Madrid is a fascinating city. We see so many new restaurants and bars opening up every week and yet, the city’s good-old tabernas and more traditional bars are also thriving. Since I often crave the latter, I’ve decided to start a series of articles dedicated to Madrid’s taberna culture.
Bodegas Rosell, one of my favorite old taverns in Madrid
Bodegas Rosell is one of those havens that I like to go to when I want to get away from the city’s newer spots. Located close to Atocha, everything about Bodegas Rosell screams Madrid; you can breathe in tradition as soon as you walk in.
This wonderful place was founded in 1920 by the Rosell family, who converted a former wine shop into a neighborhood taberna. Today, Bodegas Rosell preserves the spirit of the old, traditional taverns that were so popular in another time. Its decor, food, portions, staff and service will take you a step back in time.
When you arrive and stand in front of its facade, you realize you’re in a special place. The facade’s tiles are a genuine work of art, painted by Alfonso Romero, who also painted altar pieces in the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas (Madrid’s iconic bullfighting ring).
If the exterior oozes with tradition, the interior does not leave you unimpressed either. It is not a particularly large place, which makes it even more charming. The walls are decorated with guitars, photographs of the Rosell Family, bottles of wine, and of course, we can not forget about the great map of the Community of Madrid. Can it be more traditional? Bodegas Rosell is just perfect for a quick snack on a stool at any of the barrel tables; or for a quieter lunch or dinner at any of their 4-legged tables. They also have private salons, so it won’t be a problem if you are a large group.
Bodegas Rosell offers a traditional menu with generous portions. Specializing in meat dishes, one of their star dishes is solomillo (pork tenderloin). Another favourite is bacalao (cod) prepared al horno (oven-baked) or rebozado (fried in an egg and flour batter). And of course, you can also find excellent canned seafood, such as mejillones (mussels), berberechos (cockles) and anchoas (anchovies).
My favorite thing to order here is the plate of embutidos ibéricos (Iberian cured meats) and the cheeses. You can have various types of cheese such as Manchego, olive oil, Idiazabal, goat, sheep, so I recommend ordering the cheese board for those undecided or who like all of them. The Iberian cured meats are wonderful, such as jamón serrano, chorizo, lomo and salchichón. I also recommend ordering the tabla de ibéricos (cured meat platter with all of them).
Of course we also have the typical salads and vegetable dishes for those who aren’t so keen on meat or cheese.
Special mention; the fantastic tostas and tapas; perfect to accompany a refreshing caña (small draft beer). My favorite tapa is the boquerones en vinagre (white anchovies in vinegar).
The house specialties are also fantastic: My favorites are the homemade, absolutely delicious croquettes, not to mention the typical callos a la madrileña (Madrid-style tripe) and the Spanish tortilla (egg and potato omelet).
Despite all of these scrumptious dishes, Bodega Rosell’s main attraction remains the Cocido Madrileño (a very typical and hearty stew prepared with garbanzo beans and all types of sausage) that they prepare by order.
Although the food menu is wide and varied, the dessert menu is smaller yet equally delicious; leche frita (fried milk) or natillas (custard) are some of the delights that Bodegas Rosell offers to end a delicious meal.
All that’s left to say is that if you’re looking for an authentic Spanish tavern, then you’ve found it!
Price & Contact Info
The price range is varied and quite affordable. You can have a tosta or tapa for €2.90 or a great steak for €13.50.
Address: c/ General Lacy, 14