Who ever said that you have to sacrifice taste and flavor just to have healthy food was crazy! There are restaurants popping up all over the city that combine healthy dishes and don’t skimp on the sabor. This restaurant is directly off of the Plaza de Cascorro and sits on the corner parallel to El Malacatín. It caught our eye because of the open layout and minimalist decor. The great price for the menú del día also a huge selling point. We decided to take advantage of the great Madrid weather and go for lunch there.
The first thing to catch our attention was Saspy, the giant, cuddly and friendly dog sprawled across the floor. Although he looks intimidating, it was apparent from the beginning that he’s gentle and well, pretty lazy too. The menu has a variety of healthy dishes ranging from beet and mushroom risotto with fresh parmesan, perrito de butifarra trufada de ternera, and even pear salad with gorgonzola and honey mustard. All that being said, we opted for the menú del día in hopes of getting the most bang for our buck.
There’s one thing to note about the menu at La China Mandarina: it’s not your typical menú because unlike in other restaurants, everything is served at the same time. What we mean is that there are no courses, per say, but one cohesive, and delicious plato combinado. One of the reasons La China Mandarina’s menu stood out is because it’s fantastic for people who are in the middle of their workday, who want to have a healthy, but flavorful lunch, but don’t have 3 hours to spend at the restaurant like the typical, more traditional Spanish lunch time.
We started with the salmorejo or cold, creamy tomato based soup traditional in Andalusia. We also tried the pear and goat cheese salad with rocket! Sublime! It was the perfect portion size, to be honest: not too big, and not too small. The soup went perfectly with the crusty bread they served as well. There were two options for a side: rice, or arroz salteado, or couscous with raisins. One of each, please! The rice was cooked to perfection and the raisins added the touch of sweet that every couscous should have! As for the main course, again, there we two options: trozos de pollo empanados or merluza con patatas a la huancaína pr simply put: hake fish with potatoes in a delicious cream sauce.
The star of the show, naturally, were the homemade natillas or custard. They were served in cute little tea cups with a María biscuit on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon! We can’t stress enough that this is the type of restaurant tailored to workers who want a sit-down lunch, but cannot spend 4 hours at a lunch date in the middle of the day. The meal is served at once like a plato combinado instead of one course at a time. The natural light, open windows, free wi-fi and floor plan make this new gem in La Latina a place to add to your list of favorites.