at the Hotel Ritz Madrid
Chef Javier Aldea offers refined Spanish regional cuisine
Book your room or suite at the Hotel Ritz Madrid
Article added on August 7, 2003
The Hotel Ritz Madrid has two restaurants. The informal one is on the garden terrace, where chef Ramon Dimanuel (*1956 in Jaén, Andalusia) offers Mediterranean cuisine. The terrace has a grill, paellas are served, etc. The more formal dining place is the Goya Restaurant, which extends to the upper floor of the terrace. In a more formal atmosphere, refined cuisine from the different Spanish regions is served.
About six to eight times a year since the early 1990s, the Hotel Ritz Madrid invites regional Spanish chefs to Madrid in order to present and promote their dishes. These events are publicized in advance and people flock to the Goya Restaurant for them. The objective of the Castilian chef of the Goya, Javier Aldea, born 1956 in Ávila, a town north of Madrid, is to look over the shoulder of the regional chefs in order to take the best Spanish regional cuisine has to offer and then refine it. The traditional cuisine with its old recipes should not get lost. According to food and beverage manager Pedro Cañas, Javier Aldea hopes in the long run to elevate the level of Spanish cuisine, following its neighbor and culinary leader France.
Ramon Dimanuel has been working at the Ritz since about 1975/76. Previously, he has cooked under Paul Bocuse and Martín Berasategui. Javier Aldea has previously worked with Juan Marí Arzak in San Sebastian, one of only four Spanish chefs in 2003 decorated with four Michelin stars.
The restaurants, terrace and garden are popular wedding places for the Madrid society. When I stayed at the Ritz, two weddings took place the same evening. This is possible because the hotel has two separate entrances and two big rooms to host such events. Article by Louis Gerber
A dinner at the Goya Restaurant
For dinner, the waiter recommended a Castillo Peralada 2002, a white Chardonnay from Empordà, a region along the sun-drenched Costa Brava. Elegant and floral, it made an excellent companion for the dishes to come.
The starter was a combination of two typical dishes from opposite ends of Spain. Pan con tomate, slices of toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomato, is from Barcelona, where it is called “pa amb tomàquet”. The olive oil used to garnish it, Capricho Andaluz, was of prime quality, the best I have ever tasted! This was accompanied by thin slices of the best of the country’s famous cured hams: jamón de Jabugo. The buttery taste of this delicacy from the southern region of Andalusia is unmistakable.
The first dish was a column of various greens crowned with pieces of lobster à l’Armoricaine. It was followed by hake with very colorful dried vegetables and a vinaigrette sauce.
One of the highlights of the meal was the filet (solomillo), which was garnished with asparagus, onion, mushroom, and a thin slice of foie gras. It was especially tender and left a lasting impression.
It was difficult to choose from the wide selection on the dessert cart; I opted for a slice of apple pie. The raspberry and plum slices on the top made for a nice touch.
Overall, I found the food to be very good - though I wouldn’t rate it as excellent - and the service was efficient. Reviewed by Michael Borop in July 2003
A vegetarian dinner at the Goya Restaurant
On a hot summer evening, a gazpacho, a traditional cold tomato soup from the south of Spain, is always a good idea. According to your taste, you can add small sliced pieces of red and green pepper, onion, cucumber and bred crumbs to the gazpacho.
A dish with asparagus, potatoes and morels (colmenillas) was next. With the exception of the morels, it was not on the gourmet level - and that includes the heavy sauce too. The following vegetable risotto with mushrooms was better in taste and seasoning.
The best part of the dinner came with the desserts at the end. The tiramisù was light, airy, the best in my life and the highlight of the evening. The mousse au chocolat was delicious, the strawberry gel rich and the apple pie not dry at all, as so often is the case. The orange sorbet at the very end was delicate. It did not leave a bitter aftertaste at all, as often happens with sorbets.
It was a fine dinner, but overall average for such an outstanding hotel. The warm summer terrace and, above all, the tiramisù and the orange sorbet reconciled the gourmet critic. Reviewed by Louis Gerber in July 2003
Terrace and Garden of the Hotel Ritz Madrid. Behind the
ground floor windows as well as on the terrace is the
Goya Restaurant. Photograph copyright: Hotel Ritz Madrid.
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