Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Madrid: El Maño and the Spain That Once Was

A visit to El Maño is a trip back to the Spain that I saw when I first visited the country, 20 years ago.  A medium-sized restaurant located in an affluent neighborhood near Arturo Soria, El Maño specializes in seafood and meat dishes from the northern region of Aragon. It also brags of its exquisite cocido which is served on Thursdays.

 We went for the lunch menu yesterday, because it is within walking distance of our apartment, and because we have put away our kitchen things, and no longer can cook at home.  We found the restaurant without trouble, located across the street from a school.  It was very quiet.  This is the busiest shopping season of the year in Madrid (as we get close to the coming of the Three Kings on January 6, when children get their presents) and many people spend their lunch time fighting enormous crowds at the department stores and malls.  Apparently, they cannot be two places at once, so they missed out on a great meal.

We started out on burgundy, but soon hit the harder stuff.  No, just fooling around.  I started out with caldo gallego, a great soup, which tasted richly of chorizo, greens and some white beans. Ana had sauteed cardoons with garlic, which were creamy and delicious.  

 Then we shared the skrei.  Skrei is a kind of wild arctic cod.  It was baked with garlic, and it was very good.  It had a very firm flesh and a mild flavor. It was served with baked potatoes that were covered with the sweetest onions and peppers.

Some cake and coffee later, lunch was 23.90 euros for the two of us.

El Maño, Carril del Conde, 65, Madrid


  1. Sounds delicious. Remind me, what are "cardoons"?

  2. Cardoons are stems, related to artichokes. They are so good!