The hottest patatas bravas in Madrid

They’re utterly ubiquitous and invariably average. Patatas bravas are a Spanish bar staple of supposed spicy red sauce over crunchy cubes of double-fried potatoes. Yet while the name (“brave potatoes”) promises an in-mouth hot-sauce Big Bang, a gob full of stock standard salsa brava usually winds up as little more than an insipid, ketchupy whimper.

Until now. Brava deliverance is here and it’s within retching distance of the Plaza Mayor. The tasca in question is La Villa del Pescadito, an establishment so impossibly narrow, so unceremoniously mashed between two cavernous bars, that it avoids detection by the all but the hungriest human eye. In fact, once I’d discovered it, I feared I may not find it again. Was it a dream?

Anyway, I stumbled into La Villa del Pescadito with a hunger hole that only a plate of fried starch could fill. And content to quickly down a pile of utilitarian bravas and be on my way, I ordered a plate from Paco (I think that’s his name). Paco’s wife does all the cooking, but Paco makes the brava sauce. And he’s a proud father.

Fiery gobs of true-blue brava sauce

Fiery gobs of true-blue brava sauce

The perfectly-fried potatoes wore deep red, chunky, peppery, vinegary wads and even to my self-styled sturdy palate, this sauce was hot, delivering that lingering and long-missed mouth burn and nose run. Don’t expect to tear up – they’re not that hot. But for Madrid’s timid palate, these little taters are seismic.

I complemented Paco on his sauce and we briefly discussed the sorry state of bravas in Madrid. Paco said that a true brava sauce does not contain tomatoes (his doesn’t) and that many bars simply blend commercial ketchup with tabasco. Madre mia.

So if you’ve got a hankering for the hottest patatas bravas in Madrid, hit up Paco and let me know what you think (also, let me know if his name’s not Paco).

James Blick

10 thoughts on “The hottest patatas bravas in Madrid

  1. Enjoyed your post, James Blick, will try this restaurant when we return to Madrid in September. By the way, if you want incredible cheesecake you must try it at La Maruca on C. Velazquez – it is the best I have ever had!

  2. Nice post! I went on a tour where you could try different kinds of tapas and watch flamenco show afterwards on my trip to Madrid. I can’t remember the name of the tapas bar we went to, but the “patatas” sure were soo “bravas”! And the name of the tourist company was “Madride” as far as I remember.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m afraid I don’t have a recipe at hand. But I’m sure a quick Google with turn up plenty. Just don’t use recipes that call for tomato.

  3. Excellent tip, James, thank you. I was there today and the patatas bravas are the best I have ever had. And yes, his name is indeed Paco.

      • That’s a shame. I am from Madrid and a family friend owned a bar there. His wife made the most amazing brava sauce but would never give me the recipe either. It was top secret ha ha. Alas, I have tried so many different types but nothing I tried tasted the same orc even looked the same. I don’t think she used tomatoes either. Will keep hunting, maybe one day I’ll get lucky!

Leave a Reply