Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Restaurante Ayala Japon, C/Ayala, 67

Last month was repeating places and apart from La Daniela what a dissapointment it was. The last time I went to Il Casone, the pizza was bad and when I commented on it the waiter was just idifferent. I was put off anyway, because before I had my pizza I went to the toilet and was greeted by the biggest skidmark I've ever seen. This was at around 8.30, so the restaurant had only been open for about half an hour. So not to be repeated for a while. La Negra Flor are serving salt with some food at the moment, I hope this won't last I like the place and it's doing really well. And then there were a few places that aren't really worth mentioning, or I'll have to go back to try them again. Last Saturday, we were out and decided to try something new. There was this one place that had a big sign in the window that said we could eat a la carte for €20 and it looked kind of OK, but when we asked what this meant, they couldn't tell us. I have never seen two bigger muppets in my life, they were just making it up. So we decdided to let them fantasise some more about what they serve on their own and left.  I remembered this Japanese restaurant, not Inari, that I had been told about and it not being far we went there. There was a queue, which we took as a good sign, and only Japanese staff, which we took as another good sign. They weren't too busy with looking good, but were just hoofing out the food which looked spectacular. We had to wait at least 20 minutes, but I can tell you it was worth the wait. We had a menú de degustacion (€24 each) at the bar, a table would have meant a longer wait. We were sitting right in front of the sushi man, who had his hands in rice and fish permanently. It all looked very clean and it was the best I've had in years. The sushi was the main part of the menú, but chicken, tempura (deep fried vegetables and king prawns), peking duck and dumplings followed and we were not able to finish our meal. What a success, finally! And just around the corner. Fuck Inari, go to Ayala Japon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Restaurante Inari

I love sushi. And lucky me: there are a few sushi places in my neighborhood. Last night we went to Inari. We were tired but it was my birthday and this called for something more than a lasagna in the microwave and some shit tv. So, Inari. We could have gone to another but we had been there before and the sushi had been O.K. The noodles weren't, so we weren't going to try them again. As luck would have it the Tempura Noriawase (kingprawns and vegetables, deep fried) we tried instead were just as bad as the noodles had been before. The Sushi Special was especially expensive at 33€ for 11 pieces and not especially special. We should have gone to the other place. What a dissapointment, again! The fact that it is accross the street from Balboa Social Club, the worst restaurant in the world , makes this a corner of Madrid I will from now on avoid when I'm hungry.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Soho Bar Restaurante, C/ Jorge Juan 50

Last night I felt like having a few beers. Without food this would have ended in another lost weekend, but I happen to know this bar with a restaurant upstairs. The bar is a real bar, it actually does look like a bar in Soho, New York. For once a Buweiser Neon (in the window) makes sense and looks good. The cocktails look good and when they are being prepared it's not the messy affair that you usually get and they make sense in a place like this. The restaurant upstairs a real restaurant. The menu is American and is therefore perfect in combination with those beers I wanted.
We didn't have a reservation, on Friday and Saturday it is better to have one, but we were asked to wait and after about 5 minutes we could have a table for 45 minutes. Apologies were made for this because this way we couldn't have "sobremesa", linger at the table after dinner, but I wanted to do that at the bar anyway.
We started with the guacamole which was fresh, but on the salty side which was a pitty. The Special Soho Burger was good, the meat was tender, the potatochips were fantastic and the Ternera Little Italy covered in tomatosauce and mozarella was really nice as well. Still, someone in the kitchen was having a love affair with the salt. I already wanted to have a few drinks, so they didn't have to make me with the salt. We had a good meal, the service was great and we will go back.
What about the toilets? The way they should be: clean.
As for those drinks, I was too full and too tired after dinner to have another and so we went home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taberna Los Ángeles, Costanilla Ángeles 8

People visiting Madrid are a good excuse to go out for dinner. Since we live in Madrid we are supposed to know where is good and so we don't experiment trying new places unless the visitor is paying and money is no object. Since we don't know many people these days that can say that, we stuck to the first option last weekend and had lunch in La Daniela again; I couldn't move afterwards I ate so much and it was that good, again. On Saturday we were in the city center around Puerta del Sol and we were hungry. Not that familiar in the area when it comes to restaurants, we ended up in Taberna Los Ángeles just off Opera and Calle Arenal. We had been there before a couple of years ago, but I didn't really remember what it was like. The place is faux antique country style with lots of crap collected on shelves along the walls, not just from one particular period (a bit like Irish Pubs that sometimes look more like agricultural museums than pubs), but the food is OK. Straightforward traditional Spanish country cooking with fresh salads and lots of meat. Service was swift and the price was right. I reckon they prepare everything in big quantities which I think in a way adds to the taste. It's not super exciting, but it's definitely not like VIPS or El Corte Inglés (I recently made the mistake of having something to eat there, I was using WiFi, and you guessed it, it was just the worst). All in all it was good, but I was told that the toilets were disgusting. Thank God I didn't have to go because that would have put me off. So note to self: Taberna Los Ángeles, ok food. Avoid toilet!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Il Casone Ristorante Italiano, Plaza Olavide

Where can you get a good Pizza? Well, in Madrid, or Spain for that matter, that is not such simple question. A lot of places think they sell Pizza, but believe me they don't. Once we had a Pizza somewhere on Calle Genova that was raw. Impossible? Believe me. When we sent it back we got something else (never mind what, it was just as bad), but the manager came back to our table to tell us that this was a special type of pizza....
Anyway, you know how you sometimes crave for something and you go out looking for it? That's how I found Il Casone. It was the first time I had a decent Pizza in Spain, so I went back several times and last Saturday I went again. I always order the same, a Caprese Salad and a Quatro Stagione Pizza. Again I was not dissapointed. The ingredients were fresh and tasted like they were brought in from the land only half an hour earlier. Delicious.
This obviously is the best thing about the restaurant which is quite big and divided into sections. What bothers me is that nearly half of the restaurant is reserved for smokers and what bothers me even more is that this is the nicest part of the place. Another thing that bothers me is that the plates seem to have been brought in from a Greek restaurant where they refused to break, we got a starter on a small plate that looked more like an ashtray. However, the food is great and so this is only a minor thing which, until someone cuts themselves badly, will be part of the charm.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fresc Co Restaurante

Saturday afternoon and I needed to do the shopping, but I was lazy. I was also hungry, but the fridge was empty. It being Saturday, there wouldn’t be many restaurants open for a menu del día. So I decided to try Fresc Co, an “eat as much as you can” or “buffet libre” restaurant. I have nothing against such restaurants, especially when I’m on my own and for €10,95 I was willing to give it a try. The experience has made me come to the conclusion that there are a lot of people who really don’t care what they eat, as long as they get a lot.

On entering it’s a bit as if you’re in the airport or in any old canteen; you get your tray, your plate and cutlery and join the queue. In case you don’t know how this works it is explained on a big sign in both Spanish and English. The queue starts at the salad bar, which is about 10 meters long and the salads look fresh, as they should. Because it’s “eat as much as you can”, you will try everything that fits on your plate. I tried a potato curry salad; some coos coos; some regular green salad, tomatoes and some cauliflower. I say potato curry, because that’s what it looked like, the taste was watery and mealy, the rest was so cold I was wondering if I wasn’t in an ice cream parlor. The hot meals are found through a maze of tables (the apparently low price as an excuse to cram in as many tables as humanly possible) in the back of the restaurant and for good reason; they are very limited and shit. Pizzas: heavy, infinitely chewable dough with tomato sauce and mushrooms; pasta: supersize penne with something (I didn’t want to try); chicken drumsticks: dry but the stocky sauce with peas was not that bad; and soup: mwah.
The amount of food that is thrown away as a result is shameful.

I know, I know, it’s easy to slate places like this. But for €11 you can do a lot better in some “Manolo” bar even if it were only for the authenticity. So that’s where I’ll be going from now

Monday, February 2, 2009


I used to work in bars and restaurants in Ireland and one thing no one liked doing at the end of the night was cleaning the toilets. The state of them was diabolical even on the quieter nights, but they would be checked every hour or so in case they needed a quick clean. In any case, before we went home they would be spick and span as we did not have the luxury of a cleaning lady who would do everything in the morning and all we would have had to worry about was the bar and restocking it. I say this because I worked in a few bars in Spain that had a cleaning lady in the morning apart from Sundays, so no one ever bothered with the jacks. That's why it was no great surprise to find scummy toilets in other bars. But what I don't understand is that absolutely no one seems to give a shit, no pun intended. I mean, I have seen toilets, often only inches away from the kitchen, that are impossible to describe and staying in them for longer than a few seconds would require hospitalisation or maybe even quarantine. Since most bars are also restaurants this seems even more baffling, because apart from the obvious health scare, if you have to make a sanitary stop during, or more politely, before your meal this will put you off for the rest of the week. I am talking months old shit stuck to the pot, phleghm on the walls, no seats, probably no paper, because the last person to change the toilet paper couldn't possibly have missed the state of he cubicles, etc. etc. And beware if you touch any surface, the sniffer dogs will have you by the balls. And that's just the gents.... I better stop because I am making myself sick again.
Ashley, he' such a moan, so negative! Possibly, but I like clean toilets and I am proud of it!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gabriel, C/ Conde Duque 10

I haven't really been out much recently and when I was, I repeated places. It's always good to repeat a place I think, especially when it was good the first time. That would be the first reason, the second would be to find out if the first time wasn't just a fluke. I had a menú del día in La Negra Flor a few days ago for €11 and it wasn't bad. Not great, but definitely not bad either. A run of the mill pasta salad, and skewered pork with a few lost pieces of veg. Anyway the novelty of the place seems to have worn off already, especially for the waiter. Was he nervously friendly the first time, this time he was just not in the mood I guess. I do think it's a good bar and a nice restaurant though. I'll keep you posted on it.
Last night I went to the movies with a few friends at a quarter past eight, before dinner time. So when we came out of the cinema we were hungry. Not familiar in the area we decided to have a pintxo (tapa) and a caña first in Lizaran. You'll find Lizaran all over Spain and the pintxos are actually good, just don't make a meal of them. It's a bit of a scrummage getting to them as it is self service, but that's to be expected on a Saturday night.
I had read something about a restaurant around the corner from where we were in Conde Duque but when we found it it was full and we would have to wait an hour at least. With full I mean 7 or 8 tables, so I guess this will have to wait for a quiet Tuesday or Wednesday. As there are more restaurants in the area we ended up in a place called Gabriel, a bit of a mixed bag really, but clean. The menu was maybe a bit limited, but we weren't really going to have a big meal anyway. We ordered a Salad of Foie and Mango between the four of us and a Tostada each. Mine a pork sirloin with a mustard sauce which was very nice. The others had good looking toasts too, but with goat's cheese which is the only thing I don't eat or want to go near. I was fine with my caña, but the girls ordered a Mojito Sorbet which did taste like a mojito and that was that. Nothing really vey exciting, but all in all OK, especially for a little more than a tenner per person. I will go back some time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I've been away for my Christmas holidays and haven't been out for a meal in Madrid in a while.

I just wanted to share an article I came accross in th NY Times today.

I also haven't really been anywhere because I got a Nespresso Coffeemaker for Christmas and the coffee is that good, I don't want to go anywhere.