Underground Parking Lot Cult

Asian Food, Eating out & Madrid Restaurants, Weird : Quirky : Fun

by Niels Klok

Not owning a driving license, let alone a car, I was not planning on visiting any underground parking lot until my Asian friend pushed me down a flight of stairs on Plaza de España. The particularly unappealing walkway at the bottom actually leads past a couple of holes in the wall, one of which is an apparently nameless Asian restaurant. Well, restaurant may be an overstatement: let’s call it a take-out with modest sit-down aspirations — it would certainly help if you are short (space is limited among the ten-or-so small tables).

The true appeal becomes clear when you are handed the (bilingual) menu, as you will find out that prices are virtually non-existent here. The back-to-basics list includes plates of tallarines (noodles, pronounced “tayalines” by the staff), fried with egg or drowned in soup, arroz frito (fried rice) and pollo con verduras (chicken with Eastern vegetables), none of which will cost you more than five (!) euros. Especially recommended are the dumplings, to be dipped in soy sauce.

Mind you, you are not expected to linger after dinner (there is usually a line of sorts outside, and the staff will make sure you get the message by asking “¿algo más?” every two minutes); moreover, do not expect anything resembling atmosphere here (unless a muted television set showing karaoke lyrics in Chinese qualifies for you). However, if you are short on cash and want decent Eastern food, it is simply not to be missed. And if you want to try it at home, visit the Chinese supermarket next door for all the necessary ingredients.

“Anonymous” Eastern cafeteria
Metro: Plaza de España. Address: Parking Plaza de España, across from Edifio de España. See map below:

View Larger Map


Comment from graeme
Date: October 16, 2007, 1:41 pm

Go there outside of Spanish eating hours and you might stand a chance of getting a table, otherwise it’s practically impossible. The thick soupy noodles are excellent though. Not far away, on the Calle San Bernadino are two more cheap Chinese restaurants, including one where they make the noodles on the spot. However, my absolute favourite is Buenaventura in the Plaza Soledad Torres Acosta. A huge menu of cheap, good Northern Chinese cooking washed down with “cañas” that come in pint glasses – what could be better?

Comment from Katie
Date: October 16, 2007, 6:19 pm

Oooh good call! I’d always heard about the underground chinos and I might have to get to that grocery store. Definitely a true Madrid institution!

Pingback from Hard work, love buses, and heavy swearing: this week’s links – Notes from Spain: Travel, Living in Spain, Podcasts, Forum and Photos
Date: October 18, 2007, 3:48 pm

[...] Niels Klok finds the best kept secret cheap eat in Madrid. [...]

Comment from catalunya spain
Date: October 19, 2007, 1:30 pm

Nice one Niels, might have to give this one a try. Great post!