madrid: celso y manolo restaurant opening

© celso y manolo / photography: pablo zamora

one of madrid's most stylish new eateries of late is named after two adventurous brothers who in the 1960s escaped a dreary existence in rural asturias, in search for a better life in the bustling capital. manolo arguelles got a simple job at a bar in the chueca neighbourhood, and when his employer retired a few years later, he took over the business and was joined by his brother celso. the fraternal duo carved a name for themselves with la carmencita, and the small tavern became synonymous to good food and drink. fast forward to 2014: chueca has become quite a playground for those into cool restaurants, clubs and boutiques.

so, when manolo and celso retired earlier this year, spanish hospitality entrepreneur carlos zamora - who already owns a string of renowned establishments in the city - stepped in to give la carmencita a new lease on life as celso y manolo. now, the name may have changed, but a lot of the interior's original 1950s elements have been retained, and we dare say it has morphed into one achingly stylish tapas restaurant. a true show stopper is the robust marble bar, measuring 8 meters and made from three different shades of marble. the added furnishings and decorations are effortless, consisting of modern and vintage furniture pieces, in addition a tightly curated selection of spanish handicrafts and vintage memorabilia.

the monumental bar is manned by a busy chef and his staff, serving those seated or standing across, but they'll happily attend to those in seating area, a space which can host up to 34 guests. as said, celso y manolo is tapas restaurant, and its menu features an abundance of tasty bites which can also be ordered in half portions for easy sharing purposes. the tapas dishes have been kept simple but given a refreshing modern twist, ranging from a bocata de calamares, to a signature ensaladillas celso y manolo, or the adventurous tartar de ternero al vodka. there's simply too much to choose from. obviously, there's a good and matching selection of beverages, including a selection of local wines, draft beers by la cibeles, and a number of signature cocktails. location: calle de la libertad 1 [chueca].

© celso y manolo / photography: pablo zamora