It might be in a nondescript residential area, a bit of a trek from the heart of the city, and in the basement of a rather unglamorous three-star hotel, but El Chaflan is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the Madrid. Chef Juan Pablo Felipe was the 2001 winner of Spain’s National Prize for Gastronomy and specialises in cooking that isn’t influenced by the current vogue for Asian fusions.
Instead, he sticks to his Castillean roots with dishes such as chickpeas and chestnuts in ham soup and vegetable stew. The food is surprisingly light, so you’ll still have room to try what El Chaflan is most famous for – its cheese board. Five different Spanish cheeses are laid out on a square plate, along with a variety of items, such as mini-biscuits and nuts, with which they are meant to be eaten.
Unsurprisingly, this unique, stunning presentation of cheeses has won the restaurant awards. The spacious interior, painted in a pale silvery green, feels rather clinical by day but acquires a softer, more intimate atmosphere at night. It’s definitely worth the taxi fare.