I have found my first happy place in Madrid (there is another one coming). It’s an assuming restaurant blocks away from the busy Gran Via, tourists and shoppers. A little side street welcomes you with a steep staircase (brace yourself), at the top of which sits Bahiana Club. Informal hosts dressed casually welcome you. This is definitely bohemian in its laid back, feeling at home style. The bar has a couple of locals chatting away and regulars meet at the terrace tables settling down to some sunshine and good food. And what good food it is.
In its simplicity it delivers. With just three dishes we were blown by their wholesomeness. Good hearty food to line your stomach until the very popular late dining. We began with a plate of sliced potatoes with crisp jamon bits, asparagus choppings, a very faint taste of truffle and a soft fried egg on top, heaven. Then there was freshly prepared delicate coated calamari.
We had to have space for the sliced beef which arrived on a heated plate, still sizzling on a hot board. It arrived medium rare, but you could leave the meat on if you were partial to being a bit more well done, genius. Piled high was a portion of chips and sweet whole shallots.
The feeling you get from Bahiana Club is relaxation. The service is hassle free and goes at your pace. The guys are friendly and will happily chat to you if you engage. The food was great, I loved the taste, the texture and it is affordable. The menu is simple and easy to decipher. It was nice sitting there watching friends stop to embrace guests dining who they knew. It really gives a strong impression of a place when you see regulars and locals. There are so many tourist traps not in Madrid, but anywhere you go. It is good to venture off the beaten track (we happened on this by accident) or read reputable blogs and city round-ups.
The advantage of Bahiana is that as part of your discovery around Madrid, this is a great spot for lunch as it is near the Cathedral and the Royal Palace.
Calle Conde 4