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La Cesta de Recoletos, Madrid

10 Calle de Recoletos
Tel: 34 911 400 696
view web site ›'s insider take:

After spending years together working for the late chef Santi Santamaría, the maître d', sommelier, and chef at Santceloni struck out on their own with the idea of opening a less expensive, more casual venue that would serve as a spot for anything from a quick drink or light snack to a full-blown meal. Set midway between Plaza Colón and Plaza de Cibeles on Calle Recoletos, La Cesta is a blend of modern and traditional design, with huge luminous panels covering one wall and original wood-framed windows along the other. The menu features a series of raciones (small dishes), with choices such as oxtail ravioli and creamy rice with red shrimp, pumpkin, and carrots. You'll probably need to order three of these to make a meal, and with the tortilla priced at $16, some are also a little overpriced. But La Cesta makes up for this in the quality of its ingredients, the interesting mix of flavors, and the relaxed, cool vibe of the dining room. For a bit of culinary drama, there's a high table with stools in back overlooking the kitchen.—Guy Fiorita

Open Mondays through Thursdays 1 to 4:30 pm and 8:30 pm to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 4:30 pm and 8:30 pm to 12:30 am.

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