Walking past La Capilla de la Bolsa, you can tell it’s something special. Capilla is the Spanish word for chapel; so you just know it’s gonna be good. Any restaurant residing in a place of history is bound to be full of character, right?
The outside of La Capilla invokes curiosity on an otherwise quiet street. You’ll see a sign for live nightly opera, a porter dressed smartly head to toe in white waiting to usher you in, and an entrance framed with swirly stone carvings and burnished oak overlay. Fancy, intriguing but you’ll still never guess what’s inside!
Since La Capilla de la Bolsa is right in the centre of Madrid (a couple of streets behind the Plaza Mayor) my sister and I used to pass by it all the time, and we always said we’d make sure to visit before the summer was out. As you may have noticed from my last post, Madrid is a mostly casual city, with tapas bars on every corner. So one evening when my little sister sent me a message telling me to wear something pretty and be ready for 7pm, I figured it might just very well be La Capilla night; and it surely was, folks.
Two darn purdy dresses and couple of crisp glasses of cava later and we’re at La Capilla, ready for food, wine, and opera. We were warmly welcomed by that tall porter I was telling y’all about…and even then when he welcomes you inside, the room preceding the dining hall is covered in frosted glass so you can’t sneak a peek from the street or the reservations desk. They love to keep the mystery.
We were then lead to our table in the most incredibly beautiful ballroom which I wasn’t expecting at all. A wonderfully renovated cathedral with beautiful opulent decór, with glistening lights that change every few minutes adding to the wonderful atmosphere.
You then turn around and behind you, high above the tables is a stage overlooking the hall, complete with grand piano. Simply magical. Although this is the main dining room, there are far more to choose from – La Capilla is full of secrets. And sensory delights.
I know, it looks fierce quiet in the photos. We were one of the first diners to arrive that night (it is Spain, after all) with the exception of another couple mid-way through their meal. By the time our main course arrived, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.
We started with delicious little croquettes and yuca chips and warm crusty bread rolls with the greenest olive oil I have ever seen. Our server could tell we were a fan of the bread…we just couldn’t help ourselves. I’m pretty sure he came around to us three times, each time more elated than the last when we agreed to another roll. The little enabler.
Food images are few, as we both ordered the exact same thing. The scallops were very good, the guacamole was perfect. I was really surprised we were served our starters on blue plates, it seemed to almost clash with the aesthetics of the place. But I’m not fussy, it’s not like I’m eating the plate! I’ll allow it.
We both had the fillet steak, a huge hunk of tender meat cooked perfectly, crowned with a layer of garlic butter (the sauce coagulated a little bit which I actually really liked!) served with potato pearls and a very, very delicious carrot puree, and I normally hate carrots. Carrots are the devil’s vegetable. We paired the steak with an Argentinean red which we both really enjoyed. My sister doesn’t normally drink red, but I noticed since arriving in Madrid she’s open to trying new things now more than ever, and with great gusto. I’m proud of her, a real little lady.
While we enjoyed our meal, both male and female tenors walked between our tables, performing solos, sometimes duets. Their voices were beautiful, such amazing talent. In between, a masterful musician tinkled the keys.
On to our dessert, which I loved. My sister had the white chocolate and Marc de Champagne mousse cake and I had the ‘natillas de turrón con crema de chocolate’ which was essentially a wonderfully rich ganache of turrón (a popular Spanish nougat dessert made of almonds, honey, and sugar which is usually served at Christmas) with chocolate ganache on top. I was obsessed. Love at first bite.
We ended our meal with a round of frothy cafe con leches and shots of pacahrán with peanut brittle on the side. For the finishing song, the tenors performed a duet of Nessun Dorma, which was flawless. From start to finish, it was incredibly moving. A frisson triggering delight.
Overall the food was very good, I love a place with a sizeable European menu. We had a full three course meal, wine, water, coffees and it was just over €100, which was excellent. I think our really nice bottle of wine was only €18. If we were to have something similar in Dublin it would definitely cost a great deal more. Worth every penny for the experience alone; it’s always nice to do something special, stand-alone, different.
If you’re thinking of booking La Capilla de la Bolsa, make sure to request La Capilla, the main dining hall. There’s also a brunch option with a very well priced and hearty menu if you can’t make an evening sitting.
I’m back to Madrid in a matter of days, and my parents are following me over for a visit. I plan on taking them during their time here, as I know they’ll simply love it. And you will too!
For more info, click here for the website.
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