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My Madrid Bites: Bar Casa Dani and Sala De Despiece

June 14, 2017

When in Spain, tapas are a must.  For a more down home experience, we headed to Bar Casa Dani for lunch and for supposedly one of the best tortilla espanola.  Situated in the middle of a busy neighborhood market, Mercado de la Paz, Bar Casa Dani, a family owned bar was a mildly chaotic and authentic experience that one only hopes to find when traveling abroad.

Packed to the gills during lunch time with locals and tourists alike, we knew immediately this was going to be a wonderful experience as we waited patiently for a table and watched plates of delicious food come out of the kitchen. Of course, the tortilla espanola was a must have here.  Runny with creamy butter potatoes in the center, these were some of the best versions of the dish I have had.

A bowl of chilled gazpacho to cool off from our walk all the way from Plaza del Sol.

And another bowl of something a little warmer.

And for main courses, we chose a stuffed pepper with tuna served with golden patata bravas and a wonderfully rich and hearty Madrid style veal tripe stew called callos a la madrilena.  If you like tripe, this was definitely a winner.

We were far from being fluent in Spanish so we completely missed the whole concept of a set menu that changes daily for only 10 euros per person for 3 courses!  What a steal!

For a slightly more modern experience, we headed to the neighborhood of Rios Rosas to check out Sala de Despiece.  This spot came highly recommended by a few travel magazines which made me a bit wary but our delicious meal there completely blew me away.

While most Spaniards would drop by Sala de Despiece for a bite of two and a drink before heading out to dinner, we decided to park ourselves at one of the counter seats the whole night, sampling our way through the extensive menu.  A bag of crisps to munch on while we perused the menu which luckily was also written in English on the back.

Our first dish of course had to be the solomillo de tomata, a signature dish here at Sala de Despiece.  A whole sweet juicy tomato was peeled and marinated in tomato juice, sugar and salt.  Topped with crispy fried basil and some flakes of salt and finished with a drizzle olive oil, this was a simple dish that really lets the fresh ingredient shine through.

Next, we indulged in tiny bites of foie gras and morels with truffles…

while we watched our waiter, dressed in white overcoats, work on our next bite of cured egg yolk wrapped with lightly torched cured pork fat.

The blow torch melted the fatty cured pork over the golden yolk like a silk wrap, a delicious salty savory wrap that is…

The piquillos cured in honey and Hawaiian salt was a refreshing break from the last few rich bites.

But then we moved onto the meatier courses.  The first one up was sirloin tartar, served up in a petri dishes with sauces in pill shaped droplets.  A little delicious DIY science experiment disguised as a meal.

We followed up the beef with these exquisitely charred baby squid with a homemade aioli, tender and tasting of sweet yet salty ocean with a smokey finish.

We moved back onto another beef dish with the carpaccio with more truffles.   The waiter showed us how to make these thinly sliced beef into a tiny bite packed with flavors before we were left to our own devices.  Another yummy fun DIY dish.


And finally, just because we were still a bit hungry, an order of octopus to wrap up the night.  The generous meaty portion of octopus was braised to tender perfection and was topped with chimchurri.  A wonderful end to a night of delectable innovative tapas with a modern twist.

Bar Casa Dani | Calle de Ayala, 28, 28001 Madrid, Spain |

Sala de Despiece | Calle de Ponzano, 11, 28010 Madrid, Spain |

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