Restaurante Vinoteca Garcia de la Navarra 

I should declare a lack of objectivity here – I have known these guys for years and this feels a bit like writing a review of my own second home. Nevertheless, this blog was always going to be incomplete without a shout out to one of Madrid’s best places: Restaurante Vinoteca Garcia de la Navarra (and the Taberna de Pedro next door).

It has a quite superb wine list, reputedly 7,000 wines long (I have not counted them) and you can not only find almost anything, you will probably find it at a good price too. As for sherries, just check out the list of wines by the glass above. A really great selection, covering all bases (manzanilla, fino, oloroso, palo cortado, and amontillado) and price points and some absolute gems: how many restaurants offer 100 point Parker wines by the glass? But it is not just the wine list, Luis Garcia de la Navarra, maitre de, sommelier and all around master of ceremonies was for a long time the President of the Madrid Sommeliers Association, he knows just about everything and everybody, is a great sommelier and a great bloke. You can leave him to choose the wines and be entertained, delighted and occasionally intrigued by the results.

Quite apart from the wine, though, the food is magnificent. The big boss – Pedro Garcia de la Navarra – is another great bloke and, more importantly, a genius who could convert anything you have in the cupboard into something you would (should) cross the city for, and with the first class product he has well (often on display), I am not nearly qualified to describe it. Really cracking old school cooking: menestra de verduras, callos, pisto (with a fried egg or two), guisantes, borrajas, pollo en pepitoria, and my personal favourite, the lengua (stewed veal tongue – you will not believe how good it is). Classic old dishes that are beautifully cooked – and again, you can often just leave yourself at Pedro’s mercy.

Finally, the service is first class and at the same time really professional and genuinely friendly (I have known some of the staff for going on 10 years and they nevertheless still seem glad to see me).

All in all, really a great place, and particularly for (sherry) wine-lovers.

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