Back in 2007 when I first visited Madrid, my initial dining experience in the Spanish capital was at La Musa, providing a tantalising introduction to the city's culinary scene. On that Saturday night in January, the Malasaña branch of the trendy tapas joint was buzzing with young punters enjoying mouthwatering dishes such as sizzling barbecued mixed grills and the classic fried green tomatoes topped with goat's cheese.
Three years on and resident in the Spanish capital, I'm still a big fan of La Musa and its tomatoes. The perfect antidote to an overdose on ensaladilla rusa and tortilla de patatas, La Musa offers creative tapas-style dishes from around the world, from twists on Spanish classics to guacamole you pulverise yourself to stir fries (La Latina branch only). The 'garden salad' (€5.75) is a delight of frilly lettuce leaves, sprouted seeds, sesame oil and flower petals. Yes, flower petals. More meaty delights include the now rather overpriced barbecue platter (€16) and wild boar with honey and ali oli (€5.75). Traditional tapas such as mejillones en escabeche also feature, but the memorable menu items are the more creative ones.
Both the mini Malasaña and larger La Latina branches are bustling places, especially as the night wears on and more mojitos are ordered. On weekdays, La Musa Latina is now open for breakfast, expanding from being a purveyor of nocturnal nourishment into the daytime market. With its terraza on Plaza de la Paja, it's ideally located for a bit of al fresco refreshment at any time of day. Both branches also serve an €11 lunchtime menu del dia during the week. But if you want a share of the atmosphere that made La Musa famous along with your tomatoes, visit in the evening for the full experience.
- La Musa is located on Calle Manuela Malasaña 18 (metro San Bernardo or Bilbao). La Musa Latina is at Costanilla de San Andres 12 (metro La Latina).