Vegaviana. Calle de Pelayo, 35. Madrid

A good menú del día in a great part of town. We had the gazpacho de tropezones and a lentil soup that was surprisingly quite spicy, and for mains we plumped for the platter of four portions: hummus, ratatouille, paella and mushroomy eggs. Wholesome, healthy stuff. All of it was veggie of course, but only the paella missed its key ingredient: a good fish stock! Desserts were limited to two choices, as well as fruit: the cheesecake had an interesting texture and a reassuringly decadent taste but was cheapened by the marmalade topping, while the natilla de chocolate was just a bit repetitive.
This is a bustling little place with good service and a great vibe, but like Lavapies’s Granero, so closed off from the street that it’s more suitable for a gloomy rainy afternoon, and not the usual sunny Madrid day! We hardly got any light in from the street, so we’ll pay it a repeat visit when the weather really is frightful.

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Metro Chueca/Gran Via

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Olé Lola. Calle de San Mateo, 28. Madrid.

The decor here is its prize asset: velvet drapes and dark, Mark Ryden-inspired pieces, replete with bullfighter motifs and traditional Spanish icons, with nods to Goya and Velazquez alike. The wine here is very good, the tapas even better. Prices have fluctuated over the past couple of years, but it has always been fairly reasonable for just a few drinks. Shame about the strange snobby crowd and slightly off-key location. Service can be a bit brusque too.

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Metro Tribunal

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