Journey Jotters

Bitten by the travel bug

A couple of months ago, our friends, the K family, asked us to join them for dinner at Cafe Madrid. Being foodies, they’re constantly looking to explore the Dallas restaurant scene. And since I have a Spain trip later this year, it felt a good way to become familiar with the tapas offerings in Dallas. Knowing how much the Spanish love meat, Mr. JJ and I initially hesitated. But a quick look at the menu offered some vegetarian options, so we decided to go. Our friends reserved a table.

Cafe Madrid, Dallas

Cafe Madrid is located in the Highland Park area. The restaurant was very lively. We walked into the main room, packed with small tables, European style, and a bar. Two other rooms lead off from that one. They were all packed with customers. The host led us immediately to our table, close to the bar and in the middle of the room. Conversation flowed around us as the waitressing staff walked up and down all night long.

Our waiter suggested ordering at least three tapas each. We chose the mixed olives trio, the patatas bravas, the queso frito con ceballo y miel (fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onions), grilled shishito peppers (I didn’t find this on the menu today), and espinacas pirineos (sauteed spinach with pine nuts).

The fried goat cheese was the best of all. The outside was just crisp, while the cheese was perfectly melted inside. The dish moved to another level with the caramelized onions and honey. The potatoes were less spicy than we had hoped. I enjoyed the mixed olives, but not Mr. JJ, who isn’t a big fan. The peppers were grilled well and tasty. The food was not spicy by any means. I wanted to taste the paella, but they couldn’t make it vegetarian enough to suit our needs. We settled for the saffron rice, but it was too salty and not worth the money spent. We hardly touched it. For dessert, we all chose flan that was light and flavorful.

Fried goat cheese with caramelized onion and honey

Our friends ordered sliced Jamon Iberico, mixed anchovies olives, chorizo al vino (sausage with wine), Mejillone con azafran (mussels in saffron sauce), morcilla de arroz y cebolla (fried blood sausage with toasted bread), setas en salsa de Jerez (mushrooms in cream sherry sauce), pan con tomate (grilled bread with tomato), boquerones alinados (imported white anchovy fillets). They felt the Jamon was delectable, like candy, and was worth the price. They also enjoyed the fried goat cheese and thought the mushrooms were delicious. They said the blood sausage was perfectly spiced and one of the best they’ve ever had.


There was a lot of movement around us that evening. Which meant I couldn’t get photos of the room where we were seated. But the decor was very reflective of Spain’s matador and bullfighting culture. I enjoyed the tapas at Cafe Madrid. While I’d have preferred a spicier taste to the food, I understand this is as it’s meant to be. Reviewing the menu today, I found more options for the next visit. Warmer weather will allow us to sit outside and enjoy a Happy Hour, or we can visit on the first Friday for some flamenco. And get a small taste of Spain in Dallas! I highly recommend reserving a table before your visit.

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