When a restaurant claims to have the best tortilla in Madrid, does it have the goods to back it up? At José Luis, the answer is an emphatic yes, oh yes.
This chain of restaurants is a Madrid institution that every Madrileño should try at least once. And they're not lying about the tortilla. It's a must.
Serving up traditional Spanish dishes and devoted to its craftsmanship, José Luis is known for delivering high quality cuisine without fuss. Its 'emblem' is the pincho - a specialty from the Basque region that José Luis introduced to Madrid way back in 1957.
The list of toppings that can be stacked on a fresh slice of crusty bread is long, and each one of them has its own special characteristic. For us, it's the creamy tortilla and fresh hake every time. And these pinchos are so good, the restaurant boasts it doesn't need a public relations department — their pinchos do that on their own.
José Luis, the restaurant, can only be fully appreciated by knowing its late founder, José Luis, the man. By all accounts, he was a tireless worker who devoted his life to producing quality food and growing his business, which now includes 20 restaurants, a hotel, a catering school and 400 employees.
He came from humble beginnings, shining shoes 'for a peseta' in Bilbao at the age of 13, and opened his first restaurant — a brewery — in Madrid in 1957. This venue became a star of Madrid's restaurant scene, frequented by 'writers, artists, relevant social world, politicians, bankers and people of the serene or exciting professions'. And the story doesn't stop there, José was self taught, which makes his success all the more remarkable.
José Luis offers up a breadth of traditional dishes done right. There's the oozing croquettes with foie and truffle, fresh squid Andalucian-style (dipped in flour then fried in very hot olive oil) and hearty picadillo soup.
The Spanish tortilla is their most popular dish though. And how they finish this classic fried dish of layered creamy eggs and potatoes is a trade secret.
Lay the tortilla onto fresh, crusty bread and you have one of their signature pinchos. Combine it with other hot pinchos like Iberian sirloin with melting brie, or the sweet chorizo with spicy and creamy mahonesa sriracha for the Pan Gua Bao. Sub on some cold skewers like the earthy and salty mushroom roe, and you have the best of Basque with a bit of flair.
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