Spain - Restaurante El Ñeru
Madrid, August 5, 2020
El Ñeru, an Asturian restaurant in Madrid
" Any reason is good .. to visit this restaurant "

There are restaurants that seem to have souls. What makes them special? Atmosphere, staff, decoration, food? Don’t know? A combination? Whatever it is, they are special establishments. You feel it as you enter.

Today we enter El Ñeru, the most traditional Asturian cuisine embassy in Spain’s capital.

The story behind El Ñeru
The story of Vicente Caso Coviella, El Ñeru’s founder, was one of overcoming. Now Fernando, Vanessa and Carmina run the show, along with the family matriarch, Mr José, who supervises everything.

In 1966 Vicente abandoned his cattle herding job for bricklaying with weekends as a waiter. He had no idea it would be “that extra” at weekends which would make him one of the most recognized entrepreneurs in Madrid.

In 1968, Vicente radically changed his life leaving his Cangas de Onís to come to Madrid. His desire was to find love (his wife, Mr José, also from Asturias) and work (El Ñeru) in Madrid.

In Casa de Campo he sold “bollos preñaos” (pieces of bread with filling, usually salty) while continuing to search for a job as a waiter. Starting by washing dishes in 1974 he used his savings to take over El Ñeru. Right up to his death Vicente received awards for his professional career.

What are we going to find in El Ñeru
El Ñeru restaurant is an extension of Asturias whilst in Madrid’s centre on Calle Bordadores. Oozing history through its walls, the living history of people and personalities who have visited.

The small entrance belies the restaurant’s capacity. Downstairs a cosy space seats 200 diners.

A regular meeting place for intellectuals, politicians, journalists, actors and members of the public. Everyone is welcome. Any reason is good (tapas, portions, dishes on the table or at the bar itself) to visit this restaurant.

House specialities
Typical dishes of Asturian gastronomy, made with ingredients sourced approximately 80% from the Principality form the menu including the famous Cabrales cheese, croquettes, scorpionfish pie, cider chorizo or its revered empanada. A key success is the quality of its products also available to buy in the restaurant.

Fabada, a speciality, for which in 2015 El Ñeru won the ‘best in Madrid’ award. Flavour, smell and quality of the bean are scored together with aesthetics. Compango, always derived from pork, accompanies it. Other specialties are beans with clams, hake with cider, (from the Cantabrian, of course), chickpeas with tripe, various fish, Asturian tripe and Asturian pot in season.

Homemade desserts: rice pudding, roasted apple, flan, various cakes (special mention of their pomace cake), curd or ice cream are sublime.

The solidarity side of El Ñeru
Vicente appreciated his humble origins, grateful to those who helped him when he worked with cattle in Picos de Europa. On cold days they fed him which his stomach appreciated. To show his gratitude, repay their kindness Vicente launched a solidarity initiative which his children have continued when he was gone. He instilled in them his affection for Cangas.

Every year Camila Beceña, in Cangas de Onís, fills its pantry with food donations from El Ñeru. In 2019 reached 4,000 kilos of food. A gesture worthy of admiration.

Popular knowledge
Vicente's was a generation of men and women who worked in their youth "beyond their means", long and hard.

A generation caring for their elders whilst bringing up children. They fought hand to mouth carving out a future in very harsh conditions - those of the time. And they managed to get ahead, boy they did!

Based on a detailed article prepared by Bailli Délégué Rosa Román