seasonal specialties. The menu of the day, offered Monday through Friday is an excellent deal. Menus range from 10 Euros – 23 Euros.
Chef Ricardo Sanz´s Japanese Jewels
Metro Line 2 : Retiro
Reservations are highly suggested: 91-577.7877
The name Sashimi denotes pierced body. It hails from a former practice of placing the tail of the selected fish on the slices, to serve as an adviser which fish one is eating. Spanish Chef Ricardo Sanz, is the master culinary artist at Kabuki which is located in the Hotel Wellington. His impressive technical ability and his knowledge of the Japanese aesthetics make him stand out in this city of Japanese restaurants.
Recommendations : Red Crevette Sashimi, a jumbo sized red prawn called Carabineros in Spanish; the Sea bream Sashimi; Sardine Sashimi; the Alaskan Red Salmon and the Kobe. This Japanese mix merits the excellence and runs approximately 40 to 70 Euros including wine.
Live Music & Tapas Only
Calle Hileras 14
Metro Line 5 : Ópera
This tiny good vibe venue is renowned for great live blues music. The entrance is totally unassuming and the crowd ranges from ages 20´s – 60´s.
Upon entering is a small bar where one can order wines by the glass, cocktails, or national and international beers. The tapas are simple but wonderfully tasty. The tables inside fill to the ultimate and the establishment is almost impenetrable. The ambiance is a typical blues bar in downtown Greenwich Village or Chicago.
Vietnamese in Chueca
Calle San Marino 24
Metro Line 5 : Chueca
Reservations highly suggested : 91. 219. 0513
Recently receiving a write up in one of the Spanish dailies, El Mundo, Vietnam 24 was rewarded with a notable and outstanding rating.
Some of the remarkable and memorable dishes recommended are the wraps and the spring rolls, Chien hai san which is an amazing rice dish with shellfish and the extra large prawns, and shellfish assortment. The wine list is superbly splendid and the sinfully sensational cheese cake made of Passion Fruit is a definitely must share. The taster´s carte runs from 25 – 40 Euros including wine.
Sumptuous selection at Vietnam 24
Cheese-a – holics & Wine Buffery
Cava Alta 17
Metro Line 5 : La Latina
Reservations highly suggested : 91. 365. 8237
Baked brie to die for ! Matrium has 2 rustic and enchanting options: oak barrel tables with bar stools close to the entrance and a sit down table in the wine cellar for you to linger. Renowned for their international cheese varieties and wines by the glass, the cheese platter is a generous feast of 5 or 6 different varieties and can easily be shared. This is a place for cheese-a-holics. The marinated herbed goat cheese pairs absolutely amazingly with Chardonnay. The selections are seasonal and top of the line. The cost is approximately 10 Euros – 30 Euros depending on what you order.
Note: all images were sourced from the establishments’ websites and social media pages unless otherwise stated. (Featured image — topmost — represents Delfos Restaurant.)
> Peking Duck photo: Blue Tofu, https://www.flickr.com/people/bluetofu/
Uploaded by Hector Tabare, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:H%C3%A9ctorTabar%C3%A9
> Chef Ricardo Sanz: via Creative Commons
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