Cafe Madrid: Nibbling toward a broader perspective

Simple olives at Cafe Madrid (Photos by TAYLOR ADAMS)

As Americans, most of us are accustomed to having a full meal. Unless we’re walking over the pavement at the State Fair of Texas, general grazing of different foods at one time just isn’t really our thing.

Luckily, we have restaurants, such as Cafe Madrid, that broaden that perspective of ours.
This quaint dinner spot makes for an ideal place for happy hour.
The deals of reasonably priced, smaller plates are worthy and the house sangria is delicious. It seems every restaurant in San Antonio has almost the perfect house-made sangria, but unfortunately, that’s not the case in North Texas. Cafe Madrid does a good job so that the beverage isn’t overly fruity. It’s still not made with the best wine, but perfectly infused with fruit–none of which takes up half of your glass like it does in other establishments’ rendition of the drink.

Aceitunas fritas

The mixed olives in oil are a simple beginner, one that could be welcomed before any meal. But to take this traditional first taste to a different level, try the aceitunas fritas. Yes, they’re fried. A simple batter surrounds the small tanginess of the olives. The simplicity is overcome by the aoili that lays beneath it.

Albondigas andaluzas

As for the meatier options, the albondigas andaluzas offer a different kind of meatball than you might be used to. These Andalucian meatballs, as they call them, have a hint of saffron. The almond-piquillo sauce that’s beneath it is worth scooping over the meat. The chorizo San Martin comes in a white wine and garlic sauce.

While the sauce is far too greasy to be paired with something as fatty as sausage, the meat itself lends a tender, fresh tasting link of sausage, one that could still use a bit more spice.

But there are still other things fritas you can get. In fact, there’s a nice portion of the menu dedicated to frituras. One of these is, of course, a plate of calamari, one that’s not special and can be skipped for something better, such as the fried cheese and spinach croquettes (croquetas de manchego y espinacas on the menu).


The calamari (foreground) fell short of the simple pair of cheese and spinach fried as a croquette (background)

There’s no wonder it could be a favorite item on the menu. The simple fact that it’s fried cheese has that covered. But the spinach adds an earthiness to it, one that’s subtle enough to give the cheese a prominent role, but helps the batter create something that’s more of a fried delicacy than a fried something-or-other you can find in Fair Park.

Cafe Madrid
Location: 4501 Travis St. in Dallas, 75205, 214-528-1731
Hours: 5 to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 to 12:30 a.m. Friday through Saturday
Price: $$
Ambiance:  Intimate
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepte
Alcohol: Beer and wine


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