The shortest distance between Madrid and Barcelona is in Houston

: about seven kilometers, from River Oaks to Montrose, separate


from BCN.

They are the

successful restaurants of chef Luis Roger and executive Nacho Torras that succeed in the fourth most populous city in the United States

, capital of its oil industry, base of NASA space operations and leading medical epicenter in cancer research.

With more than 10,000 restaurants representing some 70 world cuisines, positioning yourself in this diverse Texan city is no easy task, and yet,

since BCN and MAD opened their doors in 2014 and 2019 respectively, they have not had a free table.

The first serves "traditional food, seasonal products, not very complex, all based on the raw material," explains Torras.



-as its name indicates in English-

literally has Houston crazy with its offer of tapas, rice dishes and drinks.


They are two concepts that complement each other very well, they don't compete with each other. BCN is classic and MAD is modern", adds Roger.

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Casa Pei+, the small place in Chamberí where they prepare the dumplings that Huawei executives adore

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Between cats and cats.

The American who makes the best carrot cake in Madrid (for 5 years)


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It all started like this:

Nacho Torras

-who left Spain at the age of 18 to live in Brazil, Panama and finally settle in Houston, where he chairs Tricon Energy, the company he founded in 1996- happened to so many Spaniards who live in the foreigner, and it is that he soon understood that of '

how well you eat in Spain, but how badly we sell ourselves'.

The difference is that he put a remedy.

In the summer of 2008 he met

Luis Roger

at Mas Anglada, the Empordà farmhouse that had belonged to his family.

"If one day you want to open your own restaurant, call me," recalls the chef - who had previously worked at El Bulli, Fragata and the Ra hotel - what the executive told him.

"And for six years, every time he congratulated me on my birthday, he reminded me: If you change your mind, call me."

So it was.

The starting point was the hometown of both, and thus his restaurant was baptized with the code of his airport.

"The idea of ​​BCN was to sell Spain through the Barcelona brand, completely moving away from folklore,"

explains Roger.

In addition, they added the heading "Taste & Tradition" (taste and tradition) because they are the values ​​that unite the two partners.


Located in a secluded villa that accommodates 86 diners,

where pieces by Picasso, Dalí, Chillida and Miró are exhibited - which Torras donates from his private art collection -, BCN soon became a "food-destination" with a very solid fixed clientele.

"70% of clients go every week or two," explains Torras.

"The key to success, Roger concedes, "was to bring the raw material, the Spanish product.

To this day

we continue to search, bringing new products to see what works.

Quality is critical for diners to have a real experience," he adds.

However, they both remember that there was always a customer asking where the tapas or paellas were.

A few

trips to Spain and a lot of effort later, MAD was born.

"Before opening MAD we had three people working full time. And six months before opening, it already had six chefs working to be able to do it with the maximum guarantees. From the first day it has been a success", explains Luis Roger, who feels

"very happy to represent Spain with another format, with traditional but also contemporary tapas".

Thus, in the MAD menu we find tapas and starters such as

croquettes, calamari sandwich, patatas bravas, liquid olives

, to main dishes that would be

rice cooked over firewood and accompanied with national ingredients such as octopus, Iberian secreto, hake

. .. The desserts are a delirium: from a

Manchego coulant

to bold proposals that are not what they seem like

passion fruit "flying eggs" or lemon-shaped "wannabe strawberry".


But MAD lives not only on food.

The partners were very clear that in addition to an appetizing menu and good service, another ingredient would be key to their success.

"One thing that the people of Madrid know how to do better than any capital in the world: nightlife," Nacho Torras tells us.

"We were looking for a place with an atmosphere, a party, around a culinary concept",

and for this they signed Lázaro Rosa-Violán.

The prestigious designer, who needs no introduction, was inspired by the Movida, the Morocco room, the VIPS, and the neon lights on Gran Vía.

"The American here is becoming more and more sophisticated, and

at MAD we are not only going to give them food, atmosphere and service, but two more concepts: mixology and music."

The figures prove them right.

"The nights with the highest billing are from Thursday to Saturday, however you have to be successful the rest of the week and

MAD succeeds. It is always full. We are super consistent, very linear

," explains Roger about the restaurant with capacity for 175 diners .

To ensure success, the two partners are clear, there is something that is key.

"Bringing professionals from Spain.

Something that is complicated, since it is not easy to get a visa for cooks or mixologists," Torras says.

"Between MAD and BCN we serve 2,000 people per week. And it is very difficult to maintain absolute fidelity to the original recipe if it is not made by someone from the land.

We have to bring trained people from Spain, it is not a matter of nationality, but rather training and experience

," he explains.

For this executive, owner of the second largest private company in Houston that bills 12,000 million dollars in the commercialization of chemical and petrochemical products, MAD and BCN "although I manage the restaurants with the same KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) as the companies of trading, they are also a hobby. And

I love doing Spain outside of Spain. I love promoting our values, our country", he


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