In the neighborhood of Las Salesas in Madrid we find Rita & Champagne, a flirtatious bistro run by Alain de Cárdenas and Shaily Romero, Cubans by birth but who have opted to offer a letter of Mediterranean air. They have recently renewed their menu, maintaining the commitment to pamper the quality of the product, with fantastic pizzas and small creative touches.
The newly renovated menu, without sinning to be too wide, offers varied options for all tastes, in which the Mediterranean presence with international notes. The offer is completed by a daily quality menu that changes every day and a cocktail bar where the refreshing champagne mojito stands out.
Cozy space, modern and elegant decoration with vintage touches
Next to Santa Barbara Square Orellana Street is located, where we find the restaurant that after two years of walking has seen how the gastronomic offer around it has been revitalized, being today a neighborhood with very interesting proposals. A beautiful facade invites you to pass the threshold behind which the visitor is a cozy hall whose stairs lead to the upper floor, where the restaurant opens.
The first thing that attracts attention is the striking set of glasses that hang on the stairs and advance the decorative style of the entire restaurant. Work of Patria Galdón, Rita & Champagne combines airs of Modern bistro with Mediterranean vintage touches, creating a cozy space, nothing ornate, dotted with original details.
The furniture combines different tables and chairs but well integrated, with rustic wooden tables and more designer chairs. Vintage furniture that seems taken from French Provence coexists with details such as the illuminated panel of one of the walls where 'Rita' is read, an old fireplace or art pieces by Cuban authors.
The restaurant is divided into several spaces, the dining room with tables of different sizes, well separated from each other, a bar area next to which there are high tables and stools for more casual meals, and a reserved room with capacity for up to 12 people. Also, behind the bar you can see the impressive Vesuvius volcanic stone furnace which guarantees top-notch pizzas.
Market cuisine pampering the product
The recent change of letter of Rita & Champagne wants to continue betting on a seasonal cuisine considering the season, with dishes without artifice but adding the personal touch of the chef. The letter is not very wide, which I always appreciate because personally I despair the kilometer lists, but varied and trying to satisfy all tastes. Mediterranean airs prevail with international diving, without ever losing sight of the native Cuba of their owners.
Services start with a Appetizer of the house It usually consists of a shot of seasonal vegetable cream. The bread service is accompanied by a spicy oil made by them from extra virgin olive oil of good quality, with a deep aroma that is perceived just by opening the bottle.
In the entrees, ideal for sharing, we find the always grateful croquettes, in this case of Iberian ham and Manchego cheese with quince, carpaccio of buttered fish with tartufada, vegetable strudel with brie or smoked burrata. Two fish options, tartar and Tuna tataki with seaweed salad, and some more among the meats, with options such as the Iberian secret or the creamy carrot stuffed chicken with avocado.
One of the big bets has been the menu of the day, that view the concurrence of workers in the area at lunchtime is being a success. Every day a different menu is offered for € 12.90, with two dishes and dessert, but with the idea of moving away from the typical daily menu. They are dishes prepared at the time, with fresh and well presented products. Broken eggs, veal wok with vegetables, quiches, fish curry, risottos, pasta or traditional stews are some examples of what can be found in Rita's menu.
Pizza and champagne house emblem
Rita & Champagne is much more than pizzas and champagne, but there is no doubt that they remain the emblems of the house. In the first stage they focused a lot on this concept of the pairing between the Italian dish and the French bubbles, and although they have now opened the kitchen, it is still one of the attractions of the restaurant. Not surprisingly, his name is a tribute to Queen Margarita, who is supposed to be the first to combine both products.
There are many who claim that their pizzas are one of the best in Madrid, and certainly worth it. The secret is actually obvious: the ingredients, the recipe and the oven. It was not easy to convince the Neapolitans to install one of their exclusive volcanic stone wood furnaces on the premises, but the investment was worth it. With a recipe for traditional dough and Italian ingredients, the mass of their pizzas is delightful, thin, tasty and light.
Tartufine is the most famous and rightly so. This is a pizza with tomato and mozzarella base covered with a black truffle cream, sprinkled with semi-dry tomato, arugula and the touch of its spicy oil. Tasty combination, without the truffle monopolizing too much prominence, with the explosion of flavor offered by dried tomato snacks. It can be accompanied by a glass of champagne adding € 4.50 to € 14
Among the desserts there is some light option such as very cold yogurt, other more typical ones like carrot or chocolate cake, but I recommend trying the "torrejas, do not torrijas". It is a reinterpretation of the cook of our torrijas, with a firm dough cut into sticks nothing cloying accompanied by Baileys cream and a delicious panacotta ice cream.
We must also highlight the quality of coffee, prepared with the gourmet variety of Segafredo in the Italian way, in a very short format, and the cocktails prepared by the barman at the bar. The most famous of the place could not be other than the champagne mojito, very soft and fresh.
Rita & Champagne seems to have succeeded with the changes introduced in recent months, with a most versatile kitchen, a cozy and close atmosphere, and more restrained prices. Both to eat well at noon and for a pleasant evening at night, it is a great option to go as a couple or with more company, and definitely a must for pizza lovers.
Rita & Champagne Restaurant
Orellana Street, nº 1
28004, MadridPhone 917 024 234
Average price 25/40 euros with champagne