MADRID, SPAIN. It’s all about picking a niche. Whether you’re preparing a business plan or picking a career, specializing is the key to success. The gastronomy industry, too, has learned this lesson; after all, restaurants that “specialize” in international cuisine rarely prepare a Spanish gamba just as well as Japanese sashimi.
Finding a restaurant that still bases itself on time-old recipes of one particular dish isn’t all that easy. But in Madrid, it’s possible.
Case in point: Casa Labra. Situated just off the Puerta del Sol, the establishment has provided a temporary refuge from Madrid’s hustle and bustle since 1860. All that time, it’s been serving the same couple of dishes, its specialty being bacalao (cod fish).
No matter whether’s bitter cold or scorching hot, expect a line out the door. Picking up some croquetas (croquettes) or tacos (fried codfish) will require a bit of a wait, but time will yield its reward. Once you reach the counter, you’ll receive your order in a pis-pas, meaning immediately. It’s fast food, Spanish traditional style. Stand amongst the other locals at the bar tables outside, sipping on cañas (beer) and more.
If you don’t want to eat standing up, there’s a comedor (dining salon) inside. Note, however, that prices increase when you sit, sip and nibble. They do so even more if you head to the restaurante, to the right. However, here you can also order a wider variety of dishes, such as a tortilla de bacalao (codfish tortilla).
“Dear client,” reads the Spanish text on the napkins you’ll need to wipe off your greasy (but yummy) fingers, “in the year 1900, there were 1,500 taverns in Madrid, serving a population of 840,000 inhabitants. In Calle Tetuán, there were only three taverns, including Casa Labra. Madrid has rewarded us, and history contemplates us. Today, there is only a dozen or so taverns that still attest to the culture and lifestyle of the past.” Casa Labra is proud to serve as an identifying gastronomic landmarks in the city of Madrid. It welcomes you, too, to try its delicious bacalao.
Calle Tetuán 12
Tel. +34 91 531 00 81
Tavern: 9.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m. 5.30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Restaurant: 1.15 p.m.-3.30 p.m. 8.15 p.m.-10 p.m.