Of all the cities that I visited on my trip, Seville had by far the worst food. It was actually so bad, that we resorted to eating the plate garnishes—hence the title of this post, “No Garnish Left Behind.” As a result of our negative food experiences, I can’t really make a recommendation as to where you should go, but I CAN tell you one place NOT to go. I repeat, NOT to go. It is called Les Coloniales and if you Google search restaurants in Madrid, it will appear near the top of almost every list. It was featured on Hostel World, Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, and even recommended in the corner of our city map. The food was horrendous though (save the warm goat cheese toasts with honey, which are impossible to screw up!) Everything else was a culinary disaster though. I ordered a greek salad and it was served with gobs of mayo that made it inedible. The fried zucchini bites were so flavorless and unrecognizable that we had to ask the waiter to remind us what the order was. The spinach croquettes were cold in the center and the filling was entirely too thin and runny in texture. Even the bread basket wasn’t tempting, with a few slices of crusty and hardened baguette peaking out from a folded napkin. The only saving grace at Les Coloniales was the cheap house white wine, and there wasn’t even enough of that to go around to help excuse the abominable food.
I can say with confidence that we gave this place a fair try too, because we ruled out the possibility of having ordered the wrong thing. After receiving our first plates, we thought that this may have been the case and so we ordered up a new round of food, hoping that it would be better. It was NOT. Everything just got worse and the bill got more expensive….a horrible inverse relationship. Ariana and I concluded at the end of the meal that this place must survive strictly on an ever-changing clientele of tourists that resort to Google as a means of finding good food. We ruled out locals and repeat customers as a potential source of income…simply because who would WANT to go back?
But the next morning when we asked our local hostel receptionist for a good restaurant recommendation, she told us none other than Les Colonials. Ariana and I gave each other a puzzled look and decided to play it safe and cook that night. We made a large green salad topped with oven-roasted vegetables, chicken and penne pasta in a lemon white-wine sauce, and a fresh tomato salad with onions and garlic.
Tomato salad is huge in Spain, and I decided to imitate a recipe that I had tried while in Madrid. I sliced down 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, and tossed it with half of a chopped Spanish onion, two cloves of minced garlic, some kosher salt, and red wine vinegar and olive oil. It sounds really simple (and it is) but it tastes delicious….just make sure you don’t have a date after eating it because the garlic lingers.