Best steaks in Madrid: Vaca Nostra

by mary on July 21, 2013

Vaca Nostra for a great steak meal in Madrid

Great meat is easy to find in Spain, we are spoiled with fantastic chuletón steaks and amazing ibérico pork. The best quality cuts are prepared most simply, grilled, rarely a sauce in sight, allowing the meats to shine. I have such great memories of simple Basque steakhouses or asadores, where the only thing on the menu is a great steak served with peppers, green salad and Rioja wine. Restaurante Vaca Nostra in Madrid, takes the cult of meat in Spain to an even higher level. An almost all-meat menu, with rare cuts of dry-aged beef and special artisanal lamb, a meat consultant to aid you in your selection, and a great supporting cast of starters, side dishes and wines to support your meat experience. It can come at a price, depending on how far you let yourself go, but you will have an outstanding, truly carnivorous experience.

Vaca Nostra is the showpiece restaurant of the Raza Nostra meat empire. Raza Nostra is a chain of luxury butchers that gained fame with their huge selection of gourmet hamburgers (30) and soon opened over a dozen restaurants and stands to sell both the raw and cooked product. You can find the hamburgers in such well known tapas areas as the Mercado de San Miguel and the Mercado de San Antón. The restaurants takes the Raza Nostra experience to a much more luxurious level.

The restaurant is located at far north in Madrid at Paseo de la Castellana 257, right at the foot of the new skyscrapers that have come to define the Madrid skyline. The restaurant has two parts, one the more informal barra de tapas, where you can get the great hamburgers, and one the more formal steakhouse.

Raza Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steak

Cold, modern decor is made up for by war, attentive service!

The decor is quite cold and modern in a way that remains popular in Madrid, but the warmth and quality of the service more than makes up for that. Really good service!

There are some great starters, some nice salads and veggies, but we decided to go carnivorous even here and went for the steak tartare, which is prepared to taste tableside. Served with with a small green salad, it was a classic blend of onions, capers, mustard, and cornichons, with just enough Tabasco kick. The quality of the meat was outstanding….the most important part!

Raza Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steak

Custom steak tartare

A huge selection of beef varieties and cuts are available, plus many off menu that your meat consultant will advise you of. There is also a small, but excellent selection of lamb, as well as some great fresh cuts of ibérico pork in certain seasons. It’s really all about the beef though!

We chose a 14-year old buey or steer from Galicia that had been dry-aged for four months! Buey is harder to find these days and I had never any had aged for so long. The steak was presented to us before grilling…see these great before and after shots below. It was served with a green salad, french fries, and some grilled spring onions.

Raza Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steak

Before

We asked for it rare, but I would have liked it even rarer to savor all those aged flavors. It was one of the best steaks I have ever had…if not the best. Complex savory, juicy, tender, great fat and texture. It was extremely expensive, almost 100€ for a 2.5lb bone-in steak, but it was a special great for my special birthday meal.

Raza Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steak

After….yum!

You can check out the menu at the website and many of the steaks and cuts are not that expensive. The starters and wine are very good value. With careful ordering, the bill can be moderate instead of expensive.

Speaking of wine, the list is organized and fulfilled exclusively by Lavinia, one of Madrid’s most prominent wine stores. Even the sommeliers are Lavinia trained and sponsored. The list is fairly short, but very good and really well priced.

We had a wonderful Madrid Garnacha, Peña Caballera 2011, that complemented the earthiness of the meat perfectly. Check my review here.

For the ultimate steak experience, you can go to Vaca Nostra, or try one of the more casual hamburger places to try some of Raza Nostra’s fine meats.

 

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