Tucked away on a narrow street, south of La Latina and west of Lavapies, there is a place. It barely fits the category of "restaurant." Monday through Friday its metal doors are closed and strewn with graffiti. But on the weekends, it comes alive.
El Capricho Extremeño is THE place to go for cheap tostas on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. While there are no menus, no waiters, and no place to sit, it serves up some of the best open-faced sandwiches in Madrid.
The usual options are pulpo de Gallega (Galician Octopus), tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette), bacalao con pimientos (cod with peppers, olives and pickles) ensaladilla russa (potato salad with veggies and chicken/ham), smoked salmon, toasted brie with raspberry marmalade, and of course Jamón Serrano (the very famous Spanish ham!).
If you go on a Sunday, you'll find El Capricho Extremeño situated right in the center of El Rastro Market, Madrid's famous (and busy) open-air flea market. Get in the long line that trails out the door, but don't hesitate. You'll be
placing shouting your order in less than five minutes.
When you enter the door, elbow your way to the counter and take a quick glance at the offerings. Then, when the man shouts in a friendly voice over the crowd while looking at you, shout back and tell him what you want. The sandwiches are cheap, so don't be scared to ask for more than one. He'll put them on a styrofoam plate and add a long drizzle of olive oil before handing it over. Give him your money and grab a few napkins before the line pushes you out the door.
Then, go take a seat on a bench, curb or stoop nearby while soaking in the sun, people-watching at the market, and enjoying your tostas. It is the perfect Madrileño Sunday afternoon.
El Capricho Extremeño can be found on Calle de Carlos Arniches, 30.
The tostas are either €2.50 or €3 each.
Have you ever been to El Capricho Extremeño? Will you try it? What are your favorite places for cheap, easy and delicious food? Let me know in the comments below!