During our four-day holiday in Madrid, Casa Lucas (another guide book recommendation) was probably the priciest place we went to. Not necessarily because it was wildly overpriced, but because the exchange rate from Pound to Euro was so abysmal. Two dishes plus a rather nice bottle of wine set us back just under €50, but the food was delicious, the wine was beautiful and the atmosphere was lovely. One thing I found it very hard to get used to was the absence of a smoking ban in Madrid, which in some places was very noticeable, but in here was more or less confined to the bar area and didn’t bother us at the back of the restaurant.
Unlike many of the restaurants we went to, Casa Lucas has an English version of their menu. This was immensely useful for two reasons: firstly because our waitress didn’t speak any English at all and secondly because the menu isn’t your bog-standard tapas menu, so our menu decoder booklet was rendered useless. If I could offer just one tip for English tourists visiting Spain, it would be to master some basic Spanish before you go!
After deciding that everything on the menu sounded delicious, after much umm-ing and ahh-ing we went for the Scallop Ensalada and Octopus Carpaccio with Paprika-Smashed Potatoes (which was absolutely divine – my personal favourite dish of the holiday). We also decided to opt for a bottle of wine from their fine wine list – well, if you’re going to push the boat out, then you may as well go the whole hog! We chose the Pagodel Vicario 2006 (a Cabernet and Rioja blend) which was fantastic and well worth its €20.
Situated on the fabulous Cava Baja, a road packed from start to finish with lovely little independent restaurants, Casa Lucas is in a fabulous and easily accessible location that encapsulates the atmosphere of Old Madrid perfectly.