Basque restaurant in Madrid - El pimiento Verde
A few months ago I went exploring with my friend Stefy who was new to Madrid and hungry.
We wanted to investigate a Korean Japanese restaurant in Argulles, unfortunately it was booked until later that evening, so instead, her having asked me my favourite type of food to eat in Madrid, to which I had answered Spanish food, we went to a place nearby that my wife had mentioned.
She’d been to one in Barrio salamanca 5 years ago but had never managed to get back. The place is called El pimiento Verde, they now have at least 4 restaurants in Madrid and are basque. I can see why they’ve expanded, the food is really good. You sit on wooden benches around a table, we were the only non spanish in there I would say, nice atmosphere.
I’m not a big fan of artichoke, quite often in Spain they barbecue them and serve them and i find them a bit chewy.
As they are the speciality of this place I thought we would give them a go, they must be good right? Right I was, the artichokes had a fair bit of flavour and practically melted in the mouth, crazy for something I thought previously was dull and hard. I don’t know how they managed to do it, looks like they had been at least grilled ad some of the edges were burnt and then maybe boiled but I can’t be sure, they had then had oil and salt drizzled and sprinkled on. Would definitely came back , for this plate alone!
Second dish to arrive was the fried squid, battered as you can see in the photo. Again, a quality bit of squid, meaty and al dente, lime mayo was nice to have on the side to dip the pieces into. It was a half portion.
Third dish to arrive was the cod fish tortilla. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to get with this one, especially as it said in the menu “como en las sidrerias vascas” (just like in a basque cider house).
Looking more like a large french omelette than the traditional tortilla de patatas, we were surprised at how juicy and flavoursome it was, the quality of the ingredients was obvious, the egg yolks were very yellow the cod was well balanced and didn’t overpower the dish and they’d used sweet onions that were really juicy sweet and flavoursome.
Would definitely recommend this tortilla even though it’s more french than spanish (I guess that’s what happens in the basque country as it’s in France and Spain!). again this was a half portion so we could try more dishes. It’s what the waitress suggested.
The final dish we had ordered was the Rabo de toro (oxtail stew with red wine sauce) and it was the one I was most looking forward to initially. Well the portion was huge, would be a complete meal for one person on it’s own for sure!
It was good, is it the best rabo de toro I’ve had? I’m not sure but it was really good, meat came off the bone easily and you got that gelatin stickiness in your mouth when you were eating. The sauce was really flavoursome and rich.
We were quite full after all that, Stefy now knows why I like Spanish food too! We had a look at the dessert menu but, as is often the case with Spanish restaurants, the desserts are a bit uninspiring and besides, we were in Arguelles and there was a new Italian Gelato place to try out (Biolee)!
This place has ground floor and an upstairs, bar, toilets and kitchen are downstairs. Toilets were fine.
On the service front they might have had one young temp working with them and she was a bit abrupt and pulled a face when one of our group ordered a jarra de aqua, luckily when the rest of us ordered beer she livened up a bit. She was also asking us at the end why we didn’t order dessert as if her bonus was dependent on it or something, anyway it turned out ok and the rest of the staff were great and helpful. I’ll definitely be going back, especially as I’ve noticed they have a restaurant near my work too (I wondered if if they did menu del dia but when I checked they didn’t ). A friend of mine went here a few days after me and complained the actual bacalao dish they have is too salty. Maybe something to bare in mind if you're thinking of going.
El pimiento Verde
Calle Quintana, 1, 28008 Madrid
Just off Calle Princesa, metro Arguelles.
Dishes ordered and eaten
Artichoke flowers / Flores de Alcachofa
Fried squid with mayo / Rabas de calamar
Tortilla de bacalao / cod fish omelette
Oxtail stew with red wine and potatoes / rabo de toro estofado al vino tinto
No dessert, free liqueur to finish off. Service charge included nice bread and some tasty cheese in oil with balsamic vinegar. Bill came to 66€ for 3 people so 22€ each.
Link here to the menu for the prices