When you just don’t feel like cooking, and the idea of sitting down in a restaurant and dealing with the crowds is unappealing as well, your next best option is to head out and pick something up. However, in Madrid the take away choices have been slow to develop and your options are limited. Don’t fear because there is always Chinese take-out! This comfort food finds its way into homes night after night because it’s cheap, fast and….delicious!!!
Jia Xiang Xiao Chi (Cafeteria is the name on the sign)
How to find: enter Plaza España in the section closest to the intersection of Gran Via and Cuesta de San Vicente, look for the parking garage entrance marked ´Entrada Peatones´ go down the steps (don’t be scared) and head for the sign marked Cafeteria. For those of you who have been to this establishment there is no doubt you’ve recounted the story to numerous friends, but for those of you who have yet to go, it is one of the things you must do in Madrid (right after Plaza Mayor and El Prado). As you enter the northeast corner of Plaza España, you see a sign for a Parking garage and catch the faint smell of Chinese food. This is not a coincidence, one of Madrid’s best and most well known Chinese restaurants is located in a subterranean bar in a parking garage entrance located in Plaza España. The menu here is a short and sweet list of Chinese classics; noodles in all shapes and sizes, fried rice, dumplings, wonton soup, etc. and with almost everything around 5€, it definitely won’t break the budget. At peak times it is almost impossible to get a table so take-out is the best way to enjoy this place, besides eating underground is a bit depressing. Even if you don’t live near Plaza España, on a nice day grabbing some take-out and finding a place to sit and eat in the Plaza, or walking to the nearby Templo De Debod makes a great way to spend an afternoon.
Central Madrid Locations:
C/ Méndez Álvaro, 72; C/ Doctor Esquerdo, 136; C/ Vírgen de los Peligros, 1; C/ Gran Vía, 73; C/ Gravina, 17; C/ Génova, 27; C/ María de Molina, 50; C/ Alonso Cano, 49
The Wok is a Spanish mini chain of Asian restaurants with many locations throughout Madrid. Normally chain restaurants are something to be avoided; however, The Wok franchise actually does it right, and offers up some tasty pan-Asian food and a take-out option in a city that is limited in both regards. The menu (the take-out menu is slightly smaller) includes starters, salads, rice dishes, noodles and specialties that are all placed within a theme from their corresponding region (Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, etc.). All noodle dishes are a good choice, and come in many different styles with the option of choosing from rice or egg noodles. Other highlights are the fried rice and the starters. The Wok menu is advertised as providing natural and healthy cooking and this is definitely something you can taste in their dishes; quality ingredients bursting with flavor. The carryout service is great! Their prices are around 10€ per main dish, but the portions are filling. With its abundance of locations and an extensive menu The Wok makes a great option next time you want to avoid the kitchen.
EL REY DE TALLARINES
Address: Plaza Conde De Toreno, 2
Hours: 12:00 pm-5:30 pm and 7:30 pm-12:00 am (open until 12:30 am on weekends)
Telephone: 915 426 897
El Rey is another one of Madrid’s most popular spots for Chinese food. The tallarines (Spanish for noodles) are their specialty. Though all of the options are yummy, the tallarines take the cake! Whenever I go I try to make sure one of the dishes I order has noodles in it. What you’ll note in these noodles is their lightness and lack of heavy greasy flavor that can ruin a lo mein dish. The key here is that all the noodles are hand made on site and if you dine-in, or happen to walk in at the right time, you might just happen to catch the noodle masters at work, spinning, twirling, and shaping the noodles in front of your eyes. In addition to the selection of noodles many other Chinese food classics make an appearance on the menu; lemon chicken, dumplings, fried rice, fried ice cream and anything with duck is a winner for me. The carry-out service is super fast and the prices are very reasonable. At El Rey you’ll find some of the best and most authentic Chinese food in the city, and it is a must for any noodle lover out there.
Take out food is obviously determined by location, but next time you’re specifically looking to grab a helping of Chinese take-out these are some of the best options that Madrid offers.
By Coleman File
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