It is well known that Spaniards can be quite territorial, a fact often reflected in the country’s deep regionalism (would this happen in the U.S, it would be like having people who consider themselves to be more Mississippian and Oregonian than American!). Well guess what, it ain´t so different when it comes to cafes and restaurants: people pride themselves in hanging around their neighborhood’s café and eating ¨the usual¨ in their familiar restaurants. This at least is what characterizes Cervesia and its adjoined associate El Caldero, which stand a couple of minutes away from the Menendez Pelayo metro and about a ten minute walk from Atocha Renfe. One a café and the other a proper restaurant, they are neat but informal neighborhood hang out places where people get their coffee, breakfast and hot meals. Don´t worry if you’re not from the area though—you´ll still be allowed in.
Cervesia is a small and simple place made for being visited in the morning. The coffee is excellent, the service polite, the newspaper selection noteworthy and more importantly breakfast is very cheap. The best options of this last point is the combos, all of which come included with coffee and orange juice: the classic for 2.10 euros (toast with olive oil and fresh cut tomato bits), the Spaniard for 2.30 (tortilla Española and toast), the American for 3.50 (eggs, bacon and toast), the light meal for 3.50 (turkey, cream cheese and toast), the mix meal also fro 3.50 (mixed sandwich or croissant) and the cervesia meal for 3.80 (half a baguette with your choice of filling).Breakfast is not the only thing served, for Cervesia is open—without interruption—from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. Thus, a variety of baguettes, sandwiches, soups and salads, all placed between a 2.50 and 6.50 euro price range, are also available. A day´s special, for instance, may include sautéed mushrooms, pan cooked squid and a goat cheese and vinaigrette salad.
If you are up for more serious dining, El Caldero offers truly superb Spanish food—the main specialty being paellas—as well as wine. A perfect place for sharing this flavorful rice dish with three or five more friends; the paellas can be made with yellow or black rice and can come with seafood, chicken, mushrooms and vegetables. Of course, a selection of the most celebrated greasy tapas—smoked ham, bloody sausages, eggs and potatoes, traditional patties—is never missing. Paellas for three to four people are between 37 and 47 euros while ones for five to six people cost between 52 and 72 euros, tapas range from 7 to 9 euros (there are however fixed menus that serve a variety of dishes for around 30 euros). The wide selection of wines ranges from 10 to 26 euros.
Whether you live close or far to these two locals, they are well worth a visit. If moving your feet isn´t your thing, El Caldero has delivery service that brings you steamy paellas to your doorstep in half-an-hour.
El Caldero / Cervesia
Travesia de Tellez 2 / Calle de Tellez 18 (they are next to each other)
91 501 28 28 / 91 551 41 07
Metro: Menendez Pelayo or Pacifico
Cervesia – everyday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
El Caldero – Mondays through Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
By Daniel Sznajderman
To go to the main Food and Tapas page click here