Pastelería Trabolsi: A Secret Haven for Dulces Árabes in Madrid
As Ale and I cursed ourselves for getting lost, I noticed something different out of the corner of my eye. Signs in Arabic– everywhere. Now, signs in other languages aren’t strange to see in Madrid, but they aren’t quite as common as in NYC or Washington DC either. As I looked around I realized we were among a variety of small grocery stores and butcher shops serving the Middle Eastern part of Madrid’s multicultural community (likely due to our proximity to one of the city’s main Mosques).
This was really exciting for me, a new place to explore for ingredients and spices. But the best was yet to come. As we made our way up the street, a new looking storefront with large glass windows gave a peek into one of my most exciting discoveries in recent months– an enormous selection of freshly made dulces Árabes (Middle Eastern pastries). In this case they are Lebanese sweets, mostly made of crispy phyllo dough, covered in honey, and adorned with a variety of pistachios, walnuts and almonds.
Since living in Granada in 2007 (and gorging on the many dulces Árabes there) I’ve had hardly any contact with these delicious bites of heaven, and if I could find them they were often disappointing, soggy, or even moldy. Not the case at Pastelería Trabolsi!
This small shop (with lots of sweets) sells the freshest baklava and other Middle Eastern pastries in Madrid. They’ve been in business for about two years now and, when I asked, they told me that business is good, and that the majority of their customers are Spanish! This was exciting as I always think Spaniards can be hesitant to try anything different, but obviously that isn’t always the case.
The best (and cheapest) Middle Eastern Pastries in Madrid
We happened to have a dinner party that evening so we bought a tray of 16 sweets. I was expecting to pay small fortune for our platter, given that each sweet is usually around 1-2 euro in most local bakeries. These were sold by weight, and I still have a tough time estimating in kilos, so I was surprised when the grand total was about 8 euros. That’s less than what we paid for a similar platter of sweets in Morocco (where we were very obviously taken advantage of).
I would recommend that everyone living in Madrid take a trip to this Lebanese pastry shop when you have a special event (or if you are just craving a taste of something different). It’s worth the trip! In the nearby Middle Eastern supermarkets you can also buy habanero peppers (hard to find otherwise), hummus, Moroccan breads, pitas, and Halal meat.
You can find these Middle Eastern pastries in Madrid at Pastelería Trabolsi on Calle Antonio Calvo, 3, near the El Carmen, Ventas, and Barrio de Concepción metro stops.
Another place to try similar sweets is for dessert at Taberna Griega, what I consider to be the best Greek restaurant in Madrid.