Mildly Dissapointing Despite Good Variety
Posted on 10 / 18 / 2010
This will the first place recommended to you when you ask for vegetarian cuisine in Madrid. I've had take out at the Huertas location before, but yesterday was my first foray to the sit-down restaraunt in La Latina.
This is a self service restaraunt where you pay by weight, it is 2.5 euro for 100 grams. I am pretty sure (but not certain) that the weight includes the plate you use. My wife had a heaping plate for 13 euro, while I had a modest plate for 9. Drinks are garishly overpriced: my small bottle of grape juice (child sized) was euro 2.50. The excuse is organic ingredients, but that really should only apply to the beer and wine, not the juice and water.
There are two bars of food that are each about the size of a normal salad bar in the US (say, Bertuccis). The main selling point of the joint is variety, which is delivered in spades. To name a few obvious ones, there were 4 quiches, 4 styles of croquettes, several lasagnas, california/thai/sushi rolls, nicely mixed paella, and a variety of straight vegetable plates. There should have been veggie burgers but they were not forthcoming with replacing the empty plate. All in, you probably have 40 main dishes to choose from. There were about 15 to 20 desserts, mostly cakes and pies. You are not likely to find this level of vegetarian variety anywhere else in the city.
But, alas, the dissapointing part. The food was overall good, but only very mildly seasoned so often on the bland side. The temperature on the dishes that should have been hot was off, so most (maybe all) the food was lukewarm upon serving. Restocking of the good stuff was spotty. And it will be pretty much impossible to dine for less than 9 euro - 11 if you buy a drink. My opinion was that was a bit steep for self service buffett in this part of town. You are clearly paying for the variety.
The staff is friendly, the decor is nice, and the place is clean and has wifi. It gets a bit smokey downstairs. They do a good job of getting empty plates off the table. I wished they shut the ugly aseos.
So the verdict? If you have a group that all wants different stuff (especially if some are vegans), and you want a casual dining experience rather than service, and are going to order water for your drink, then this is one of the top choices in town. But if you don't need a zillion choices and want a reliably hot veg meal at a reasonable price, you're better off at one of the nearby veg places with sit down service.
Great Variety, Lots of Vegan, Good food overall
A bit pricey, Lukewarm "hot" dishes, Overpriced drinks