There is life beyond Chinese: different exotic in Madrid


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In the world there are 194 countries, but when we want to eat something exotic our mind does not go beyond India, China, Mexico, Italy or Japan.

However, in Madrid there are worthy ambassadors of other types of gastronomy, which are worth knowing and savoring. Ready to travel with the palate?

AL-MOUNIA (Recoletos Street, 5)

Al-Mounia has been offering typical Maghreb dishes for more than 50 years , in a sumptuous palatial atmosphere. Its essentials are tabulé, hummus, cous cous, grilled meat skewers or delicious desserts, such as date mamoul, chocolate chebakia, pestiño or gazelle horn, the almond mass that originated the Spanish marzipan.

But Al-Mounia is much more and also proposes less assiduous dishes of Madrid tablecloths such as Pastella farci - a puff pastry with chicken and almonds -, the baked lamb shoulder, the tajines of different meats (there are also fish from the day) or Harira soup.

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Tabulé, hummus, cous cous … you won't know which one to decide! © Al-Mounia

GONDER (Grafal Street, 8)

We are still in the African continent, but we change countries and travel to Ethiopia. In Gonder we find many stews of vegetables or meat served in the injera, a kind of crepe made with cereal - gluten-free - teff (the dough is left to ferment then it is thrown in a source of flat and round mud previously heated).

Almost all the dishes on the menu are spicy, the best? You eat everything with your hands!

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In Gonder they serve quality Ethiopian food and eat with your hands! © Gonder

BANIBANOO MADRID (Conceptionist Martyrs Street, 19)

One of the best places in Madrid to push the tooth into Iranian cuisine is undoubtedly this restaurant, run by Bani, a 'young lady' (banoo in Iranian) who has been in Spain for 10 years.

Rice, sweet potato, hummus, as well as the colorful and healthy toast make up the menu of this place very cozy and full of light, thanks to the large window that overlooks the street.

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If you like Iranian food, Banibanoo is your place © Banibanoo

LA FALAFERÍA (Calle Santa Barbara, 4)

After the success of the Hummusería, the Istraelites Lotem and Shai have opened in the Madrid capital this other place, of clear vegetarian inspiration and that revolves around the falafel and pita bread.

We can choose to choose the Sabij (crispy eggplant, hard boiled egg, hummus and salad), the Falafel (falafel, hummus and salad) or the vegan Shawarma (mushroom shawarma, seitan, almonds and raisins with tahini and salad) and each of The three proposals can be accompanied by a pickled vegetable salad that can be customized.

La Falafería

Long live pita bread! © The Falafería

KEYAAN'S (Blasco de Garay Street, 10)

We continue with another street food proposal, this time coming from the Dominican Republic. Its star dish is homemade Dominican pie stuffed with chicken or veal and cheese or chicken or veal and vegetables, among many other options, also sweet.

Also, it is worth trying the cassava rolls stuffed with Gouda cheese, the quipes (wheat balls stuffed with cheese, chicken or veal) or the sausages (sausages wrapped in tasty dough).

And for pairing, we recommend ordering a natural juice or a 'Die Dreaming' (orange juice or passion fruit with evaporated milk).


Keyaan's: delicious Dominican food in street food version © Keyaan's

PERIPLO (Modesto la Fuente Street, 4)

Despite its proximity, Greece is another great unknown - gastronomically speaking. Therefore, the owners of Periplo have decided to move to Madrid, in the heart of the Chamberí neighborhood and a few meters from Ponzano Street, a Thessaloniki tavern.

Among the dishes that can be tasted, we highlight the tsatsiki (yogurt with Greek oil and fresh dill), the tarama (cod roe sauce), the spanacópita (pie with village dough, spinach and feta cheese) the spetsofai (typical dish from Pélion, with Greek sausage, peppers and eggplants), strapatsáda (Greek omelette, scrambled eggs with onion, tomato pepper and feta cheese), scordalià (Greek allioli) or rox (typical sweet with cinnamon, syrup and nuts ).

And don't forget to finish the racomelo (40 degree Greek pomace hot with honey and cinnamon)!

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Periplo: a Greek tavern in the heart of Chamberí © Periplo

IZARIYA (Zurbano Street, 63)

Also in Chamberí is the first restaurant in Madrid specializing in Kaiseki cuisine, that is to say the vegetarian food that is usually served in the Japanese tea ceremony, which is accompanied with sake and consists of very careful small portions.

From the decoration to the arrangement of the dishes, everything counts. Everything is served in trays and there are no tablecloths.

In Kaiseki cuisine, each menu varies almost every day, depending on what the market offers and the freshness of the ingredients.

In Izariya there are different menus day and night, whose price ranges from 25 euros at noon to 100 euros from the gourmands tasting menu for dinner.

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The Japanese tea ceremony is accompanied by Kaikesi cuisine in Izariya © Izariya