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Antojo, Madrid

36 Calle Ferraz
Moncloa Argüelles
Tel: 34 91 547 4046's insider take:

A first glance inside César Rodríguez's sparsely decorated space of only 16 seats hints little at the fact that he is one of Madrid's culinary heartthrobs. Rodríguez has created what feels like a small neighborhood restaurant (his wife, Cristina de Pedro, runs the house with effortless grace), but in contrast to the minimalist interior, the kitchen tends toward more sensory stimulation rather than less, preparing culinary creations that are artfully plated. Tender, expertly grilled sardines are stuffed with crumbs of pan tomaca, ham, and aromatic herbs, while cataplana de secreto de cerdo ibérico y berberechos, an ode to a classic Portuguese country dish, replaces humble cubes of pork with the choicest cut of Spain's choicest pig and substitutes delicate Spanish cockles for clams.

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