Lunch Rush: A Review of Ojalá


Ojalá Restaurant & Bar
+34 91 523 27 47
c/ de San Andrés 1, Madrid

Overall impression 4/5
Atmosphere: 4.5/5
Overall food taste: 3/5
Overall food presentation: 3.5/5
Pricing: $

Caprese salad: A visually appealing appetizer that highlights the beauty of Mediterranean cuisine. Although it’s not a traditional Spanish plate, the Caprese salad was very well executed. Something about the sun here makes incredibly plump, sweet tomatoes that make any salad a superstar. In the case of this appetizer, thick slices of sweet tomato and sweet fresh mozzarella are dressed with a super smooth pesto. Thank god they brought out warm crusty bread for me to sop up the extra pesto, though I would note that it lacked the nuttiness of parmesan. Individual taste: 4/5. Individual presentation: 5/5.

Albondigas con yuca: The menu of the day offered these traditional Spanish meatballs or a chicken curry. I wasn’t ready to take the leap of face so I stuck with something I had more confidence. Although the plating was decent, the plate seemed to fall flat. The unripened fried yuka was hard, underfried, and very dense instead of being light, fluffy, and crispy. The meatballs and stewed sauce lacked any semblance of texture. Divergent from the traditional tomato sauce that albondigas are served with, these came in a pool of an ambiguous stew with carrots and onions. I tried to combine the stew and yuka but it was so unripened and poorly prepared that the hardened, dense chunks of yuka remained flavorless. Individual taste: 2.5/5. Individual presentation: 3.5/5

Banana pudding: After an underwhelming and heavy second plate, I was reluctant to even order a postre/dessert. I settled on the banana “pudding” but was highly disappointed to find a cup of mashed bananas topped with canned whipped cream. The bananas did not seem to be dressed with any liquor, cinnamon, honey, lemon, etc. and the mountain of canned whipped cream left an oily final note. The only thing I can compliment was the crumb topping that was sprinkled over the bananas. A cross between mashed granola and vanilla wafers, these crumbs were the only semblance of texture during my three course meal. Individual taste: 3/5. Individual presentation: 3/5.

Ojalá is often touted as a hipster, fun place to dine and hangout with friends. This was actually my 2nd time at the bar, but I was met with a repeat of my initial experience. It’s too hyped up and you expect exciting flavors and great ingredients that are excellently executed. The flavor profile is more daring than the typical Madrid cuisine, I must admit, but the execution leaves more to be desired. I do have to give props to Ojalá for their incredible fresh baked bread. From the backroom

Nathaniel Tran, student blogger.

Nathaniel Tran, student blogger.

seats you can see workers pulling out warm toasted loaves of their crusty baguettes and boulles every few minutes. It’s important to note that at night the bar is very crowded and it’s downstairs “beach” seating area is always a popular hangout. I personally wouldn’t make a great trek out just for the drinks or the food, but if you’re looking for a fun place to chill out for a decently cheap grub this place is okay. Be warned, portions run small and service is incredibly slow.

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