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Take a Walk Around MAD, the River Oaks District’s New Spanish Stunner

The new restaurant from the minds behind BCN Taste & Tradition is a brightly colored beauty

Last week, restaurateur Ignacio Torras and chef Luis Roger — the team behind BCN Taste and Tradition in Montrose — debuted MAD, a new Spanish restaurant that will take Houstonians on a wild and whimsical ride that is both sophisticated and otherworldly.

The new restaurant at 4444 Westheimer Road is reminiscent of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, just with a decidedly Spanish theme. Designed by renowned Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the 122-seat MAD is packed with visual stimulation. There are leopards and bears, bulls and flamenco dancers. There’s orange velvet, blue velvet, red neon, blue neon, rotating mirrors, and lots of gold.

So. Much. Color.
Mai Pham/EHOU
Mai Pham/EHOU

Fine art is also a highlight of the space. In one seating area, an entire panel of genuine Picasso plates are hung in an array, depicting a bull fight. Suspended from the ceiling in one corner of the room, as well as from a central point in the open kitchen are hand-blown glass chandeliers by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. On the central back wall, where it’s lit so that it looks like an piece discovered at an ancient Aztec archeological dig, hangs a striking 9 foot by 37 foot Brutalist mural made of etched concrete.

Art, art, everywhere
Picasso plates and Chihuly light fixtures adorn the dining room

Throughout the space, there’s a recurring image of a bear, a symbol of Madrid that dates back to the 13th century, when the bear first appeared on the city’s coat of arms. To tie in the theme of “from MAD to the moon,” are two golden 3d printed replicas of the Cassini Orbiter satellite, encased in glass, and positioned as showpieces that are also act as functional dividers for the velvet couches in the main dining area.

“Luis and I have always aimed at sharing the love of Spanish cuisine and culture with Houstonians, showcasing a culinary experience that is part exceptional interior design and innovative cuisine,” says Torras.

Before making a reservation at MAD, take a walk around the gorgeous space and brace yourself — there’s a lot to take in.

Mai Pham/EHOU
The private dining room
Scope out that carved mural
A gilded replica of the Cassini satellite
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