We absolutely adore trying new foods from all over the world – that’s no secret! – in fact, it’s why we started Fooding Madrid in the first place. But we also love Spanish cuisine and La Canica offers it up in a fresh, new way.
They have jamón ibérico, cheese, beef cheek croquettes (that’s where their name comes from: canica = marbles!) and many other things, all with some surprising twists to keep you on your toes with every bite.
There are a few locations, but we chose the one in Tetuán, on calle Infanta Mercedes. The restaurant has been decorated thoughtfully, it’s beautiful even before you walk in. We love the big windows and the red exterior; it reminded us of an elegant Parisian bistro.
The charm of La Canica is in the details – its beautiful lamps, the velvet armchairs – everything right down to the cutlery. We love the atmosphere they have created here.
Lo que probamos:
Burrata con aceite de albahaca
Burrata with basil oil
The burrata was served in a small ceramic cup with a teaspoon which we thought was a cute idea. It was a nice way to start a meal, and gave us a good idea of what to expect next; basil is quite prominent in most of the dishes we tried.
Las canicas del chef
These are the calling card for La Canica. They are crispy beef cheek croquettes, perfectly round (canicas = marbles!) and deliciously rich and creamy on the inside. They’re topped with a pistachio butter and garnished with some crushed pistachio for an extra crunch. These won our Fooding prize for favourite dish!
Setas Shiitake salteadas con ali oli de miel
Sautéed Shiitake mushrooms with a honey alioil
La Canica recommends that you mix this up well before you eat it so that the mushrooms, which are below the honey-alioil foam, get coated properly with all the flavour from the flambéed alioil. It’s fun to see your spoon dig into the foam to mix it up.
This dish surprised and delighted us! We’d never tried mushrooms prepared in this way. The Shiitakes were hearty and earthy, while the honey left a nice, sweet flavour that we thoroughly enjoyed. We do recommend that it to share because it’s a bit heavy for one person.
Canelón de carpaccio de ternera con hierbas aromáticas, parmesano y encurtidos
Beef carpaccio cannelloni de carpaccio with aromatic herbs, parmesan and pickles
Once again, we loved the originality of this dish. We’d never seen a carpaccio prepared or served in this way – all rolled up – but, we found it a bit heavy. Maybe it was too much parmesan, the thickness of the beef or the basil oil. We don’t know. But it was the only plate that we weren’t totally convinced by.
However, we did like how the pickles lightened and freshened up the other heavier elements on the plate.
Arroz ‘entre comillas’ de mantequilla de albahaca y alcachofas fritas
Basil butter “rice” with fried artichoke
All four rices at La Canica are titled “rice” in quotation marks. It’s because they’re not actually rice, they’re pasta – specifically ‘puntalette’, a type of pasta similar to orzo made from semolina flour. They have the same shape as rice (and seem to be fairly trendy right now which is fine by us), but they’re not. So just a head’s up.
That being said, the flavour from the basil butter (again!) is intense and makes the dish quite flavourful. We LOVED the fried artichoke on top. If there had been two or three on top we would have had no problem eating them all.
The little pieces of almond around the side of the dish also gave it added dose of crunch and salt.
Tarta de lima natural
This dessert was AMAZING. When we saw it, we thought it was a bit big but then… we finished it. All of it. Quickly.
For those of you who love key lime pie (us!) you have to try this.
The citrus flavour was really strong, the meringue was light and fluffy and the cookie base – perfect. Really, we couldn’t have asked for a better end to a meal.
And yet, when the waiter recommended an ice-cold shot of Spanish-made vodka, how could we resist?