This pinxtos and tapas bar which shares the name of Spanish artist José de Espronceda, from the first half of the XIX century is situated on the Santa Isabel street. This street has become one of the most typical Spanish tapas streets in Madrid because of it’s variety of tapas and reasonable prices.
What are pinxtos? Easy, a slice of bread with something on top. Well, at the heart of it. The concept has evolved throughout the years and some don’t have toppings; some are cold, but there are also hot pinxtos.
Upon arrival you’ll see the enormous U-shaped metallic bar which is extremely typical in Madrid with all the pinxtos on display. It’s a wonderful way to take full advantage of the space in the locale, but more importantly to show off the wide variety of pinxtos offered. The decoration is eclectic with furniture that looks like it’s been picked up off of the street that will take way back to XIX century: desks, tables, chairs, an interesting trunk and other furniture that at first glance may seem chaotic, but in reality adds to the charm.
What to Order at the Musa de Espronceda
Before ordering, you should probably take a look around the whole bar and enjoy the rainbow of awesome food that they have on display because you eat pinxtos first with your eyes, then with your stomach. It’s like the gastronomy version of love at first sight. When you see the pinxto for you, you’ll know. There’s all types of pinxtos, including ones that are vegetarian friendly. If you’re not sure what a pinxto contains, don’t worry, it’s not always obvious. Just ask the waiters and they’ll explain everything! Either way, there’s a huge blackboard on each side of the bar that lists the available pinxtos.
We recommend the tortilla even though we know it’s classic. We also recommend the rollo de carne con salsa boloñesa con cebollita frita, chicken curry, and stuffed tortilla with vegetables and mayo, which is extremely typical in the North of Spain. Can’t forget the croquetón, you’ll know why it’s called that when you see it, with spinach; the bambi, a mini sandwich made with venison; the goat’s cheese with fresh tomato and fried eggplant.
Even though the pinxtos are tasty, you cannot go to La Musa de Espronceda without trying their huevos rotos with ham. They are without a doubt one of the best you’ll try in Madrid. With its tender ham, perfectly friend potatoes and delicious runny eggs. The presentation alone will make your mouth water!
In terms of drinks, try a beer fresh from the barrel, or a refreshing glass of white or red wine depending on what you order. Maybe it’s best to decide what you’re eating first, then choose a drink. We recommend Albariño, which is a white wine with an intense fruity flavor, medium to low acidity and very fresh. It’s typical of Galicia. It’s delicious! We also recommend the Verdejo which is drier, and has a higher acidity level.
With three pinxtos you’ll be more than satisfied. In fact if there’s only 2 of you we suggest that you order four for the first round, and then see if you’d like a second round afterwards. It’s true that some of them easily fall apart, but when sharing pinxtos, that’s part of the fun. If you manage to share pinxtos all while they remain intact, let us know, take a photo and we’ll even give you prize. Just a head’s up, we don’t really think you should go there on your first date because some are pretty tricky to eat, and you may not give your very best first impression 🙂
It’s also a great starter bar to have a couple of pinxtos and a beer before moving on to one of the numerous other tapas spots on Calle Santa Isabel.
What about price?
It’s about the same as a trip to the movies! 4 to 6 pinxtos and a couple of beers or glasses of wine will run you around 15€ a person. Reasonable, right?
When is the best time to go?
From Monday till Thursday they have less pinxtos out on display, but on the weekends, there’s greater variety. Keep in mind, however, that on the weekends it’s usually full of people and the customer service drops a bit. If you’re going to go on the weekends, it’s probably better to reserve a table in the interior part of the restaurant because getting a seat otherwise might be difficult. Either way, sitting at the bar or eating while standing is also a good idea, and very, very Spanish.
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