Come one, come all…
Welcome, welcome, to my first tapas bar review. I have been putting off bar reviews since I arrived in Spain. Before I get into my review, I want to talk about the basics of what makes a tapas bar great for me.
First and most important criteria for a good bar is the bartender
I need a friendly bartender. Don’t we all? Ok, I don’t need to pour out my deepest darkest secrets but I do need someone who will chat with me when there aren’t many customers. If my bartender isn’t friendly then when I come in for a caña…or five…on a lonley, cold winter evening, who will console me? (This is where people tell me that I need to make friends) This is all hypothetical, but you never know. I can’t set myself up with “favorite” bars where I can’t even have a nice conversation with the bartender.
Second and sort of third most important things are prices and food!
Well, a really really important part of a tapas bar are the tapas. Obviously. With that said, prices and food really have to be relative. i.e., a caña that is over €2,50, I am probably going to expect a pretty decent tapa to go along with it. No delicious tapa, no deal. Also, with that said for €1, I can deal with potato chips and green olives. However, if the bartender is so nice and the tapa isn’t that great, I probably won’t hate the place.
Third and last criteria for a good bar is location
Location? The thing is, if a bar is in a good location they will get constant foot traffic. I hate this because then they don’t have to have fabulous tapas or fabulous service because new people walk by daily and will walk in. Anyways, I have found that the bars that are the easiest to find, often don’t have great prices or great tapas. The best bars aren’t always the really busy ones on the busiest streets. Thus begins my search for lesser known bars in Madrid that live up to good food and good customer service!
Now, this officially brings me to my review of Pintan Tapas on Galileo 38, Madrid
My roommate and I wanted to go to bar Sierra for lunch but it was closed. Bar Sierra is our “go to” bar even though the bartenders are what my roommate likes to call, “antipaticos”. So, we had to go in search of a different bar for lunch. We searched high and low, ok ok, we only went into two bars to read the menus before we came across Pintan Tapas.
First thoughts, “hamburguesa + patatas”, alright, I suppose we can give it a try. So we went inside and there was only one other customer there. Made me a little nervous because it was Spanish lunchtime and where were all the people? We checked out the menu a little closer, decided it looked good, sat down and then started chatting with the bartender.
Ahhhhh, he chats back. He is winning us over already.
So, being that he was willing to chat with me, I had a few questions. I found out that he is left “sin vasos” (without cups) on any given weekend night and he told us that this bar just opened two months ago. Seems like they are doing pretty well for themselves. While chatting, I am checking the place out. Very green. I asked what color it was before, he said it was beige. Then he said something about green meaning nature and I threw in that green also means money. The other person who was in the bar added that she is going to paint her walls green, it was a joke. I hope. Either way, the green is cheery. I like it.
So, after a few minutes of chatting we ordered. The menu is written on various chalkboards throughout the bar and it changes whenever they change it.
The bartender also said that everything they make is fresh, nothing frozen, so they definitely don’t have a microwave! We ordered patatas bravas (homemade brava sauce), magro estofado (sort of italian beef) and a sandwich mixta con huevo (ham and cheese sandwich with egg).
Everything we ordered was fabulous! The bartender also told us that “tapas caseras” (homemade tapas) come with all drinks! A caña in this bar is €2,20. While we were in the bar, a couple came in and ordered two glasses of wine. They each received a slice of tortilla de patata. The tapa wasn’t big. But here they are going for quality over quantity and it is definitely working for them!
At last, the bartender gave me the rest of my ragro estrofado in a “tupper” and we got the bill.
The total was €11,70.
Nice! For the potatoes, meat (with bread on the side), a sandwich and a coca-cola. I think that was a pretty fabulous price and to be honest, one of the best bars I have been to since I have been living in Madrid. I hope to return here very soon!
Have you been to Pintan Tapas? Did you have the same experience here? What do you think makes a good tapas bar?