One of the most exciting things about living in Madrid is that there seems to be a new shop, bar or restaurant opening up every single day. In order to support local merchants (and/or because we get lazy sometimes), Raul and I are always keen to check out the latest additions to the neighborhood. Recently we discovered a new Latin restaurant on Calle Barquillo in Chueca called La Candelita.
Our first impressions of the place were extremely positive. We had been there before when it used to house El Diablito, and the change is extreme. I cannot even begin to imagine the investment that was necessary to achieve such a drastic and stunning makeover to the large, long space. Decorated in lush, tropical colors with soft lighting and vibrant details, the setting could not be more inviting. The large bar area in the front leads to a sizable dining area in the back with plenty of tables to accommodate both large and small groups.
Upon being seated, we were provided with a drink menu and a food menu, noting that the former was significantly longer than the latter. With its lengthy, creative drink list and its Venezuela-inspired food selection, Raul and I knew we were onto something. Instead of getting entrees, we ultimately decided to share a few of the appetizers (there was a much larger selection of tapas versus main dishes, and they all sounded good). We particularly loved the degustación de arepitas (an assortment of baked cornmeal “pita-like” pockets with various fillings, including black beans and rice, and shredded beef) and the tequeños (loosely translated from the menu by me as rods of white, Venezuelan cheese covered with crunchy pastry dough, aka a sort of Venezuelan mozzarella stick), accompanied by a nice sweet and salty dipping sauce.
Upon reflecting on our meal, we decided we will undoubtedly return (and soon), but given our affinity for copas and tapas, we will likely opt to sit in the bar instead of the main dining area. Since we were more drawn to the starters (and have been known to enjoy a good cocktail now and again), and the bar has such a great vibe, our whole experience could be enhanced from that end of the spectrum. I have also requested one of my Venezuelan friends to try it out and give me the always-appreciated native authenticity verdict, so look out for further feedback on this place down the line.
Calle Barquillo, 30