Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Eating: Anarkoli

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
91467 6000


Sal DeTraglia said...


Thanks for the tip. I am an Indian food fanatic from my years in Chicago. I will try Anarkoli.

My favorite Indian restaurant in Madrid (by far) was Mey Khana, near the Goya El Corte Ingles. But they moved on to larger digs elsewhere in the city. Their new restaurant (which I haven't yet visited, but am sure is as good as the former) is called Tandoori Station. Check out this link for details: http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/2005/07/29/restaurantes/1122588037.html

The owner's name is Ali (cool dude!), and he's from Australia. He makes an absolutely killer Chicken Vindaloo.


(Note: Mey Khana is still operating under new ownership, but I wasn't impressed on my one and only visit).

Almendro said...

Thanks for the tip, Sal. We'll add Tandoori station to our list of restaurants to try.