Photography taken by Mario Guti/Getty Images

The eatery has no phone number and doesn't take reservations.

Mike Pomranz
April 09, 2018

The idea of “secret” or “hidden” restaurants always seems to capture people’s imagination. From the glamorization of Prohibition speakeasies to the simple fact that it’s cool to be in the know, there’s a cachet that comes with keeping an eatery’s physical location exclusive. In a recent video, the team over at Great Big Story (who’ve don’t a bunch of videos on cool places to eat) went on one of these secret restaurant hunts—specifically following a tip for an extremely hard to find Chinese restaurant in Madrid, Spain.

Once you arrive, Cafetería Yulong Zhou isn’t really “secret” at all: This isn’t one of those “knock three times” or “pick up the phone across the street” sort of secret places. Instead, what makes this casual Chinese eatery so hidden is that the location is completely out of the way—in a corridor down the pedestrian stairs of an underground parking garage entrance—and the proprietors apparently have little interest in providing things like a sign or a telephone number to help point potential patrons in the right direction.

The thing is, Yulong Zhou and Liufeng Zhou, the husband and wife team who serve food authentic to their hometown of Qingtian, don’t have to promote: Thanks to a large local Chinese population from the same area as well as support from other, non-Chinese locals, the place stays very busy. “We are open seven days a week,” Yulong told Great Big Story. “Basically, it’s always full.”

As for finding the place yourself, the Great Big Story video provides a pretty straightforward description as well as some helpful visual cues. However, as plenty of people on TripAdvisor point out, the place is tricky to find. “We hadn't noticed … that it was underground,” wrote one user, “so as we approached Plaza de Espana, our GPS told us that we were there. We even asked some Chinese people en Espanol where it was and they couldn't tell us.” Another user suggests looking for the machines where you pay for parking… or easier still, a long line of people waiting to get into a tiny restaurant.