Juana La Loca

Madrid: Juana La Loca

When there’s method in savory madness

Let’s admit it, tapas is hardly ‘the new thing’ anymore. This holy grail finger food that is raised to the high ranks of umami has been around for some years already. There’s tapas bars everywhere, there’s cooking books about tapas... there’s even books about what to drink with it. And yet, it’s our secret desire to find the perfect tapas eatery in one of its mother cities, Madrid. We’re not sure if Juana La Loca is the answer to all culinary prayers, but it’s pretty damn close.

There’s a few key elements that make a tapas gastrobar stand out. First, there’s the tapas, of course. Each small bite needs to deliver an explosion of taste, with distinctive elements that work well together, but not transform the whole thing into one big borsch. Then, there needs to be a good range of tapas, to satisfy your gustatory sense, and make the whole experience shareable. 

Which leads us to the next element: coziness. In the gastropolitans’ view, an ideal tapas gastrobar should be both warm and laidback. Maybe the internalized Danish ‘hygge’ from our hometown got to us, but we do think that besides awesome dishes, a tapas restaurant is all about creating the social crave around it. You basically should want to hang out there with your friends, leaving food aside. You can get some of all of this in hyped food markets like Mercado de San Miguel or Mercado San Antón. Luckily enough, Juana La Loca captures all of it, making it an obvious choice for a lunch or dinner.

And there’s a bonus: their tapas menu is not only delicious, but also creative enough to stay up in the league of modern eateries in this city. From confit eggs with black truffles to baby eels, foie gras and duck ham, there’s enough to keep you busy. If you come around lunch time, be prepared to have to wait to be seated. Or eat your tapas standing at the bar, as many of the locals do.

What you're eating:
Luckily, you don’t have to choose just one dish when you’re having tapas. But you just might fall in love with their signature tortilla de patatas. Some say it’s the best one in town.
What you're drinking:
Pick a glass of one of the many open bottles of local wine in the bar.
The extra mile for:
Bringing an extra kick to a traditional dish that’s already considered an explosion of taste.
“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”
- Orson Welles -