In the 70s and 80s, Malasaña was where Madrid ripped off the straitjacket of Francoism and went nuts. As the epicentre of the Movida movement, the barrio was jammed with underground clubs, high-as-a-kite addicts and Pedro Almodóvar. But once considered dangerous, Malasaña has since gentrified. And in doing so the neighbourhood has swapped heroin for hipsters and chaos for cupcakes. Some might say (myself included) that that makes it as dangerous as ever. But look past the painful pretensions: this is a wonderful part of old Madrid, with gorgeous architecture, a glut of history and plenty of top spots to eat and drink.
Anway, if want to know know where to eat in Malasaña, read on…
Bear with me. The decor is woody and white, punctuated by blackboard menus and distressed furniture. Raciones and bocados (toasted bread with bits and bobs on top) make up a menu of Spanish classics done with a modern slant. The wall is dotted with old recipes (a nod to grandmothers’ cooking) and sepia family photos (a nod to grandmothers). And because you’re cultured and smart, you’re thinking – what gives?! This sounds like any other trendy Malasaña eatery, where the decor and menu promise sophisticated, thoughtful cooking but the food leaves you cold, sad and angry. Fear not. García is good. The octopus on guacamole and the asparagus and leak on romesco were delicious. The prawns and mushrooms wrapped in a pork steak needed a little more definition (or a slightly stronger mustard sauce)… but I’m going to let that one go. Crisp, clear flavours, a good wine list (with a few unlikely suspects and not a Ribera del Duero in sight) and warm, attentive service. And, to be honest, I’m not sure what else to say. It’s simply a very good restaurant. Oh, they also do a €11.50 menú del día. Hoorah.