Viridiana in Madrid is a fascinating restaurant, largely because of the personality of celebrated chef Abraham García, a passionate, talented, and independent-minded chef who is constantly innovating in the kitchen. Chef García is obsessive about the quality of his ingredients. Locals often see him personally shopping at area farmers markets. He enjoys hunting, and is very skilled at cooking all sorts of interesting game. He changes up the menu frequently, and is almost always at the restaurant. He makes a point of going around and chatting with all the guests.
Chef García is a movie buff, naming his restaurant after a famous 1961 Spanish film. He also collects hats, and you’ll see evidence of his obsession with hats throughout the meal.
We chose to visit Viridiana because we had read great things about it. It was known to serve traditional Spanish food with a slight haut-cuisine French twist. We soon found out that this place is quite famous – everybody knows about it. It’s in most English-language guidebooks, which would explain why it felt like the place had more tourists than locals (or at least it did in the lower level “basement” dining area, which is where we sat).
Nevertheless, the food was great, so we tried to ignore the fact that we could hear English spoken all over the restaurant. Instead, we just focused on enjoying Chef García’s creativity and excellent cooking skills….