I eat. Lots, often and with pleasure. Since I am in Spain for a couple of months I have made a silent pact with myself that I am going to try as many tortillas de patatas as possible. A tortilla is a thick omelette made with eggs, potatoes and onion panfried in olive oil. Olive oil in Spain is the number one ingredient. Not only to fry tortillas but to bathe salads in it, deep-fry croquetas (heavenly greasy balls of potato and Béchamel sauce mush), nourish your hair, rub it on your skin, drink it for digestion, make doors less squeaky.
If you are planning to go to Madrid – you can eat tortilla in every single tapas bar and restaurant in this city. Here are some of the ones I tried:
Cerveceria El Casco Viejo
Calle Infantas 26
Rather small portion. The potatoes were too mushy, probably not the right kind or old. The tortilla was dry and the cook must be in love, it was too salty. No bread came with it, which it normally does (I took it to go). Price: 2.50 EUR
Los 4 Robles
Plaza de Celenque 1
Very nice traditional looking restaurant / bar. Tortilla was not too big but not too small. Outside well fried, inside slightly uncooked – perfect! Came with pickled red peppers and a piece of fresh baguette. I would come here again! If there weren’t four thousand other tortilla places to try. Price: 2.50 EUR
Calle del Mesonero Romanos 7
I ate here twice (that would usually mean a lot, but I am a lazy person and this place is near my house). First time the tortilla was a bit dry but well seasoned, and a definitely bigger portion than usual. The second time the pincho (piece) was smaller but very well cooked, inside still wonderfully moist. They also have very cheap montados (1/2 a stuffed baguette) – 2.50 EUR for a smoked salmon montado and 2.50 EUR for the tortilla – definitely enough for lunch! The place is rather simple, a lot of middle aged men come here to have a beer or coffee in the afternoon. I don’t know why I find that important. Definitely good for a quick bite when you’re shopping on Gran Via. Great in spring, lots of tables outside.
Calle de Victor Hugo 5
I was told this is the best tortilla in Madrid. Since it’s really close to my Spanish school I thought I would give it a try. It’s not bad, if you like almost raw eggs. The outside resembles more a regular American omelette and the inside is… thickishly fluid. This is what Madrileños consider perfect. It is a taste that one will have to acquire, but definitely worth to try it out.
Price: 2.50 EUR (it seems as if there was an unwritten law that all pinchos must cost that much)
Plaza de Callao and several locations all over Madrid
First: It’s a chain that serves mostly sandwiches with toast. Second: The chapata (microscopic baguette) with a slice of tortilla inside costs 1 EUR. Third: not bad. That’s about it.