We were attracted to the Malacatin restaurant by its storybook-illustration entrance. The trompe-l’œil painting on the external wall provided a preview of the charming interior of this restaurant with a 100-year history. The story of how this traditional restaurant came into being is retold on their website (link below). We did not know any of that when we decided to eat at the restaurant. It was purely the interesting look and atmosphere of the place that led to us trying traditional chickpea stew (cocido madrileño) at Restaurante Malacatin in Madrid.
The interior of Malacatin was small, dark and cosy. The bottom half of the walls were lined with the bright Spanish style ceramic tiles. The higher part of the walls were covered with posters and other paraphernalia celebrating bullfighting. A group of regulars hung around the bar counter, chatting with each other and the proprietor.
Then it was time for us to order. The menu was in Spanish which we are hopeless at. The restaurant folks spoke a bit of English so it was mostly down to sign language and basic vocabulary in both languages. A brochure was produced which showed a feast presented on a table. We made enough gestures to ensure that we only wanted to try something small and light.
In the end we managed to order two small beers, some bread and what we believed to be a small sampling dish.
This was the dish – cocido madrilene. It is a small dish but tightly packed with chickpeas, cabbage, pork, blood sausage, chorizo and other ingredients that we cannot identify. The ingredients can more clearly seen after we transferred the contents onto plates. The taste of this chickpea stew was very good and surprisingly familiar. It had the taste of our local braised pork and chap chye (mixed vegetables). It was more than enough to feed two people.
One more pleasant surprise came at the end of the meal. The cost of this dish? A very reasonable 5 euros! Total cost of the meal was less than 9 euros.
Restaurante Malacatin is located in the La Latina sector of Madrid. A less touristy area of Central Madrid but where that are interesting shops and restaurants. It was in this neighbourhood that we saw one of the most beautiful cathedral domes in our whole trip to Spain – the Basilica of San Francisco (see pictures below), around 15 minutes walk from Malacatin. Free admission.
C\ Ruda Nº 5 (junto Cascorro)
Tel. 913 65 52 41