Restaurant Review: La Bola Taberna in Madrid, Spain
It was said that there was an eatery in the corner of the street of la Bola, Madrid in the 1800s. The food joint was small, but even with that, the place always seemed to catch the eyes of workers and students. It was small, alright, but that small eatery’s costumers were big. And most of the time, the small eatery was jam-packed with eager costumers.
Came 1870, and the eyes of a matriarch of a Los Verdasco family were also caught by the street-corner eatery. She seemed to have taken interest on the small eatery, and saw its potential. Eventually the woman from the Los Verdasco family agreed to transform the small eatery into an actual restaurant.
Restaurante La Bola Taberna – In Madrid, An establishment painted in red means they are serving alcoholic beverages
Today, the small eatery—which took the name La Bola Taberna—remains a favorite by not only the local workers and students, but by tourists as well. Although the street in which the restaurant is in has changed its name to Guillermo Rolland Street, the small eatery-transformed-restaurant still remains the La Bola Taberna everyone has loved since the 1800s.
With the same passion for cooking, the same finesse applied to each dish since the 1800s, with its same location in the street corner, and with its bright red walls that are impossible to miss, La Bola Taberna has indeed taken the definition of a “traditional restaurant” to a whole new level.
Inside La Bola Restaurante
With that said, the 145-year old restaurant is always fully booked. With a restaurant this great, there’s no doubt you have to battle your way to get in. It’s internationally known, after all.
I’m glad that I didn’t have to battle my way in, though, because Spain Tourism Board arranged and sponsored the reservation for me! I was reserved a table in perhaps one of the greatest restaurants in the whole of Spain.
Restaurante La Bola in Madrid
I had a short walking tour of Madrid before my booked schedule, and I was able to arrive in the restaurant just in time for my appointment with Mara Verdasco Arevalo, the restaurant’s current manager, and a member of the sixth generation of the Verdasco family who transformed the street-corner eatery into La Bola Taberna back in 1870.
We talked a little and Mara told me about the restaurant’s best-selling dishes, and on top of the list was the Cocido Madrileño. She told me that the Cocido Madrileño has been a costumer favorite even since the 1870s, and I was able to find out for myself the reason why so.
Slowly Cooked Cocido Madrileño
Mara also toured me inside the restaurant and showed me the kitchen where everything was made from scratch. After the short tour, she joined me on my table and taught me how to enjoy Cocido- the Madrileño way.
Bread and Butter
My bowl of Cocido Madrileño was simply superb—it was a stew made of mixed vegetables, mixed meat, and noodles. When I read earlier that La Bola sticks to their centuries-old recipes and cooking style, I learned that that they weren’t joking. The broth of the stew was delicious. You know that meat is cooked slowly in low fire for hours because it shows in the broth. The meat was soft, and the tang of the chorizos made me fully realize why this bowl has been a favorite since the 1870s.
I also got to taste La Bola’s bowl of Callos a la Madrileña. Although the callos is a common stew in Spain, La Bola takes it to a whole new level by adding more passion in preparing the dish. Never have I tasted beef tripe soup this good before. One sip of the broth and I was able to glimpse back into the times when the traditional soup was served on dining tables centuries ago.
Authentic Cocido Recipe
I had Apple Fritter with Ice Cream for dessert, after enjoying my two bowls of the best traditional castillan food I doubt I would be able to get anywhere else.
Aside from the great food, the atmosphere of the restaurant is antique and inviting. The walls of the restaurant were covered in framed works of art depicting Spanish traditions. The dark wood tables and the bright hanging lights were almost like a replica of the old, oak-wood dining tables in Spain in front of cozy fire places. Even the waiters were dressed in traditional clothes.
The waiters can’t speak english straight but I loved it that way, their thick accent made the experience even more authentic.
Entering the restaurant made me travel back in time, and with every sip of the broth bursting with traditional flavors, my journey was completed.
I walked out of the restaurant satisfied, with a smile on my face, just like every other La Bola Taberna customer 145 years ago would.
My Madrid Trip was made possible by Madrid City Tourism Board and Madrid Destino.
La Bola Taberna
Address: Calle Bola, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 915 47 69 30
Monday to Saturday 1:30 – 5:30 pm, 8:30 – 11:00 pm
Sunday 1:30 – 5:30 pm