La Tasquita de Enfrente was long on my radar since a couple who traveled with us in 2011 reported that they had a fantastic dinner there, highlighted in part by meeting the chef-owner Junajo. Last Wednesday as I was riding the AVE high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid I realized that I would arrive in central Madrid in time for lunch. As soon as I arrived I had the hotel concierge call La Tasquita to book a table, and as luck would have it, there was one small table available. Bingo!
La Tasquita is located in a slightly unsavory part of Madrid just off the Gran Vía, back where the old streets intersect at odd angles. Its location means that we typically send travelers there with a guide or in a taxi because it can be tricky to find and slightly disconcerting if you can't find it right away. An unassuming place from the outside, La Tasquita is both intimate and luxurious inside. I was met and seated by Juanjo himself, who asked if I wanted him to bring me his choice of dishes. Perfect. A waiter was at the table immediately asking me what I wanted to drink. We were off to a good start.
The wine came followed in short order by a succession of courses: Anchovies from Cantabria cleaned by Juanjo himself, beautiful artichokes, Tuna Tartare, Pulpo (octopus) Ceviche, Sting Ray à la meunière with capers, and for dessert the most delicious Panna Cotta.
The quality and freshness of the products and the masterful just-right treatment of the ingredients make La Tasquita a must-go restaurant in Madrid. Chef Juanjo is considering opening a restaurant in NYC in the near future. Should we be so fortunate!
La Tasquita de Enfrente, Calle Ballesta, 6, Madrid, +34-915-325-449
No online reservations. You have to call Juanjo.