January 18, 2013 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Madrid, Spain

I think I ate an entire tortilla española last weekend. Yeah. I hadn’t eaten any of the egg-and-potato omelet since my return to Spain after the holidays, and so I really made up for it. Like a lot.

Now I realize you too may be longing for Spain a bit – after all, my blog posts these days have been filled with more about places like India and Morocco than anything to do with Spain. And I think we can both agree that this is pretty tragic. So allow me to beg your forgiveness with a little talk of tortilla and, more importantly, a list of my favorite places in Madrid where you can get your hungry hands on some.

First, let’s address what makes a good tortilla. The most telltale sign of a good or bad Spanish omelet is its juiciness. Almost nothing in the world is worse than a dry tortilla, and anyone serving one as such should immediately be exported from Spain!!!!!!! (Can you tell that I’m passionate about this?)

A distant second to juiciness is the subtle flavor of caramelized onion (mind you, some tortillas are served without onion, which I think is just silly and unreasonable). Other components come into play of course, but for me, these are the main points that — *in my opinion* — tortillas tend to hit or miss.

Enough of that — let’s get down to business. Here I present you with my list of best places in Madrid to get yourself the perfect Spanish tortilla.

1. Wherever my mother-in-law is (LOVE her). I know everyone thinks their Spanish mother or mother-in-law makes the best tortilla, but you’re all wrong ;). Glad that’s settled. Moving on.

2. Juana la Loca in the La Latina neighborhood serves up proper pincho-style tortilla, with its gooey masterpiece delicately balanced on a slice of baguette bread. In terms of flavor, this one ticks all the boxes. The only downside is that the portion is rather small and, while I realize I can simply set my bread aside (like it is often served), I would prefer this tortilla beauty as a stand-alone.

3. Txirmiri has four brag-worthy locations, making it a great go-to in times of tortilla desperation, which can, honestly, strike at any moment. But truly, they may very well have the most reliably delicious Spanish omelet in town. The portion is generous, always juicy, and salted and onion-ed to tortilla perfection.

3. La Ardosa in Malasaña wins for over-all tortilla experience, though. While theirs can occasionally miss the salt-mark (too much or too little), the quintessentially Spanish bar filled with tiled and dusty-bottle-covered walls makes up for anything that its egg creation lacks.

4. My runner-up is Sylkar in the Chamberí neighborhood, which I lived practically next door to for almost a year without even knowing it (thanks, Colleen, for making that discovery!). The juiciness of their omelet is on point, but often lacks that subtle kick of onion that could elevate it to best-tortilla status.

Alright tortilla fans, I set you free to get your tortilla fix, whether making it at home, or hunting it down here in Madrid.

14 comments

14 Responses to “Let’s talk tortilla”

  1. Kara or Standby to Somewhere Says:

    Erin! Now I am sooo hungry for tortilla. Think I may need to make one this weekend. What was the name of the place you took me last summer? That tortilla was amazing. I will say, I started using Lauren of Spanish Sabores’ tortilla recipe and mine are coming out much more juicy now. LOVE!

  2. Erin Says:

    We went to La Ardosa! Hope we’ll get a chance to hit it up again together one of these days ;).

  3. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas Says:

    I was going to have words if you didn’t mention Juana la Loca! Well done, chiki.

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures Says:

    OMG I want to be in Spain right now eating this!!!

  5. Jeff @ Go Travelzing Says:

    I really wish I could get those here. I might have to learn to make them…

  6. Émilie Says:

    Hey Erin!
    I finally decided to write a comment on your wonderful blog …you got me with the tortilla!
    I’m from Paris and I couldn’t agree more with your posts on the bittersweet expat life, the I love spain but still need to find your own identity thing, etc (got married to a madrileño last sept!)
    Anyway, I live few blocks away from Sylkar and it does have a delicious tortilla, Viva spanish food!!!

  7. Cassandra Says:

    Juana La Loca is still on my t-visit list, but I am a huge fan of La Ardosa. In fact, I seem to remember a twitter exchange involving La Ardosa tortilla pics!

  8. Erin Says:

    @Émilie – thanks for stopping by! I’ve been checking out your site, Umami Madrid, and will be following along!

    @Cassandra – a twitter exchange involving La Ardosa sounds about right, especially since that’s what most of my tweets are about. We should meet there for some tortilla sometime and tweet about it ;). Hehe

  9. Michi Says:

    I recently bought over a dozen eggs, and, needless to say there’s been a lot of tortilla española going on around here! D-Man and I miss Spanish food like whoa. He’s starting to Spanishize everything here by putting a huevo frito on top. Brazilian-style black beans on rice? Huevo frito on top. Sheperd’s pie? Huevo frito on top. Homemade deep dish pizza? Huevo frito on top.

    All he’s missing is his jamón, ¡por Dios!

  10. Erin Says:

    I love everything about this, Michi! Hilarious! I will say, those huevos fritos kind of make everything more awesome!! I feel for you!

  11. Cassandra Says:

    Erin–tortilla tweeting sounds awesome, let’s do that one of these days!

  12. Carole Says:

    I love tortilla espanola and you’re right – there’s nothing worse than a dry one. Wondering if you have ever tried a product called Torti-ya! It’s basically tortilla in a jar – just add eggs. Picked it up in Barajas on my way home a few days ago. Have yet to make a batch. I know it’s terribly lazy not to just make the tortilla from scratch, but I could not resist.

  13. Erin Says:

    Oh my gosh, no I HAVE NOT heard of Torti-ya!!! That is hilarious and awesome! You must, must, must whip up your batch and report back here on how it was. I’m dying to know! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Tendelle Says:

    Thanks for this list, will definitely have to check out some of them on my next trip to Madrid! I’ve always known that spaniards take a lot of pride in their tortillas but I was not convinced about tortillas until one day a couple months ago, I had one in Pais Vasco which was nice and creamy inside.. it was absolutely delicious! Now I’ve been on the prawl for best tortillas in Barcelona 🙂

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