El Imparcial, the brainchild of five young Spaniards, three of whom have gilded reputations as hoteliers and service industry standouts, marks the newest opening on the up-and-coming Duque de Alba Street in Madrid’s La Latina neighborhood. The two-story restaurant, bar and concept store embraces a growing local trend of dining and drinking establishments with a strong sense of visual branding that have added a quirky something extra. In this case, the extra touch comes in the form of an opportunity to browse an unconventional selection of books, magazines, jewelry and nicknacks in the same space.
The entryway of El Imparcial is unassuming and so deep and narrow that you could easily walk right by if it weren’t for the glint of stunning ambiance and decor. Once the office space for a citywide editorial publication of the same name, the street-level space of El Imparcial hosts a bar/coffee counter with some of the shop’s collection featured on a display table tucked into the back corner while the upstairs contains the main bar, dining room and shop. El Imparcial is open every day of the week and stays open late, offering an à la carte menu as well as a menú del dia. At the top of the stairs, a long marble counter top and mirrored shelves with backlit bottles invite you to sit down for a house-made cocktail. Pass through to the larger adjacent space and you’ll encounter a plush dining room with ultra-high ceilings and be drawn in not only the sight of the food, but also by the impeccable décor. The vibe at El Imparcial is dramatic, modern and inviting: neither a tourist nor a funky-chic La Latina local would feel out of place here.
The waitstaff at El Imparcial is informed and multilingual – the service is much more helpful than what you find at a typical Spanish restaurant. The menu at El Imparcial is approachable and the majority of items reflect a fun play on traditional Spanish cuisine. The starters, called “hits”, are aptly named and we were more than excited to try some. The croquetas de rabo de toro are savory and well executed, a meatier take on the traditional ham and béchamel tapa encountered throughout Spain. Another standout starter is chipirones a la parrilla con puré de coliflor y curry – tender and perfectly grilled squid with curried cauliflower puree. The portions are generous and one could certainly make a meal out of starters alone. Of the entrées, one of our favorites is the red tuna tartar. Coastal Spanish waters offer up some of the best, and sustainably caught, tuna in the world, and when you have the opportunity to enjoy tuna like that in season, its sure to be spectacular. In fact, many dishes at El Imparcial are seasonal and employ locally sourced ingredients, making it fun to come back time and again to try what’s currently on offer. And regardless of when you go, don’t forget to order dessert, we recommend the torrija de panettone con helado de caramel, it’s exceptional, with a great balance between crunchy and buttery smooth textures.
At a time when many restaurants in Madrid are all style and no substance, El Imparcial proves itself an exception and has made quick work of connecting to local purveyors to create a seasonal, inventive menu. We love that El Imparcial has urban appeal and a sense of comfort that you’d find at a local café. If you’re in Madrid, make sure to see what all of the buzz is about and immerse yourself in the current happenings of the city over some wonderful food at El Imparcial.
Author: Elizabeth Schaller
What to Order
- Croquetas de rabo de toro
- Chipirones a la parrilla con puré de coliflor y curry
- Carrilleras de ibérico con puré de boniato (pork cheek with sweet potato puree)
- Torrija de panettone con helado de caramelo (a custardy interpretation of French toast with caramel ice cream)