CHEF CONCIERGE • September 2018
The culinary wizard behind Madrid’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, DiverXO, David Muñoz is renowned for pushing boundaries with his quirky, ethereal cuisine and immersive dining experience. Here he shares his insider guide to the city
Breakfast spot worth getting up early for
A traditional Spanish omelette or tortilla is a must-try. The tortilla at tropical plant-filled La Primera is superb, toasted on the outside and creamy in the middle. I have mine with a double espresso and an orange juice.
For a lazy weekend brunch
Famed in the 1920s as one of the city’s tertulia bars where literary types and artists gathered, bohemian Café Comercial in Glorieta de Bilbao has been open almost continuously for around 130 years. For brunch, expect everything from eggs Benedict to New York-style pancakes.
Tastiest ‘grab-and-go’ eaterie
Gingerboy (above), for Korean kimchi, Thai-style croquetas and Vietnamese summer rolls. Despite being cheap, the food is sensational. My favourite is the Tom Yam soup, it’s a flavour rollercoaster: a little bit sweet, a little bit acidic, spicy, full of herbs and very light.
Favourite place for churros con chocolate
There are tonnes of places to try the chocolate-dunked, deep-fried dough sticks, but the ones at San Ginés are the real deal. Served here since 1894, in a shop that stays open 24/7, the secret is the chocolate sauce – just the right consistency to cover the dough, but not so thick that it’s overpowering.
Lunch spot to take care of business
The best pasta in Spain is served at trattoria Don Giovanni. Owner Andrea Tumbarello is a charming Italian who takes classic dishes and makes them his own. In his carbonara, there’s no cream in the sauce, just egg yolks, pancetta and parmesan. For dessert don’t miss the milk panna cotta with black truffles.
Where to impress on a date
It might sound like I’m biased, but DiverXO (above) is unique. We keep a lot of what we do secret, but if you come you will experience something out of this world. It’s like stepping into a dream, and the avante-garde menu changes constantly to ensure diners are always surprised.
Foodie souvenir to take home
Joselito for Iberico ham. A mecca for meat lovers, Joselito has been producing acorn-fed ham for six generations, and it’s the best of the best. Renowned for amazing quality, it supplies many of the world’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
Hip foodie hangout where children are welcome
Restaurant Filandón (pictured top of page) is only 10 minutes from the city centre, but, in the woods of El Pardo Mount, it feels like a countryside escape. The food – think squid, sirloin steak and wild asparagus – is grilled over charcoal, and there’s plenty of space for kids to scamper around.
For cocktails with a view
StreetXO (above) is on the top floor of El Cortes Ingles in Salamanca. A generally low-rise area, this is one of the tallest buildings, which means stunning skyline views. The ethos here is liquid cuisine. You might find a Drinking Peking Duck that brings together Mezcal, hoisin syrup, Shaoxing wine, lime and a cucumber soda, or a negroni made with black garlic and blackberries infused with gin, campari, vermouth and Chambord. It’s not quirkiness for the sake of it though – each cocktail is delicious.
Dining experience worth leaving town for
Michelin-starred Montia in picturesque San Lorenzo del Escorial, is around 40km from the centre of Madrid. Clever tasting menus feature dishes made from seasonal produce by supremely talented chefs Daniel Ochoa and Luis Moreno. You never know what you’ll dine on till you get here, but the vegetable dishes are particular highlights.