From tastebud-tingling Szechuan hot pot to the restaurant dubbed the “best Chinese in Spain”, we take a look at the best Chinese restaurants to visit the next time you’re in Madrid.
Bar, Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
This temple to all things Bruce Lee is a palace of kitch and its food packs a serious flavour punch. Kung Fu specialises in cuisine from the Guizhou region south of Szechuan, a traditionally poor area that is off most tourists’ radar. The cuisine is spicy and authentic, as evidenced by the large number of Chinese residents in Madrid who eat here. There are several vegetarian options on the menu and prices are very reasonable.
A bargain option just off Gran Vía, Nihao specialises in spicy Szechuan cuisine, which is characterised by the use of the Szechuan pepper. Nihao’s large dining area is usually full of Chinese people – always a good sign. Try its hot pot – a huge pot split in half, one half containing a spicy soup and the other a less spicy soup, that sits on a flame and bubbles at the table. Diners add different ingredients to the soups, from fish and meat to an array of vegetables before tucking into the delicious concoction.
This stylish Chinese and Asian restaurant fuses eastern flavours with Spanish ingredients to create an interesting mix of inventive dishes. It specialises in lamian, a type of Chinese noodle that is often served in a broth. The restaurant is far-removed from the no frills Chinese locales common in the area around Plaza de España; decor is trendy and sleek. Dishes include the tongue-in-cheek named Jackie Chan is not Bruce Lee, that consists of oxtail in a rich broth of Szechuan peppers and miso.
Located in the stylish barrio of Salamanca, Yue Lai specialises in Szechuan cuisine, specifically the famous hot pot. A big pot of soup is brought to the table and diners add their own ingredients before sharing it out between them. You can choose between spicy or non-spicy hot pots and between different ingredients, such as duck, chicken, seafood or vegetables. It is a great sharing dish and an authentic taste of one of China’s most famous regional flavours.
This cool little restaurant, in the heart of Malasaña is a great place to sample some authentic Chinese dim sum, a style of Chinese cuisine prepared in bite sized portions. Try the xiaolongbao, a soup dumpling that originated in Shanghai. Toy Panda also does a good range of baos, steamed buns filled with different ingredients.
Named after Shanghai’s famous waterfront, El Bund adds a touch of 1930s glamour to the city’s Chinese restaurant scene. Decor is luxurious and the entire restaurant is filled with beautiful traditional Chinese touches. The restaurant has a good range of Chinese cuisine, from traditional dim sum and tea to examples of dishes from several regions across China, including Cantonese, Szechuan and Peking.
If you fancy getting off the beaten track, then Royal Cantonés in the neighbourhood of Usera, across the river from the centre of Madrid, does great, authentic Chinese cuisine. The neighbourhood itself is one of the most Chinese in the city, and many Chinese residents eat at Royal Cantonés. Spanish newspaper El País has even pondered if the restaurant could be the “best Chinese in Spain”. It specialises in Cantonese food and its menu is an interesting mixture of well-known favourites and more creative local cuisine.