The restaurant was founded in 1932 by Obdulia and Daniel de la Riva, the former having worked as a cook for one-time Spanish prime minister Antonio Maura.
The restaurant’s original location was a small establishment on calle Nielfa, very close to the intersection of Príncipe de Vergara and López de Hoyos. What started out as a local tavern gradually became a casa de comidas in the Spanish sense of the word, which can roughly be translated as an economical, family-run eating house, for which the influence of Pepe, the founders’ son-in-law, was decisive.
In the beginning it was frequented by workers in the area, who would go there with a main dish that had been prepared at home in their lunchboxes. Obdulia would merely cook the lentils or beans, soup or vegetables, and a dessert, but not much more.
However, customs began to change and so too did the patrons and the restaurant’s offering.
Since then, the eatery has changed location and there are new faces serving and eating, but you may still be served by people who knew the original owners.
And if you are observant, you may spot Don Ricardo or Don Jorge, Jaime, Boni, Eduardo, Carrasco or Miguel Hernández sitting around the table on a Friday, playing mus; lifelong customers who continue to enjoy what is never going to change in this, their second home – good food and warm service among friends.
Opening times at De la Riva have never changed. While such hours are unusual for an establishment of this kind in Madrid, it makes sense from the point of view of the quality of the food and the service, and is much appreciated by customers and restaurant employees alike.