For all of you who are like me and have a major sweet tooth, I present El Riojano—an old-work pastry shop in the city centre and the perfect place to start off this series on Madrid’s sweetest eats!
Who said that Roscón de Reyes is only eaten at Christmas? At El Riojano in Sol, you can order it all year round or taste it in their very own tea room.
For many it is considered one of the best secrets of Madrid, where you can enjoy not only the typical sweets of religious holidays, but all of Spain’s best sweet and savoury treats, from pastas (finger cookies) to hojaldres (puff pastries filled with all types of goodness).
My little love affair with this place emerged a few months ago, when I asked a friend of mine, also a Madrileña, if she knew a nice place for tea in the centre. I wanted to try something new.
She replied without hesitation: El Riojano.
I was a bit surprised so I replied, “Are you sure? El Riojano has no tea room.” She insisted I go find out for myself.
Well, when I entered I still thought my friend was totally mistaken.
But then I discovered the wonderful tea room hidden through the back. It turned out my friend was right. I was simply blown away!
While admiring the room, I took a seat and looked at the menu. The menu is very simple, dominated by savoury pastries such as hojaldres and empanadas, and, of course, a long list of irresistible sweets.
I opted for a riskier pastry, made with dates and bacon. Delightful!
My friend who came with me decided to order an empanada de pollo (chicken pie), which she said tasted wonderful.
We also decided to share some saladitos. These are mini pastries filled with different flavours such as cheese and sausage. La ración (a full portion) comes with 6 saladitos.
For dessert, we decided to try some delicious Torrijas, Spain’s version of French toast–to die for!
The lounge has an old, spacious and clean air to it, making you feel as though you’ve gone back in time. Although it’s not always full (which is great), do go early if there is a holiday or you will have to wait.
Price-wise, El Riojano is very reasonable. The pastries cost around €2-3 each, and for €3.50, you get 6 hojaldritos. The average price person is around €11, which will get you a few raciones of savoury pastries and sweets, plus a drink.
Since I discovered El Riojano, it has become one of my essential places in the centre for a quick snack or breakfast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Address: C/ Mayor, 10
Telephone: 913 66 44 82