Scanning the menu, everything looks good, and we want to try it all. They've already run out of the pad thai and the sushi. It might not seem like it but we're in a vegan restaurant, from the same owners who brought Vega to the city; and if you like that spot, you'll want to try this one as well. Of course both the pad thai and the sushi are vegan versions that perhaps we'll be able to try next time. There's a good offering in every section (starters, mains and desserts) and the menu changes with the seasons while still following its principles of vegan dishes made with organic and local products. Most items are gluten-free and many are raw.
The venue itself is spacious and divided between dining room and bar area, both with enough room to spread out and be comfortable (and your little dog too). But bear in mind that at weekends – even more so on Sundays since it's near the Rastro – La Encomienda does fill up, so it's a good idea to book a table. The staff are friendly and passionate about their restaurant and what they do, and you'll see their dedication to details in everything from the plates and flatware to the bathroom sinks: the furniture is as home-made as the banana crumble.
Marinated courgette, fresh sun-dried tomato, pesto and home-made chestnut cheese all make up the house lasagne. It's colourful, and served cold and with a good presentation. This is an exquisite and attractive entry to the cuisine here, and it's an ideal dish to share. For mains, if you're not sure what you want, or there are a lot of you, try sharing dishes all together in order to get a taste of everything. We're still not sure which we liked better, the tofu tartare or the quinoa 'meatballs'. The only thing they have in common is that they're in the same section of the menu, but everything else is different. The flavour of the marinated tofu is singular and addicting, with such a simple dressing that it works out greatly in the dish's favour: seaweed, tomato, avocado and leek. The meatballs bring a smile to our faces with their spicy touch of curry, the different temperatures and textures that come together with the sauce and a bit of pasta. Delicious. It's got to be a bestseller.
There's a whole page reserved for drinks, including soft drinks, juices and organic herbal teas, craft beers (La Virgen, Cibeles, Pedal Ale...), and organic red and white wines from Madrid (nearly a dozen varieties).
Vegetarians and vegans have a place in the Lavapiés neighbourhood that's a sure thing, and omnivores looking for a healthy option will be satisfied as well.
|Venue name:||La Encomienda|
La Encomienda, 19
|Opening hours:||Mon closed. Tue-Fri 1pm-1am; Sat 11am-1am; Sun 11am-5pm|
|Transport:||La Latina (M: L5), Tirso de Molina (M: L1)|