Very good food - service needs work
Posted on 10 / 23 / 2010
Dined there on a Wednesday night at 10pm with 3 Italian friends that are non-veg. I was pleased.
The menu is all veg and there were at least 15 very varied mains to choose. I had seitan served as escalope - veal cutlets. It was definitely the best plate at the table. It had a very rich cheese sauce that had a herbal brie quality (although I don't think it was brie, something sharper). It included boiled potatos and rice on the side, which were admittedly bland on their own but magnificent with the sauce. There were three large cutlets on a big plate - no problems with portion size even as an American.
My wife had paella. I give it an 7 out of 10. The veggies in it were varied and it had soy where there would normally be ham or fish. It was a bit sweet though and lacked some of the savoriness of traditional non-veg paella. The portion was big.
There were crepes, pastas, egg dishes, veggie burgers, and ten or so other possibilities. I felt spoiled for choice. Contrary to some other reviews, I found that the menu went out of its way to label egg, lacto, and gluten free. There were English menus too. The deserts were pretty good - I had an apple fritter that tasted like a funnel cake with stuffing.
The bad part was service. The place closes at midnight (the hours here are wrong for weekdays - it is open noon to midnight). The waitress repeatedly rushed us when it was obvious we were not ready to order, would not serve us coffee after dinner (try telling that to an Italian sometime and just see the reaction you get), and was rushing to take the plates out from under us while others at the table were still eating. This kind of service would be bad even in the US, but is considered absolutely outrageous here in Madrid where dining is a leisurely experience among friends. Not sure I will be able to get my buds to come back even though I really like the food.
A full meal at dinner time with wine or beer will likely cost 25 euro. Mains were between 10 and 14 euro.
You can smoke in the restaraunt and people do. It is dead on weeknights but that did not affect the food quality. Again contrary to some other revies here, it is easy to find. Plaza de Paja will be known by any taxi. It's a 10 min walk from Plaza Mayor.
Overall I give it 7 out of 10. I'd need to try it a few more times to see if the other plates are as good as the escalope. If u want a buffet option, go to viva la vida on the same plaza (but I like that less).
Beaucoup options, Great flavor, big portions
bad service, bit pricey, bland sides