The Spanish take their rice seriously; a popular British chef caused an emotional (and hilarious) reaction from the Press here, when he dared to include chorizo in his paella recipe – not a traditional ingredient. Although Madrid isn’t the home of paella, it’s everybody’s fav Spanish food, and on the must-try list when you’re visiting. When it’s good, it is pretty unbeatable, but the difficulty can be in finding a good one away from the coast.
My favourite place for rice is Mano a Mano – it’s never let me down in all the years I’ve been going there. Go there when you’re not in a hurry; get the full experience, and settle down for a long “sobremesa”. This word isn’t easily translated, but it refers to the long leisurely lunches that can last 3 to 6 hours. Paella is cooked to order, so be patient; good things are worth waiting for.
They have a large selection of rices to choose from, such as the cod, cauliflower and artichoke combo which is incredible. There is also an excellent veggie one, and various soupy rices called “caldosos”, that come in little cauldrons. I went there on my birthday this year, (not for the first time), and we had the delicious croquetas, which I can really recommend. Their desserts are excellent too, especially the fruit lasagne, made with crunchy layers of flaky pastry, sandwiched together with crème pat and fresh fruit.
Best of all, there is a wonderful terraza; just bliss on a summer evening.