Have you ever been in a hurry to get to work, and you realize that you haven’t eaten lunch yet? That’s when your inner voice kicks in: should I eat something delicious and be late for work, or grab something quick and be on time. We at Mad 4 Madrid really do love our job, and we do our work that much better on a full stomach! Having a healthy, quick and affordable lunch doesn’t have to be so complicated.
This week, we found ourselves in a rush and decided to review two quick options for lunch in the Chueca neighborhoods, seeing as that’s where our offices are located. The idea was to spend less than 15 euros and less than 15 minutes waiting for the food. Not everyone has time to sit down to a menú del día, so having some delicious fast food, that’s not so fast, is always a great plan b.
Restaurant number 1: Wok to Walk on Calle Hortaleza
This is a chain of fast food Asian-style noodle and rice dishes. The allure is that the food is made-to-order and the cook prepares the meal right in front of you with a steaming hot wok. There’s a variety of fresh vegetables ranging from shitake mushrooms to spinach to corn. There’s also beef, chicken, pork and prawns to add for a bit of substance. You can choose between wheat, rice, udon and egg noodles as well as from an array of sauces from teriyaki to curry to peanut. The price is right: 4,95 for the noodles; however, each extra ingredient is an extra ,50 to 1,50 so if you’re not careful, you can end up with a bill higher than expected. We tried the wheat noodles with spinach and broccoli and peanut sauce. Our bill was around 6 euros and we were quite full afterwards. The food comes ready to take away in a traditional take-out container and they also provide cutlery. It’s a bit unfortunate that each ingredient costs extra, but when in a pinch, you can eat for as low as 4,95 euros.
Restaurant number 2: Motto Chueca Italian Restaurant on Calle Infantas
The ambience of this tiny restaurant is much more relaxing and homey than Wok to Walk and you can tell immediately which one is a franchise. Motto screams “This is my Italian Grandma’s Kitchen” whereas Wok is more “boom, boom, bang, sizzle, next!” Motto offers a menu for 8,95 euros that includes pasta, drink and dessert, and one for 9,95 that includes pizza (3 ingredients) drink and dessert, a more economical one for 7,90 that includes a salad, drink and dessert. It is important to note that the pastas included in the menu are not the specialty pastas. The pasta options are all on display in a glass case, and they make it for you straight away. Instead of the traditional menu route, we opted for the pasta stuffed with pear and cheese. Similarly to Wok to Walk, you can also choose your sauce, and since it was Friday we went nuts: Gorgonzola sauce. The pasta was fantastic and cooked to perfection and the wait time was only 10 minutes maximum. We were stuffed and satisfied and made it to the office with plenty of time.
The verdict: For three euro more, we would opt for Motto Italian Restaurant every time. The quality of the ingredients as well as the endless combinations and flavors make that choice much more appealing. The cheap menu is also a bonus. It is possible to eat an affordable and quick lunch in the Chueca neighborhood. These are our favorites, where do you head when you need to grab a bite in a hurry?