Madrid, you never cease to amaze me. There’s no shortage of restaurants in this city; however, I am a true believer in quality over quantity. Every dining experience won’t be perfect, but when I’m spending my hard-earned euros, and setting aside time out of my day, I think it’s more than fair to have certain standards and expectations. I expect friendly and knowledgeable staff, ambiance and fresh food for a reasonable price. I’m so pleased to say that my dining experience at Slow Mex, a new restaurant on Calle San Vicente Ferrer, was absolute perfection. Usually, I say “This is the best Mexican/Indian/Tex-Mex/Thai food I’ve had in Madrid”. What can I say, I am a fan of the superlative. I’m saying flat out: this was one of the best all around dining experiences, that I’ve had not just in Madrid, but in Spain. I’ll tell you why, and by the end of this article, you’ll be on your way to dining Nirvana.
Decor: I love an open layout. The windows were open, there was air circulating, and primo people watching. I appreciate this because if I wanted to eat in a cave, I’m sure that would be an option. Natural lighting is important. The tables were large, and wooden and had a very rustic “Cabin in the Woods” feel minus all the crazy. When I went to the restroom (read: I’m nosey) I saw the chef! I suppose I imagined that most kitchens were run by tiny garden gnomes with iphones and giant microwaves. To my absolute delight, I saw two people cooking real food, and it made my heart smile to know that my meal was being prepared fresh, and made-to-order by actual people.
Staff: Marc, you’re the real MVP. Unfortunately, after 5 years in Spain, I have very low expectations of customer service; however, our waiter broke the mold and deserves a slow clap. Too bad I was way too busy with the fork (Ok, so I didn’t actually use any utensils, but you get the idea) to mouth motion to present him with the shiny trophy he deserves. He greeted us like he actually liked his job and wanted to be there. +15. He explained the menu and answered all our questions. +20. He made recommendations on both food and drink pairings from experience, not just shooting in the dark. +20. He didn’t rush us, over-sell, or hover awkwardly. +30.
He kept the chips and salsas coming. +1 trillion. Mmm, chips.
Food: I don’t like fish, generally. There’s something about a living thing that doesn’t blink, I simply can’t trust them. But, again, Marc being the dope waiter he was, hypnotized me and boom: I’m eating fish tacos. First off, I scoffed at the idea of 3 tacos satiating the ginormous hunger monster that lives inside me, but I left truly satisfied.
The fish was fried perfectly: crunchy, flavorful, and fresh. The pickled cabbage complemented the fish and the yogurt and mint sauce added that creamy kick that set the dish off completely. It was a party in my mouth.
We also ordered the stuffed jalapeños. Guys, they tasted like real jalapeños!!! There was lava-like cheese inside, contained only by their perfect batter. I may or may not have done a happy dance a few times. Our table also ordered the pork and chicken burritos. The whole concept is that things are cooked slowly, and as a result are bursting with flavor. The pork and the boneless chicken are marinated for days, and it shows. There’s a fridge with more brands of beer than I could count. As I know nothing about beer at all, I just marveled at the pretty bottles. I do know that some of the beer is locally produced, and everyone who ordered it at our table was extremely content.
The entire experience was so positive from the layers of flavor, to laughing with friends, and engaging with our waiter, that I can't wait to return. The food tasted clean and light. Although the portions were massive (good looking out!), nothing about the meal felt heavy or processed. Since the ingredients were fresh, there was no need at all to overcompensate with heavy sauces to mask the lack of quality. The food will speak for itself. For less than 20 euros, you can eat like a Queen or King and be transported to foodie heaven where every aspect of the meal-- from start to finish--is working towards a flavorful climax.
Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.