european eating: toga, madrid

Madrid was simply brimming with hidden gems.  Lush restaurants tucked away in dark alleyways.  Innovative and sultry cocktail bars disguised behind sliding doors.  The best pastry shops that the world has ever seen* (*I had ever seen).  And a gorgeous selection of coffee shops were placed on unbeknown street corners, waiting for you to file in.  Madrid had it all cuisine-wise and seriously captured my heart.

If you are looking for one of those special restaurants to blow both you, your taste buds and your mind away while in Madrid, then Toga, situated in Lavapiés, needs to be number one on your hit list. 

The stone-floored restaurant features roughly only thirteen tables, a tiny bar, and an even smaller waiting area – Toga is as intimate as it gets.  Despite it hiding behind a modest taverna-like front and simple interior design, the food and service were simply divine.  We were treated not as English, but as serious customers on a hunt for beer & fine-tasting food. Always a major plus when you are in Spain.

A spinach and goats cheese brochette, alongside a veal offering and complimentary olives, were used to wept our appetites, alongside pints of cheap-as-chips beer.  You cannot ever wrong with penny pints really. Mains took the form of creamy baby squid ink risotto + melt-in-the-mouth medium/rare steak and potatoes.  A stunning affair, complimented with warm smiles and cold drinks.  

Toga comes alive from 9pm onwards, so early birds get your worm… The charm of the place increases with every visit.  I cannot wait to be back.

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