I have a long history with Indian restaurants in Madrid, mostly unsatisfying. On my very first trip to Spain, they were something of a refuge, one of the few kinds of places where a 19-year-old American girl might feel comfortable eating by herself (Chinese restaurants filled the same function; other foreigners, I figured would be less likely than Spaniards to wonder at the social worth of a person clearly so unpopular as to be unable to find someone to eat with her). But the food was never very good.
That changed when Geoff introduced me to Annapurna, a very upscale restaurant near Alonso Martínez. Annapurna is credited with being the first place to introduce upscale madrileños to upscale Indian cuisine. It's easy to see why they would like it: very heavy on the cream, nothing very spicy, lots of hushed, subservient waiters. But servings are small, prices high, and there were far too many people in business suits smoking cigars. Plus, both times I've been there, the hostess was rude.
For awhile we used to go out to Mombai Masala on Recoletos after yoga. Decor: Raj fantasy, food: decent, prices: high. Isn't the whole point of Indian that it's good and cheap?
So I'm happy to say that last week we found our perfect Indian restaurant: Anarkoli. Just opened, on a street that already has a string of Indian places. Warm, not terribly Indian-looking decor, nice waitresses, reasonable prices. And the food is excellent. The samosas are light, flaky, and dusted with chile-salt mix. Saag aloo still has its distinct components; the spinach bright green, with a few tomatoes thrown in for color, the sauce rich but not greasy. And the butter chicken--all white meat, nothing to leave you worrying about what parts you're eating-- was just plain delicious.
Anarkoli: c/Lavapies, 46