January 11, 2010

la Palma 60, Bar de Tapas. Best of Madrid

I am almost reluctant to mention this tapas place, given that I am so very taken with it and that it is not very big and I am afraid that it will become impossible to find a table.
However, I do believe that restaurants and bars that go out of their way to serve up a great product in a pleasant setting do actually DESERVE to be mentioned, and of course, I do believe in Karma.
Palma 60 is the latest establishment to strike and hold my fancy, and I really like it, a lot. Located on Calle Palma (60) on the Conde Duque side of San Bernardo, this corner bar/restaurant is almost entirely taken up by a long curving bar that extends all the way to the back of the space where there is one long communal table that can seat around 12 people comfortably. Otherwise, there are a couple of tall bar tables and then comfortable stools along the length of the rest of the bar.
The decor is simple and agreeable. Modern and clean, while still retaining a pleasant coziness that can be so hard to find in this illumination-challenged city. White tiles painted brick , marble countertops, wooden chairs and tables, plants!, chalkboards and a glowing red wine fridge that is especially handy for the heat that it gives off on these cold cold winter days.
The place is run by the charming Charo (on the floor) and chef Alberto (in the kitchen), both incredibly friendly and accomodating people who have obviously paid close attention to detail and are delighted to be where they are.
The food can best be described as international, creative raciones that have been molded into a menu that deftly combines some traditional Spanish ingredients and dishes such as chipirones en su tinta, with surprises like pad thai with chicken and shrimp, all for very reasonable prices ranging more or less around the 10 euro mark for dishes intended to share. Some of my favorites are the boletus and truffle risotto, the mini-hamburgers with ruccola and onion confit, the wild mushroom parmesan croquetas, the crispy sun dried tomato cannelones with fresh mozzarella, and the piping hot mini tortilla espaƱola that they give you as a tapa.
The wine list isn´t terribly long, but it is very well thought out and varied, and definitely surpasses anything that you would find in the vincinity. It would be hard to go wrong with any of the wine choices, and I particularily love the mineraly elegance of the Cepas Viejas from Dominio de Tares, D.O. Bierzo. I believe we may (unfortunately for our heads) have drunk all of their bottles of crisp and delicious white Rueda when we were there last Friday night, but I imagine they will have been replenished by now. The cocktails are also a high point. Artfully made with particular high marks going to the gin tonics and rum.
In all, great food and drinks, nice decor and a great ambience that slides effortlessly between an extremely pleasant and civilized restaurant/bar to a great place for an after dinner drink, packed with fashionable thirtysomethings from the barrio and beyond.

la Palma 60
c/la Palma 60, Madrid
91 521 3106

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