Arallo Taberna – we are talking tapas

IMG_1869I had been hearing a lot of great buzz about Arallo Taberna which belongs to Amicalia  Group. They which recently opened in Madrid after the success of the one in La Coruña but it has taken us a bit more than anticipated to try it out. We finally did a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that I thought that it was spot on. The industrial, layed-back ambiance is ideal for informal lunches and dinners. You can choose between dining at a table or at the long counter which was my choice since it opens right onto their wall to wall kitchen. I always enjoy watching chefs at work and marvel at their speed and precision.

Arallo is bold and daring and they are not afraid to mix it up. The result being some delicious tapas that leaves you wanting more and longing to come back.

To give you a feel of what their tapas are like…

volandeiras which is a type of scallop


bonito (a type of tuna fish) tartar


nigiri croqueta


hake tacos with wasabi mayo


Arallo Taberna

31 Reina Street, 28004 Madrid

They don’t take reservations



Canalla Bistro by Richard Camarena- funky



Richard Camarena is one of the most sought after chef’s in Spain with a Michelin star restaurant in Valencia he has also taken his business to more informal, casual territories where he doesn’t sacrifice flavor but adds a dash of funkiness. Now he has brought his playful style to Madrid where he has opened a second Canalla Bistrot, the first one is in Valencia, in Platea right next to Colon Square and on Goya Street. Platea is a former theater turned into a gastro arena. Where the orchestra used to be you will now find two floors of a food market filled with different options for you to choose from and then once you have mixed and matched you can sit to have your meal. The stage remains as a stage where live music is performed. At the mezzanine level is where you will find Canalla Bistro and then further above at the balcony level, a cocktail bar.



The idea behind the menu is to order dishes to share making it a great place to go with friends so that you can try more things.

I loved Avocado Cannelloni with marinated white tuna and pico de gallo.


A great dish to share and one which will have you popping them constantly into your mouth is the Vegetable Tempura with a slightly spicy sauce.


Duck Nigiri, it was tasty but it was hard to pick up on the duck flavor.


Pizzajapo Okonomiyaki with Chinese cabbage, bacon, mozzarella and okonomiyaki sauce (which is basically made with ketchup, worcestershire or tonkatsu sauce, honey and soy sauce) This isn’t your typical pizza but we would it to be very tasty.


Canalla Bistro both in Madrid and in Valencia. A fun place to check out this summer!

Platea – 5 Goya Street

Telephone Number-915 77 00 25


Arzabal Ponzano – one of the liveliest streets in Madrid

From a couple of years back Ponzano has been becoming more and more popular with a wider ranger of places to go get a drink or grab a bite to eat. Actually it has become so popular that you will find swarms of people flocking around both inside and outside making it hard to walk down the sidewalk or to order a drink. There is no doubt that this street is upbeat and fun on any day of the week. Now that it seems that summer is almost upon us, eating out and having a drink outside becomes even more appealing.

The choice is so wide that at times it can be difficult to decide which bars/taverns should be the chosen ones during your bar hopping. There are so many options ranging from places where you can grab a beer or a glass of wine and a tapa to more serious places where you can get a good quality meal. One of my favorites is Arzabal Ponzano run by Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales, you might have gone to one of their other restaurants: Arzabal Retiro, Arzabal Reina and one of my favorite Japanese restaurants Kirikata (previously known as A de Arzabal) It has been only a matter of time before they ventured out to trendy Ponzano.

The place is hip and stylish. You can eat either at the bar area or sitting down at one of the tables. It is the kind of places where you can grab some tapas with your friends after work or actually sit down with your parents or clients for a more formal/informal dinner.



We are all accustomed to their quality standard. Delicious ham croquetas and it is actually a great place if you are in the mood for meat.


I am a fan of their torrijas… simply perfect and topped off with a scoop of ice-cream. You can’t ask for more.


Arzabal Ponzano
29 Breton de los Herreros Street
28003 Madrid
Telephone- 915 94 06 90

Trasteo- Valladolid just got exciting

I can’t believe that it is already August! I hope everyone is having a great summer. In case you live or are planning on going to Valladolid anytime soon, I strongly recommend that you check Trasteo out. Teo Rodríguez has recently opened his restaurant right in the heart of Valladolid, at 11 Claudio Moyano Street. The restaurant has a modern vibe and I have to say that I loved the decor. There are several areas where you can eat starting with the typical barra where you have many high stools. Perfect for a quick bite or for wine and tapas.

The more “formal” dining area where you can sit and enjoy a tapas tasting menu for around 38 euros. Price varies depending on the number of dishes.


The menu is appealing and exciting. This is not your typical (and boring) black pudding on regular bread type of place. I found it rather difficult to decide what to order since I wanted to try everything. Since I don’t want to bury my bikini at the bottom of my closet, I had to settle for a more toned down approach.

The wine list has an interesting selection of both national and international wines. It is always nice to see a variety of sherries and small producer champagnes on the list.

I am quite a fan of Spanish omelettes and I found Teo’s interpretation to be funky and really tasty. The potatoes are in a sort of paddy at the bottom, then a cured egg yolk (who doesn’t just drool over the mention of the word egg yolk??) and topped with a red onion foam. I definitely wouldn’t mind having this for dinner every night.


“Carabinero” (Cardinal prawn) tartar with jalapeño gazpacho. I, being a lover of spicy found, would have loved for the gazpacho to have more of a kick.


Tuna fish “ham”, this plate reminds you of the typical Spanish ham, tomato and bread. In this case, the tomato is a spherification which just pops in your mouth. On the side, some Sardo bread.


Ravioli XL size stuffed with mushrooms and with an incredibly delicious ramen broth. This was one of our favorites.


Back cheek of a tuna fish with dehydrated scales. Tuna fish tends to be dry but this area of the fish is so juicy.


Chicken meatball XL size, filled with a fricassée sauce. This was without a doubt, a comfort food dish. I can just imagine having this on a cold winter evening with a glass of wine next to a roaring fire.


For dessert, watermelon tataki with yuzu ice-cream. This is a fresh dessert. Ideal for summer.


To finish off, brownie topped with violet ice-cream and a hint of passion fruit.


Congratulation to Teo Rodríguez and his team! We are looking forward to going back.


11 Claudio Moyano Street, Valladolid

Telephone: 983 45 50 90


San Sebastian – tapas tapas tapas


A Spanish culinary heritage is without a doubt the tapa. Ever since I was little I have always been a fan of tapas as my father, being Spanish, we used to have tapas for dinner on Friday night. The tapas of my childhood were Americanized but the concept stuck to my brain. Once I moved to Spain I discovered what tapas really are. Every part of Spain has a slightly different version of tapas, in the Canary Islands you have fried fish and papas con mojo, in Andalucía you have salmorejo and shrimp paddies. I could go on for a while but the idea behind today’s post is not a tapas class but to let you in on one of my favorite cities and one of my favorite cities for tapas, San Sebastian.


San Sebastian is located in the Basque Country with the stunning beach of La Concha (The Shell) as the heart of the city. The name is due to the natural shape the beach adopts with its two hill topped peninsulas which are on opposite sides therefore enclosing the beach and making for a fantastic landscape. The promenade has an elegant French style which makes you doubt if you are in France or in Spain. Besides this wonderful landmark, San Sebastian is a destination for shoppers who enjoy small boutiques and of course for tapa lovers.


I want to share some places which I find to be quite good. Nonetheless, the city is full of tapas and although some will say that tapas are good anywhere, I beg to differ but I do think that you can trust your instinct, after all, if you aren’t convinced you can quickly find another place to try. Most of the restaurants that serve pintxos (bite size snacks) are located in the older part of town.


One of the things that fascinates tourists are the counters full of pintxos. They are so colorful and look so appealing.






Scallops with white garlic sauce, nuts and vinaigrette and mushroom tartelette with pine nuts and Idiazabal cheese

These are some of my favorite places. Don’t you just wish you could be walking around the city tonight?


Casa Urola

La Chuchara de San Telmo

Taberna Laredo – a classic

2014-03-15 13.36.07 When I first moved into the apartment where I currently live (soon lived) there was a tiny tavern right next to the front entrance which was always jammed. I used to go down from time to time with a friend to have some croquetas or calamari. It was called Mitulo which later moved to Menorca Street, changing their name to Laredo along the way. Popularity grew even more and the brothers decided that it was time to embark on yet another adventure, moving again within the neighborhood to 30 Menorca Street, to a much bigger place decorated by the renown architect, Joaquín Torres. Very well decorated with black walls and dark colored floor which give off an elegant vibe. The counter area in the center is built up with wooden planks and wine boxes hanging from the ceiling encase the top. There are some stairs towards the back which lead up to the dining area (reservations are necessary because they are always booked). I do have to mention that I was quite surprised that such a renown architect did not take into account the sound insulation, which is not taken care. This becomes noticeable when the tavern is full, which is almost always. But don’t let that put you off. The tavern offers two win-win situations. good wine list – good price, good food – good price. Can you ask for more? They make one of the best salmorejos in Madrid, heavenly creamy and delicious. 2014-03-15 14.57.15 I have a friend who absolutely loves their rabbit chops with fries and grilled peppers. 2014-03-15 15.31.18 Another must is the crayfish tempura. 2014-03-27 20.44.58 Smoked sardine on thin toasted bread with burrata cheese and tomato 2014-03-15 14.57.29 My husband is a fan of their ensaladilla rusa 2014-03-15 15.06.19 This is a must-go-to tavern in Madrid. Good for an aperitif, informal tapas or a sit-down lunch or dinner. Taberna Laredo 30 Doctor Castelo Street, Madrid Telephone – 91 573 30 61  Starting price per person is more or less 25 euros (it all depends on the wine and on how hungry you are)

El Pescador – Galicia right in Madrid

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El Pescador belongs to the same group as Pescaderías Coruñesas, O’Pazo and Filandón all of which work with high-quality produce. I especially like El Pescador which is a restaurant that can be played two ways; either as a proper restaurant or as a tapas bar. Located on Ortega y Gasset it is a great place to pop into on a Saturday for el aperitif or on a weekday for an informal dinner. The restaurant has an inviting nautical feel to it. The counter is a lot of fun asyou can see their selection of oysters from France, Spain and even Japan. There are other dishes which are always catching your eye.  They tend to have wines from Galicia which are tasty and they also serve champagne by the glass which pairs beautifully with seafood. Well, who am I kidding? Champagne goes with everything.

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