Fine dining in the heart of the mountain village
Navacerrada is well known for its fabulous gastronomic fair that combines the traditional dishes from neighbouring Segovia with the fresh ingredients from its own pantry within the natural park.
I have visited Navacerrada many times over the years and have always noticed that the restaurant Terraza Jardín Felipe looks inviting and cozy. For one reason or another, I never got to see more of the restaurant than the garden terrace from the outside.
So when Felipe del Olmo invited Travelling Around Spain for a tour I was more than happy to accept.
My husband and I sat down with Felipe to find out more about his garden restaurant. I was surprised to discover Felipe was so young, I knew that the restaurant had been open for many years, but he cleared that up for us by explaining that his father, who has the same name, opened the restaurant almost 30 years ago. The restaurant was originally opened as a traditional “asador” (roasted spit) style from the region. Roasted pig, roasted goat, stews and food from the region were prominent on the menú.
These dishes still are on the menú, but other favourites have appeared as well.
The Restaurante Terraza Jardín Felipe was a private home from the early 20th century. When it was bought and converted to a restaurant the two large patios were glassed-in and filled with lush greenery to give the effect of eating in a botanical garden. If you want a slightly more traditional setting you can head upstairs to a dining room that was in the original house and has open beams, shuttered windows and an overall rustic appeal.
Felipe said that they have some 3rd generation clients. And we confirmed this when we heard a grandfather at the next table tell his granddaughter he had been coming to this restaurant for years.
Tasting of the selection at Restaurante Terraza Jardín Felipe
The meal started off with a selection of breads matched with a garlicky aioli cream spread that had a sensational burst of flavour. The breads are worth mention as well as they were all different types, from rolls, to rye bread to cornbread. Restaurante Terraza Jardín Felipe caters to gluten free or celiac clients, so if you have any dietary issues in this regard, just mention them and the chef will be happy to accommodate your needs.
Then came what looked like long and narrow spring rolls that were served in a wide vase, with crispy fried vegetables alongside the spring rolls. These spring rolls that were chicken and vegetable were served with a light soy sauce for dipping.
The next dish was my favourite of the meal. According to Felipe this is a family recipe that they have been serving almost since the restaurant opened. It was a simple dish, but bursting in flavour—Boletus and foie drizzled in honey. The contrast of the meaty taste of the wild mushrooms and the slightly sweet flavour of the honey was a perfect combination. As the mushrooms come from the local area they are only available seasonally—normally in the fall.
My husband’s favourite was the Cremoso rabo de toro (oxtail). Normally oxtail is found in stews, but this dish actually takes the oxtail which has already been cooked and puts it into a type of croquette with a sweet dipping sauce. Again, the mix of savoury/sweet flavours were bang on and made an interesting change from traditional oxtail dishes.
By far the showiest dish of the afternoon was the artichoke flower with pieces of ham sliced on top and matched with a romesco sauce. The artichoke was a work of art on the plate. Artichokes can easily have a bitter taste but this dish was absolutely melt in your mouth tender.
I was past full by this time and from here on in could only take small polite bites of the rest of the meal. A picturesque seafood potato salad was served next. This was another dish that got full marks for its presentation, it was served with a creamy light sauce on the edge of the plate as well as caviar and was topped off with shrimp.
Finally, came an inventive Spanish style stir-fry. It had seared Iberico ham with asparagus and sliced potatoes. It was a beautifully colourful dish.
Felipe had told us earlier about a couple of their signature desserts, including one that has been on the menú for close to 30 years. It is a Torrija, which is a dessert that normally you can only get in Spain near Easter. However, Restaurante Terraza Jardín Felipe has perfected the recipe and added a twist or two of its own, and due to popular demand serve it all year round. I didn’t think I would be able to taste even a bite after having tried everything else earlier, but once it was sitting in front of me I not only tried it, I polished off my half and just about stole the rest from my husband. It was an amazing version of the torrija (which is a distant cousin to french toast in Canada). Suffice to say it is worth hopping on a plane tomorrow and flying over to Spain to have this dessert.
Conclusion of the review:
Restaurant Terraza Jardín Felipe is worth the trip from Madrid to enjoy the beautiful setting and artistically served tasty food.
During the week they even offer a “menu del dia” for €14,90 which includes 4 options of 1st dishes and 4 options of seconds. Or you can choose from the actual menu. The price/quality is excellent.
Telephone: (34) 91 853 10 41