Calle Ponzano is one of the city’s most treasured local hangout spots. Situated in Chamberí, it belongs to a handful of Madrid streets that are lined with great bars and restaurants, together with La Cava Baja, Corredera Bajo de San Pablo and La Calle Pez, just to name a few. In addition to the old-school bars de toda la vida, it seems as though a new eatery opens up on Calle Ponzano every week, and I’m slowly making my way through all of them! So far I’ve been to Sala la Despiece, Bar Lambuzo and Taberna Alipio Ramos. Plus Naked contributor, Kate, has also just written about restaurant Toque de Sal.
Now here comes Naked’s fifth discovery along Ponzano: Casa Picsa, an Argentine restaurant specializing in pizzas made in a wood-fired oven with local and seasonal ingredients. I went with my friends Vanessa (who writes Las mesas de Vanessa, another foodie blog you’ve got to follow), Juan and James.
In true Ponzano form, Casa Picsa has a down-to-earth and comfortable ambience. I’d say it’s on the pricier side, but they serve some of the best pizzas I’ve had in Madrid, with high quality ingredients and great service, too. The décor is modern and simple, with a spacious bar and a small seating area.
To start, Casa Picsa offers small appetizers to share: mezzos from around the world with a Porteño touch, as stated on their menu. They’re only meant to whet your appetite, as the real deal is the pizza. As we were a party of four, the waiters recommended we order just a few mezzos and save room for the main attraction. So we went with their homemade Paté Picsa and Porotos en vinagre (organic beans in a vinaigrette). Both were delicious.
The pizza menu is separated into two sections: “old school” and “new school.” They cost €20-25 each and are meant to be shared between two people; and trust me, they’re big enough. Each pie has eight slices, or “servings of happiness,” overflowing with succulent ingredients. Plus you can order two kinds per pie; that way you get to try two in one! *You can also order gluten-free pizzas made with a chickpea based dough.
We followed our waiter’s advice and ordered two pies and four different kinds of pizza. We had the Papada de cerdo ibérico y alcachofas (Iberian ham and artichokes); Pato e higos (duck and fig); Butifarra negra (Catalan black sausage) and Chorizo criollo y grills (Creole chorizo with turnip greens). My favorite was the ham and artichoke one; the rest of the table said the winner went to the butifarra. They were all delicious, though. And as we walked out of the restaurant and looked at the mouthwatering pies on other patrons’ tables, we knew we’d have to go back to try the rest!
After our main course, we were contentedly stuffed and more than happy to end our night sans sweets. But the waiter managed to convince us to get dessert and we gave in to the Chocolate cake with dulce de leche ice cream. How could you possibly resist that? It was insanely good (sorry we forgot to take a photo of it!)