by Niels Klok
Not owning a driving license, let alone a car, I was not planning on visiting any underground parking lot until my Asian friend pushed me down a flight of stairs on Plaza de España. The particularly unappealing walkway at the bottom actually leads past a couple of holes in the wall, one of which is an apparently nameless Asian restaurant. Well, restaurant may be an overstatement: let’s call it a take-out with modest sit-down aspirations — it would certainly help if you are short (space is limited among the ten-or-so small tables).
The true appeal becomes clear when you are handed the (bilingual) menu, as you will find out that prices are virtually non-existent here. The back-to-basics list includes plates of tallarines (noodles, pronounced “tayalines” by the staff), fried with egg or drowned in soup, arroz frito (fried rice) and pollo con verduras (chicken with Eastern vegetables), none of which will cost you more than five (!) euros. Especially recommended are the dumplings, to be dipped in soy sauce.
Mind you, you are not expected to linger after dinner (there is usually a line of sorts outside, and the staff will make sure you get the message by asking “¿algo más?” every two minutes); moreover, do not expect anything resembling atmosphere here (unless a muted television set showing karaoke lyrics in Chinese qualifies for you). However, if you are short on cash and want decent Eastern food, it is simply not to be missed. And if you want to try it at home, visit the Chinese supermarket next door for all the necessary ingredients.
“Anonymous” Eastern cafeteria
Metro: Plaza de España. Address: Parking Plaza de España, across from Edifio de España. See map below: