Cafetería Yulong. Parking Plaza de España. Madrid

‘Abajo de Plaza de España hay un restaurante chino’ has been dropped so many times off the lips of cosmopolitan and hipster madrileños that it’s become something of a cliche. Yes, Chinese people do come here to eat, even though they order from a far more extensive menu than the non-Mandarin speaker would get.
Having eaten here at least a dozen times over four years, I can happily report that the food is very tasty, and quite authentic, though neither particularly fresh nor healthy; some dishes are swimming in oil, just like you’d see in Beijing, and the meat can be a lower quality than other restaurants – but no worse than a typical neighborhood Chinese joint.
Highlights include the costillas dulce (pork spare ribs) for 5.50€ and arroz glutinoso (sticky pyramids of rice wrapped in leaf, hiding chunks of wonderful barbecued pork) for only 1.30€ per individual portion. Noodles are flavourful, the dim sum can be dull and turgid in texture, but the range of choices is impressive for such a small modest place.
The space isn’t the best for decor – simple cafe plastic with no frills – but the atmosphere is great when it’s heaving and there’s a queue of ten waiting outside. We’ve tended to get take-aways to eat ten metres directly above the restaurant on the grass around Plaza de España’s fountain.

$-$$

Metro Plaza de España

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