CrescentFresh

Madrid, Spain

48 posts in this topic

Some friends and I are heading to Spain in a few weeks. We're not looking for El Bulli-caliber recommendations, but more DR.com users' favorites tapas bars, etc. Gracias!

There are far too many wonderful tapas places to get lost in in Madrid. Avoid some of the expensive joints right around the Plaza Mayor unless you're simply into the outdoor scene and checking out the people. The only exception to that would be to try "toro tapas bar" (I'm unsure of the name) [La Torre del Oro] that's right in the plaza. It's got pics of bullfighters all over, bulls heads on the wall and black and white checked tiles. Our favorite tapas crawls revolved in the area that stretched from Plaza Mayor down towards the Prado, around Plaza Santa Ana. Chocolateria San Gines, while popular, is a worthy late night (early morning?) stop for chocolate and churros.

Also in Madrid, the Asturian cider at Bar Neru.

My two biggest recommendations would be:

1) Hop on a bus to Chinchón, about a half hour or so outside Madrid. Aside from being an incredibly beautiful small town frequented by Madrilenos on weekends, you'll find the most incredible roast lamb at Meson Cuevas del Vino. A surprisingly huge place when you compare it to the unassuming entry door. Visit the wine caves downstairs and drink the house tinto.

2) Lots of travel help can be found at Madrid Man's website, which is where I frequently get help on travel to Spain such as the type you're asking for.

If you're heading towards Salamanca, I have another restaurant recommendation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we just got back from Madrid (and Bilbao and San Sebastián).

for tapas, you need to go to Plaza Mayor, walk through it and walk down a street called Cava Baja

On this street you will find many tapas places and restaurants - we went to Casa Lucas and had excellent food there - its a tiny place w/ maybe 5 tables - very friendly staff - I would describe the tapas as 'nouveau tapas' - unusual presentations but very very good

a few doors down is Tavera Tempranillo - we didn't eat there but man oh man did they have a great selection of wine by the glass (I had a great Bierzo Mencia) - and you can just sit there and gaze up at the massive wine rack behind the bar that ascends a good 20 feet and runs the length of the bar

we stayed in the business district and just walked around in the evenings grazing at various places - one of our favorites was Mesón Cinco Jotas, in fact we went there 2 nights in a row because the waitress was so great with our 4 year old daughter - their specialty is Jamón Ibérico and good lord is it good - in fact we did not taste better ham on the rest of our trip - they also serve various other meats and the like

We did pass the Museo de Jamón - to be honest it looked a little touristy but in general we found it hard to go wrong anywhere we ate in Spain - they take such price in what they cook/eat

most places also have a menu del dia which is a 3 course meal for 8 or 9 euro

1) the bar at taberna tempranillo post-189-1125015453_thumb.jpg

2) calimari wrapped in ham w/ a squid-ink pesto at Casa Lucas on Cava Baja just off Plaza Mayor post-189-1125015214_thumb.jpg

3) Pork products.....Spanish style post-189-1125015527_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a fantastic meal at La Gastroteca de Stefanie y Arturo in Madrid a few years ago. Not on the level with el Bulli by any means, but not cheap eats either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Madrid (I used to live in ín the District--for 12 years). I'd be happy to help out with tips here, especially since I plan to plunder this site for up-to-date info for my next visit to DC.

The more specific you are, the better I can help. Info like where you are staying, what days you'll be here, what your plans in the city are, what kind of food you like, phobias, tolerance for smoke and noise, whether you mind eating standing up, etc.

My number one suggestion for enjoying food in Spain is to force yourself immediately into the schedule, because it is immutable (no 24-hour diners here and you'll be eating everyone else's dregs during off-hours). For some reason, our American instincts often instruct us to try to avoid crowds and do things at off-hours. This doesn't work in Spain. Here's the basic Madrid schedule. This may differ slightly in other parts of Spain, particularly the north where people tend to eat dinner somewhat earlier.

breakfast/desayuno

before 11:00

i.e. cafe con leche and toast (with olive oil!) or churros (fried in olive oil!) or pastries in cafe/bars.

morning snack/sandwich break/almuerzo

11:00ish

In cafe/bars. Some breakfast stuff still might be available, but usually not as fresh (except on the weekends). Lots of people have a "pincho" de tortilla at this time.

lunch/comida

2:00-4:30

The biggest meal of the day--most places only do one seating, with people eating for hours, so don't show up at 4:30 expecting to beat the rush.

afternoon snack/merienda

5:30-7:30

Chocolate con churros if you missed them for breakfast. Mostly for kids and old ladies (and me!).

7:30-9:30

Paseo time. Go for a walk. Have drinks. Eat potato chips (fried in olive oil!). Window shop. Think about your next meal.

dinner/cena

9:30-12:00

Some tapas bars open a bit earlier. Restaurants may open at 9:00, but don't really fill up until 10:00.

Edited by mariposita

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going on business travel to Madrid and would like to have some options around all price ranges. I'm staying in plaza Santa Ana. I will also be in Barcelona and Palma Mallorca, but I think that's another thread. I am from spain so I don't have trouble with the language, just havent been to madrid enough to be able to identify all the good food around there. I've eaten at some places before: Viridiana, La Broche, Zalacain, Casa Lucio and el cantabrico on the pricier side of the scale as well as several others that are more reasonable. Can anyone recommend any good finds?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not but a few blocks from Puerta del Sol. On the western side at the intersection of Calle Mayor and Calle del Arenal, there's a great little place to get breakfast.

I second the recommendation to prowl Cava Alta and Cava Baja for tapas.

I love how everyone just sits outside and relaxes and enjoys themselves.

f_CavaAlta3m_04f181a.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So my trip through Spain was all work and not much pleasure, but I did find a couple of places I wanted to share with everyone. While in Madrid I had time to enjoy beers, excellent navajas (razor clams) a la plancha, berberechos (cockle clams) al vapor, boquerones en vinagre and padron peppers at a bar called "Cerveceria Cruz" situated around la Latina area, known for weekend day drinking. For 60 euros (3 people) we had a great time and the best navajas i can remember. Also had excellent fish, carabineros and gambas de huelva at a restaurant called el pescador, bring the big bucks for this one. For less formal seafood you can also try el cantabrico, which i usually recommend to friends, but on this trip to madrid the real find was cerveceria cruz. For steak/power dinner, you should try asador fronton, where you will come across several famous people in Spain and eat an excellent chuleton, but please keep in mind that this is just a steakhouse and like such it is a stale environment, full of older established people, less adventurous, but amazing at what they do best: Roasted Segovia baby lamb and chuleton. Also can't go wrong ending the meal with montecristos, just b/c you can.

I was also in Barcelona and Palma Mallorca, but I had too much work to try good food. Well in Barcelona I went to the famous Ciudad Condal, but I dont think it's all that special, good but not great. Next trip in February, this time Butterfly we will have to hang out at cerveceria cruz and enjoy some cañas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family and I are going to Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla for two weeks at the end of May and early June. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to eat? And, yes, this is a very open ended question, but we just decided to go recently and we are pressed for time to plan for the trip, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's touristy, but you need to have a couple tapas and a glass of sherry at La Torre del Oro in Plaza Mayor - it's worth spending twenty minutes there just to see the pictures on the wall (viewer discretion is advised).

Cheers,

Rocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jealous! I studied in Spain for 4 months in college, and it is one of my favorite places on Earth (Madrid especially). Sadly for you, the dollar is not as strong now as when I lived in Madrid, but you should still be able to eat very well.

I suppose it's touristy, but I really enjoyed my meal at Casa Botin. It is the oldest restaurant in the world, Hemingway wrote about it, Goya allegedly worked there, and they have great cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig). Cooked in these crazy old wood-burning ovens! A very cool experience, in my opinion. Expensive.

The best tapas I had while in Spain were the ones at small, family-owned places unmentioned in any guidebook. Of course I can't remember names, but they're not generally going to be in the center of the city. If your Spanish is passable, ask a local for a recommendation.

I had really good grilled meats and pizzas at La Farfalla (Anton Martin Metro stop). Look for the butterfly above the door.

I don't have any recommendations for Barcelona--by the time I got there, I was broke! Sevilla is awesome, and my favorite memory is of the young people gathering in the plazas to drink and dance. A Spanish block party, of sorts--get in on it if you can!

Hope that helps--take me with you!!! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Along the lines of Botin for suckling pig you can go to asador aranda for baby lamb.

People in Madrid brag about having the freshest seafood in Spain and arguably they do. For seafood you can go high end to La Trainera or more bar atmosphere to el cantabrico (one of my favorites). But there´s this one bar close to la latina (where all of madrid congregate on sunday for beers) called bar cruz, where I had some of the best navajas (razor clams) and berberechos (cockles), also excellent boquerones.

Bar la Trucha around plaza santa ana is decent and where I end up when i want a solid meal on a workday, but otherwise avoid eating in that area.

Cava Baja, close to la latina has a few places that are good. Casa Lucio is a classic and across the street you have los huevos de lucio, which is owned by lucio´s son and specializes in fried eggs with french fries and your choice of morcilla, chistorra, jamon. I love it with morcilla (blood sausage). Bar Tempranillo is good for cured meats, cheese and awesome wines.

La celestina in Salamanca is a favorite of my parents, specializing in castillian food, so you will have really good fabada, garbanzos, simple salads and baby lamb.

For steak, I like asador fronton, which is a classic madrid steakhouse and the place where I´ve had the best steak in my life. They don´t even ask you how you want it cooked, default is rare to med rare and its awesome. Also have excellend foie gras, don´t get more than 1/2 order, its a lot. If Fronton isn´t convenient you can also go to Txistu, Asador Donostiarra...

For Arroz con Bogavante (one of my favorite dishes), which is soupy paella with lobster you can go to De Maria or this other place on Hermosilla (damnit, I´m drawing a blank here)

for high end there are many choices: Viridiana, Arce, Sacha, Zalacain (a bit overpriced if you ask me). Avoid La Broche (1 or 2 michelin stars), since I hear Sergi Arola left a few months ago.

There are many other places, but this is all I can think of right now. One thing about Spain is that you absolutely do not want to avoid the crowds, an empty place is an almost guaranteed crappy meal and get used to the eating schedule or you will eat shit all day. I apologize in advance for how scatter brained this post is

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I suppose it's touristy, but I really enjoyed my meal at Casa Botin. It is the oldest restaurant in the world, Hemingway wrote about it, Goya allegedly worked there, and they have great cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig). Cooked in these crazy old wood-burning ovens! A very cool experience, in my opinion. Expensive.

I second the Botin's recommendation. Don't be scared away because it's touristy. The suckling pig is a must if you dine here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's touristy, but you need to have a couple tapas and a glass of sherry at La Torre del Oro in Plaza Mayor - it's worth spending twenty minutes there just to see the pictures on the wall (viewer discretion is advised).

Cheers,

Rocks.

That's the name of the place I was trying to recall in my original post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That´s what is so interesting about it. They get all the seafood flown in first thing in the morning from the night´s fishing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of our two-week visit to Spain, the first four days and last were in Madrid. We stayed in a small hostal just uphill from the Prado. I had a whole list of tapas bars I wanted to visit, but because I was with family who were less interested than I was in doing tapas crawls, we stuck to places near where we stayed. Fortunately, that included El Brillante, near the Reina Sophia museum, which is famous among the locals for bocadillos de calamari--simply fried, fresh, tender calamari rings piled into small house-baked baguettes. Seriously delicious--they must sell boatloads of squid every day. The place is absolutely packed, especially on weekend afternoons. We ate there several times. And ate many bocadillos de jamon Iberico. Right around the corner from us was Cerveceria Cervantes, another place very popular with the locals, which specializes in seafood. Very flavorful gambas a la plancha and baked bacalao. One night when J didn't feel like eating dinner, and K was off on her own, I walked up toward the Plaza del Sol and ended up at nearly 11 p.m. in a place called El Museo de Vino that was crowded with diners, and ordered wood oven roasted suckling pig. It was a whole leg, including the hoof, of course, that was delivered blazingly hot from the oven, with crackling crisp skin and meltingly tender, brined meat. It was so rich, I could only eat about half, but they wrapped what was left in aluminum foil and I grabbed a cab back to the hostal. The remaining piece was still warm when I brought it to J, who decided he was hungry after all.

Back in Madrid, on our last day, before heading to the airport for the flight home, J&K made a final visit to the Prado, and I walked up to the Plaza Mayor, which I hadn't gotten to see during our earlier stay. It was very cold and windy, and I found my way to the Cava Baja, but it was too early in the day and the tapas bars on my list were all closed. Boo hoo. Oh well. Next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some good information here, but this thread is getting old. Any new places to try? I'm visiting friends who live in la Chueca, which I understand is fairly central. I leave tomorrow and am there through Monday. Also, my friends have a car, so recommendations for places to visit nearby (for food or otherwise) would be helpful too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some good information here, but this thread is getting old. Any new places to try? I'm visiting friends who live in la Chueca, which I understand is fairly central. I leave tomorrow and am there through Monday. Also, my friends have a car, so recommendations for places to visit nearby (for food or otherwise) would be helpful too!

Gerry Dawes should be your go-to.

Also, I'd be surprised it this isn't still worth a drink and a tapa (you'll be there anyway, if you're touring the town).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gerry Dawes should be your go-to.

Wow, thanks, Don - what a great resource! And RWBooneJr., please report back - I will be in Madrid in April, so I'm very interested in what you experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are about 10 days away from our Spanish adventure - any recent must-eats in Madrid? I have tagged Cerveceria La Cruz from posts above, and it looks like it's right up our alley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are about 10 days away from our Spanish adventure - any recent must-eats in Madrid? I have tagged Cerveceria La Cruz from posts above, and it looks like it's right up our alley.

We spent a few days here in February. Some friends recommended that we eat more adventurously in Barcelona, and more traditionally in Madrid. While I wouldn't say any place in Madrid was a must-visit, we did enjoy all our meals.

La Latina, where the most popular tapas bars are located, is like Saturday night in Adams Morgan times a million. We ate really well at Txirimiri and El Tempranillo (the latter of which has an especially good wine selection).

If you like paella, El Ventorillo Murciano is a very good hole-in-the-wall not far from the Reina Sofia Museum. We ordered the rice with rabbit (tasty, though it got annoying chewing into small bones on each bite) and snails (which required lots of digging through the shells with toothpicks, but worth it).

El Mollete was featured in the NYT's "36 hours in Madrid," but apart from us everyone in the restaurant appeared to be local. They're known for huevos rotos (broken eggs with potatoes) and fried morcilla (blood sausage).

For chuleton (ox steak), there are several good options -- we ate well at Asador Ansorena, though Imanol and Julian de Tolosa are supposed to be excellent too.

Chocolateria San Gines is a bit touristy but their churros and hot chocolate definitely hit the spot.

If you're near Puerta del Sol, La Maillorquina has great pastries but gets REALLY crowded. We went early in the morning and it was much more bearable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we have finished parts 1 and 2 of our Spanish adventure - Madrid and Granada - and are now in Barcelona until our (sad) return to the U.S. More on that later, I'm sure...

As for Madrid, the first couple of days of our trip were spent finding places where our large group of marathon runners could carbo-load, so nothing to report there. However, once we finished the race and my husband and I broke off on our own, we enjoyed a couple of noteworthy places (and, of course, many places where we stopped for a delicious bite or two but cannot remember the names).

The Mercado de San Miguel is great if you want to grab a pastry or fruit or something else to go - it is VERY crowded, and there is little seating.

Las Bovedas de Cibeles (on Calle de Alcala) was a great stop after viewing the fantastic collection at the Prado. There we enjoyed the most wonderful pulpos a la gallega - so incredibly tender and flavorful. Made us wonder why it is so hard to get non-chewy octopus in the States...hmmm...

Our lunch at Botin was terrific as well - my hubby was dying to try cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig), and he was not disappointed. Excellent service, too - it looks like it is going to be stodgy, but it is actually quite friendly and relaxed.

Hubby was getting tired of drinking Mahou and Estrella, so he dug up Cerveceria Europa in the Bilbao neighborhood. Tucked away on a smallish street, you will know you've reached this place when you see the crowds pouring out the doors. They actually have a respectable selection of beers - we ended up loving the Guinea PIgs IPA from Cervezas Yria, a small Spanish microbrewery. We didn't order any food (probably a mistake, given how much beer we consumed), but they served Bugles and cheese puffs as munchies.

Finally, I will wholeheartedly recommend the Intercontinental Hotel, a little north of city center at the Gregorio Maranon Metro. GREAT bar staff - you don't expect to make vacation memories at the hotel bar, but we absolutely did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We'll be in Madrid in about ten days. I've read over what's on this thread, but any new/different recommendations? For Madrid or Seville.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now