‘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