Restaurante Badila is my number one. My favourite place to eat in Madrid. I’ve flirted with other restaurants during the years I’ve lived here but I keep coming back to this one, it’s just SO good. I’ve dragged pretty much all of my visitors here (some of them multiple times) and Badila never fails to disappoint. It’s really only taken me so long to write a post about it because I was wrestling with the idea of whether to share Madrid’s best-kept secret, but here we go. The secret is out.
This gem of a restaurant is tucked away behind Plaza Tirso de Molina, on the corner of Calle Cabeza with Calle San Pedro Mártir. Its interior is light and airy, with simple decor and a host of delicious wines on display. There’s only room to squeeze in about ten tables, so the atmosphere is informal and unpretentious, with lovely owner Miguel waiting on tables himself. But the real star of the show here is, of course, the food. Oh, the food.
The menu consists of updated versions of Spanish classics, with a smattering of international dishes, all based on the tried-and-tested formula: simple, home-cooked fare prepared with the freshest ingredients. Miguel shops around for the best stuff on offer each morning, so the menu changes from day to day and from season to season. It’s a menú del día format for both lunch and dinner, with around six or seven options for primeros and the same for segundos – far too much choice for someone as indecisive as me! On our most recent visit, my boyfriend ordered the ensalada mixta con frambuesas y queso de cabra (mixed salad with goat’s cheese and raspberries) to start, whereas I opted for the salteado de espárragos con carabinero y crema de lechuga (a divine concoction of asparagus, red shrimp and lettuce – it needs to be tasted to be believed!).
For my second course, I went with my old favourite: escalopines al cabrales (pork fillet with cabrales cheese sauce). I must have ordered this dish over a dozen times at Badila but I can’t help myself, it’s just so damn tasty.
My boyfriend chose the redondo de ternera a la austriaca (stumped on how to translate this one, very tender veal in a delicious sauce?!) which he hadn’t tried before. Initially I told him off for ordering something fairly unphotogenic but quickly forgave him because it tasted absolutely amazing and I ended up stealing half of it.
Naturally, we managed to squeeze in dessert. I had a slice of wonderfully gooey chocolate cake and my boyfriend went for his favourite cuajada de queso (describing this as milk curd just doesn’t do it justice) which I didn’t even manage to get a photo of because he ate it so quickly.
The menú del día costs just under 14 euros per person and is worth every penny. The portions are very generous and everything is well thought-out and unbelievably tasty. Even the bread here is delicious, unlike in many Spanish restaurants. The price of the lunchtime menu goes up to just under 18 euros at weekends and the evening menu is slightly more expensive at around 20 euros. Badila is open every day for lunch from 14:00 – 16:30 and on Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner from 21:00 – 00:00. They only take reservations for dinner, so if you go at lunchtime I’d recommend either going early or going late otherwise you might have to wait for a table. As you’d expect, a place this good does get pretty busy!
Address: Calle de la Cabeza 7
Metro: Tirso de Molina
Telephone: 914 29 76 51