November 3, 2012

Bar Amor: the Spanish bistro at its best

Delicious salad special made with mache, jamón de pato (duck ham) and habitas (baby lima beans).

Bar Amor must have been wondering, "where did all the love go?", and I hope it hasn't kept them up at night.

Every time I go to dinner at this wonderful neighborhood bistro, tucked snugly on a corner in Madrid's epic Malasaña neighborhood, kitty corner from my old apartment - which incidentally was next door to a bar called Diplodocus that served a drink called Brontosaurus Milk -, I fall in love all over again and invariably spend the whole night raving rapturously to anyone who will listen about anything and everything. Then I take a bunch of photos, promise to write about it and then drink too much delicious wine and forget.

Let me rectify this immediately. I love this restaurant. The owners are charming and their place is a wonderfully restored old local that has maintained its original granite block walls and bricks, to which they then added beautiful dark wood and a new, retro tile floor. There is a tiny bar where just a few people can squeeze together and sit in the shade of the giant chalkboard that is covering one wall, and only space for around 20 diners. With its large windows open onto the street in the summer and the cozy warmth and gentle lighting in the winter, it's hard to decide which season is the best at Bar Amor - oh yes, that's right, all of them.

The menu is as equally well thought out and tasteful (or maybe tasty) as the decor, with a good balance between traditional Spanish favorites like croquetas, huevos rotos and salmorejo (all extremely well executed with contemporary touches),

A half order of ham and delicous boletus croquetas - we were feeling indecisive.
and more innovative ideas like the mango ravioli stuffed with foie gras and served with a PX reduction, or last night's special of a Wakame seaweed salad with radishes.

Photo doesn't do justice to the 'ravioli', which are actually thin slices of mango. On a side note, I really hate cutting mangoes.
Then of course there are other dishes that defy pigeonholing and are just well-cooked, honest and delicious. I really love the simple, delectable secreto Ibérico (pork belly) that is perfectly grilled and served with a sort of prune chutney and (on this occasion) sweet potato chips.

Whichever way your fancy floats, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this charming neighborhood restaurant. But should more convincing be needed, I will also mention the frequent use of excellent Spanish foodstuffs, such as anchovies from Cantabria, peppers from Lodosa, Cecina de Leon, etc. as well as the changing selection of locally made microbrews and a fantastically varied and well-priced wine list that contains a special selection of Madrid wines - my favorite of which is almost always the Tagonius Crianza.

Prices range from about 20-30 Euros a person for dinner with wine, dessert and lots of good food. It's tiny, so reservations recommended.

Bar Amor
C/ Manuela Malasaña, 22
Madrid, 28004
91 594 4829


Lee said...

I lived right across the street, at Manuela Malasaña,27 the first 2 1/2 years I was in Madrid, from 89 to 92. It's still one of my favorite streets in Madrid. I don't get up to Malasaña as much anymore (I'm down in Huertas now) but this place looks wonderful and I won't miss it. And Diploducus! That place was a trip. (Hope your leg is better.)

gastronomican said...

Thank you!! It is much better, though I confess that the cobblestone doesn´t help. I lived at Manuela Malasaña 31 but I think it was closer to 99. My friend and I always talked about writing a musical based on the area - not that either one of us is a musician or singer. I think the neighborhood just incites that kind of strong feelings! thanks for your comment!

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