Non-Star Restaurants in Madrid
This is a tour of a handful of restaurants in Madrid without Estrella, but where we are a little happier
Carmen González and Julio Miralles © Zalacain
The Star race is going further and further away from the public and more from Sunday magazine, a bad matter. In Mantel & Cuchillo we are firm defenders (with their buts, obviously) of the Bible of the gastronomic industry, for being the most rigorous and independent guide - and noses, to fulfill more than one hundred years.
However, it is increasingly common to hear in the middle of a conversion "Do you have a star?" ... Ugh, what a laziness. I get the feeling that the new gourmet audience (and not so gourmet, but at least restless and curious to meet new coquineras experiences) perceive the Macaron as a quality label (yes) but also as a 'package of particularities' from the restaurant to the inspector that sometimes have little to do with the pleasure of the diner.
Partridge in pepitoria © Desencaja
More expensive, more stretched and more bourgeois. It is perhaps the perception (fair or not) that the Stars have the Younger audience And worse than all that: more of the same. A certain pattern of homogeneity that matches the proposals and I think we enjoy looking for, in addition to large tables, singular proposals, other gastronomic models not so corseted: bars, taverns, taquerías, sandwiches, dishes from around the world and democratization of haute cuisine.
Marian and Carmen's food house has long since ceased to be the track insider of the most traditional gourmet to confirm as that stove where one feels at home.
Every day better Verdejo: marinades, salted cheeses and artisan sausages, exceptional product (belly, abalone, lobster, handyman with crayfish ...) and wines designed to drink, not to embalm them in the corner of the apparent.
Verdejo better every day because his honest and enjoyable proposal continues to perspire warmth, temporality and claims more attached to the heart (and stomach) That at the head.
Iván Sáez is a samurai of the hunt and of the real kitchen (True, says the SAR: compliance with what is said with what is felt or thought).
Desencaja is the perfect example of everything that 'haute cuisine' needs to approach the diner at street level: Less nonsense and more cooking. Less egos and more cooking. Less endless menus and more dishes for memory, like his partridge or his thrush.
More than thirty years after the third Michelin Star (the first restaurant in Spain to obtain it) in that Zalacain de Don Jesús Oyarbide and Custodio López Zamarra, Madrid can already boast, again, of this temple of good taste thanks to Susana García Cereceda, Julio Miralles in the kitchen and the fabulous Carmen González in charge of a room that is an ode to detail, courtesy and touch. When did the 'gastronomic' forget who is the protagonist of this story? Here they have not forgotten.
Quality cuisine, good bases, seasonal produce and jewelry such as the little Don Pío búcaro (quail eggs, smoked salmon and caviar), kokotxa with squid in its ink, the royal de pularda or that steak tartare that they have been cooking in the room since 1973 . Nothing can go wrong in Zalacain.
Clos is the result of the determination of Marcos Granda, owner of the Skina of Marbella and an uncle who has stepped on all the great restaurants in the world: it shows.
Product, hospitality, taste for wine and from birth One of those houses that raise Madrid as an unavoidable destination for those who are looking for this batch of temples of honest and sensible cuisine: Clos, The Good Life, Cañadío, Lakasa, Angelita, Tasquita or Sacha.
Sherry, sparkling with small products, Burgundy to cry (crying like that) and product without excuses: tomato in textures and smoked eel, Joselito Iberian dam with Iberian broth or grilled grouper. Clos is already essential.
THE GOOD LIFE
Carlos Torres and Elisa Rodríguez They have been following three culinary maxims for more than fifteen years that today for many of us are an undeniable Creed: product, temporality and service.
Classic elaborations, respect for the cookbook -which is said soon- and a room where the protagonist is not the cook: is the diner. It is worth stepping on this small restaurant in the center of Las Salesas at the beginning of each new season: hunting and autumn truffles (lamprey, teal or scholarship) or Getaria's tear peas in spring.
We ate too Imported potatoes with conger, the classic butter stripe or its canonical cheesecake. Rarely the expression 'House of food' It fits both a restaurant and La Buena Vida.
The impeccable work of Carlos Torres and Elisa Rodríguez © La Buena Vida
THE GOOD APPEARED
The youngest of the restaurants on this list is also one of the happiest openings I remember. That because? Because his big bet (in cooking) are eternal elaborations and aromas of the “Grandma's kitchen”: funds, stews, spoon, rice or cooked. Also because it positions itself as the great Cantabrian from Madrid. And also because I can't like space more (it is the work of Sandra Tarruella).
We ate Santoña anchovies, rabas (memorable), artichokes with oxtail, Mountain stew (about to drop a tear) and Idiázabal cheese cream pie with apple and cinnamon ice cream. Dedicated, the latter, to the doctor who is fucking me with such intolerance. To you salu!
Straight to the point: Madrid is becoming one of the most interesting capitals of what we call Japanese & Fusion, kitchen with Japanese bases but giving room to product and elaborations from other places. Kabuki (Mediterranean), 99 Sushi Bar, Umiko or this Miyama after which sushi man Junji Odaka walks.
I prefer the bar, from which it is a pleasure to watch them work in silence (silence behind a bar, why not).
As for what to choose, The spicy tuna tartare is excellent. And then? I cherish a confession: lately my choice in the 'japs' is a light entree to line an endless nigiris festival. All possible nigiris. Nigiri is my roll.
Miyama Castellana © Jesús Terrés
One of my happiest discoveries has been Marcano, the house in Doctor Castelo where David Marcano and Patricia Valdez They distribute game between the bar (fantastic) and a handful of tables.
Product, again, but with a creative point and a lot of cooking behind. David was the cook of Goizeko Weillington for almost ten years and the intention behind this bistro in the Retreat is simple: feed well. I ask what that is: “Excellence brought to the table".
To achieve it it is necessary to have knowledge of the bases of the kitchen: long cooking, funds, sauces, stews, stews, vacuum cooking, etc. All these techniques are fundamental and the starting point to achieve it.
I ate alone (as so many times) accompanied by the Laconicum notebook and some concern that was diluted to the sound of cups and plates. Platazos. Book croquettes, fried artichokes with peas and a wonderful scallop ceviche, I did not expect. One of the covers in Madrid; I hope it continues to be.
THE FRONT TASQUITA
I think Juanjo López Bedmar It is at its best and that is saying a lot. But much. The list of hits and product is so excellent that it is difficult to highlight a dish: artichokes, anchovies with tomato tartare, salad, marrow or lamprey.
La Tasquita already headed that The 25 best food houses in Spain that we elaborated in Mantel & Cuchillo years ago (next to Gresca or Arzábal) and there it continues, unappealable. Tomista Unattainable. With his nose (great fan of the niche perfumery), his hands, his heart and look, because everything, in the end, goes over our gaze. His is that of a hunter. Product, books, conversations and emotion.
99 SUSHI BAR
The NH Collection Eurobuilding is being erected as a 'gastronomic microdestiny' thanks Dabiz and his DiverXo, Paco Roncero and his DOMO; and also to the exceptional work that David Arauz and Roberto Limas are doing in the kitchen (cold and hot, respectively) and Mónica Fernández in the room of the spectacular 99 Sushi Bar. In my opinion, few sommeliers of the stature of Monica in Madrid: an example of discretion, knowledge and warmth. So yes.
Absolutely prescriptive the bull carpaccio and the tiger shrimp tempura, also the Kimuchi tuna tartare with pickled salad.
99 Sushi Bar: Veal gyozas © © Nines Mínguez
Eye to Retirement which is consolidating itself as an interesting gastronomic enclave (in addition to being a notary burrow, I mean). In four streets we have Marcano, Taberna Pedraza, Meating, La Tasquería or that representative of the Atlantic cuisine that is Alabaster (from the Alborada Coruña group), with Iván Domínguez as gastronomic director and the exceptional work of Óscar Marcos and Francisco Ramírez in the room (in fact it gives me the feeling that it is the house of Óscar and Francisco )
My plate? Two: ear and handyman with razors, and gizzard. Holy God the gizzard ...
Alabaster leeks © Alabaster
We said it (we said it!) A long time ago: the farmhouse is back to stay. Recover that intense cuisine arising from poverty: viscera, nose, brains, ears and skin.
That's what Javi Estèvez's restaurant-concept is about, La Tasquería (tasca + casquería) a proposal as simple as surprising the success (of which we are glad) of a kitchen based on such little "noble" parts of veal, pork or lamb. I keep the lamb gizzards with mojama.
La Tasquería © Jesús Terrés
Again, success comes from a bounded and vertical concept (Perhaps it is that we are bored of letters that are repeated to satiety and of "bravas, croquettes, saddles and tataki"?).
This time, in Conde Duque, the proposal is called Tiradito & Pisco Bar, a Peruvian restaurant focused on ceviches and tiraditos (and that is the wonderful pisco). Eye also to the Lima cause, dish born of that phrase pronounced by Don José de San Martín 'the liberator' (who led the liberation of Chile against the oppressor: Spain) on July 28, 1821: "For the cause that God defends."
* This article was published in April 2015; Today we update it with our new gastronomic 'fighters'
Tiradito: Count Duke on fire © Jesús Terrés