Going out to eat or drink on Calle Ponzano, the street with the highest concentration of bars in Madrid, is such an art that it has its own verb, ponzaning. It’s one of the best parts about living in Chamberí, with so many of the city’s best new places all in one place. One of the newest to come on the scene is Toque de Sal, which I learned about from the Madrid Confidential newsletter, naming it one of five new places to try this fall.
It had been on my bucket list all season, but then school got in my way. And finally, my friend and I were able to squeeze in (on a Friday night without a reservation) to finally get to try it. When you go inside you feel as if you’re in a chic restaurant in Paris, with beautiful tiled floors, dark wood, and a wonderfully lit bar. The front was absolutely full of people, which was to be expected because it’s the weekend and this is Ponzano. The dining area in the back is small and intimate, but you have tables to sit for two and larger tables that are more elevated (perfect for a fun dinner with your cuadrilla of friends).
Your place setting is equally elegant, with a menu in a gold leather cover:
…and personalized plates. The golden touches, from the silverware, the placemats, and the menu covers were analogous to the gold standard service we received. Our waitress was incredibly warm and attentive, and it was fitting with how precious and inviting the space is inside.
And now, the food. Was absolutely to die for. My friend chose the grilled sea bass that came with vegetables:
…and I first had the crema del día (which was mushroom when we went), and then, I had something I hadn’t had in a very long time: rabo de toro, or oxtail.
It was absolutely perfect: the meat fell right off the bone, and the sauce gave me the same warm feeling that I get when my father gets inspired to make boeuf bourguignon in his trusty crockpot. It was ideal for a cool fall night, and I’ll definitely be back to have this again and again and again.
If that gem of an Instagram close-up didn’t convince you enough, it’s evident in this shot that I was ready to dig in, and believe me, I enjoyed every single minute of it.
A girl’s night wouldn’t be complete without dessert, and since I really shouldn’t be eating sugar and I wanted to give myself a capricho, I decided to try the tarta de manzana. There was more apple than crust, which for me was exactly what I wanted, and I couldn’t get enough. For someone who doesn’t like heavy desserts I found something that would be worth doing an hour’s worth of cardio the next day for.
As for my friend, she got the chocolate coulant, which is her personal favorite desert of all time.
If the picture doesn’t convince you, take her word for it: it had a muy buena pinta and it was absolutely wonderful.
Toque de Sal definitely lived up to the hype, bringing a touch of chic to Ponzano, and I’ve found my new favorite neighborhood joint that I will inevitably now bring all of my friends to. It’s also a perfect way to enjoy ponzaning while having a great sit-down dining experience, whether with friends, a birthday, or maybe a dinner date.
Toque de Sal Chamberí
Address: Calle de Ponzano, 46
Tel.: 914 26 64 65
Metro: Alonso Cano (Line 7)