La Casa de las Torrijas in Madrid, Spain

Its official name is El Anciano Rey de los Viños, “The Ancient King of Wines,” but everyone knows this Madrid restaurant as La Casa de las Torrijas, “The House of French Toast.”  

Torrijas, stale bread soaked in milk or other liquid, dipped in eggs, fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sugar, is a dessert typically associated with Semana Santa, a spring holiday in Madrid. But this restaurant is one of only a handful of places in town that has traditionally served the dish year-round, something it’s been doing since 1907.

At La Casa de las Torrijas, the eponymous dish takes two forms. Torrijas de leche, the version most closely associated with Semana Santa in Madrid, are soaked in milk, emerging from the kitchen with a paper-thin crispy exterior and an interior that’s almost omelet-like in its softness and richness. 

An order is served sprinkled with sugar supplemented with a pinch of cinnamon, and is drizzled with a honey-like syrup given a pleasant fragrance via citrus zest. Torrijas de viño are soaked in red wine and are drizzled in a fragrant, slightly tart, purple-hued wine syrup. Either of them is likely to make you reassess your mom’s French toast.

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