Churreria Madrid

$$$$ ($15-$24)

Editorial Review

Since 1973, Churreria Madrid has been satisfying Spanish expatriates' cravings for churros, which are fried-dough spirals, usually coated with a mixture of cinnamon and powdered sugar, and then dunked in cups of hot chocolate. This churreria also provides a variety of other Spanish specialties at reasonable prices.

Located in a nondescript building next to a Ben and Jerry's on Columbia Road, the first thing you notice upon entering the restaurant is a giant bull's head on the wall and the blasting television (from Spain via satellite). Just like in Spain, the staff mingles around the TV and chats about soccer and politics. The downstairs has just a few tables; most of the patrons eat upstairs. The top-floor room is nothing fancy - it's decorated with prints of bullfighting scenes and an assortment of unmatched chairs.

The menu is large, but unless you like fried eggs and rice, this is a tough place to be a vegetarian: Beef rules. The callos a la madrilena contains tripe, pork feet, chorizo and chickpeas. The paella is huge and full of mussels, squid, shrimp, sausage and chicken. The crowd is a mix of Adams-Morgan locals and Spaniards (tourists and expats). The portions are uniformly large, the service is friendly and pitchers of sangria help wash it all down.

-- Neal Becton