Emma y Julia, and Italian Restaurants in Madrid

Eating out & Madrid Restaurants, La Latina

by Niels Klok

My friend has studied Italian, lived and interned in Italy, contributed to Italian dictionaries, and had an Italian boyfriend. Not surprisingly, he is just as infamous for his criticism of and pickiness about food as the Italians — Italian food, that is. When he selected an Italian restaurant (“even the handwriting on the menu is Italian, I recognize it!”) I was scared.

Italian food is not just a pizza or pasta with a load of tomato sauce. There are written and unwritten rules as to what qualifies as “true Italian”, and the slightest pinch of god-knows-what can make or break good relations. Emma y Julia, in the heart of La Latina, gets it right. It is run by an Italian family (perhaps the name refers to the daughters, serving the plates with a smile?) and the mama simply oozes Naples. The interior is rustic, the tables are small, the wines are good, and the food is fresh and simple – as it should be (there is quite a bit of should to Italian food; be that as it may, the mushroom tagliatelle is simply to die for!) There is true Italian coffee, served in true Italian style – Emma and Julia know the nearest Italian equivalent to every Spanish request (again, subtle differences, but they make all the difference). And should you want an even more intimate atmosphere, there are more tables in odd corners downstairs.

As we said goodbye to the family in a mixture of Italian, Spanish, Dutch and English (there are only so many languages you can use in one night without mixing them up), I looked at my friend and saw intense happiness. That was really all the proof I needed.

Tel: 913 661 023. Metro: La Latina. Calle de Cava Baja, 19. See map below:

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Comment from Andrew
Date: May 1, 2008, 11:07 pm

I just came back from this restaurant and have to say I’m a bit dissapointed. My friend had the seafood salad which was really dissapointing to the point we sent it back. The marisco was helado, which I don’t think is acceptable whatsoever and the waitress had the cheek to say she could bring us another…with fresh fish. I told the waitress i dont think its acceptable to use frozen seafood and she took it off the bill, so that was ok.

I had a pizza and my Italian friend had the carbonara which we both enjoyed.

Things must have changed since this review because all the waitresses were either Spanish or Filipino and the chef looked Asian. Not much Italian authenticity or family to be found I’m afraid.

I do have high expectations because: a) My nan is from Naples, b) Italian cooking is *not* hard, c) It was a bit pricey.

I had a much nicer Italian meal in Madrilia (Calle Clavel, 6). Fabulous tiramasu!

Comment from ben
Date: May 2, 2008, 12:10 pm

Hi Andrew, thanks for the report. We will have to check the restaurant out again as well, and I guess take the review down.