Top Places to eat Madrid’s Top Dishes

Spinach_dish

The culture guide of online Spanish newspaper El Mundo often reviews the best places in Madrid to eat certain dishes. Metrópoli, as the guide is called, doesn’t just let you know about places to eat the more offerings but also where you can find more creative examples of these dishes. Here are a selection of some of my favourites (in Spanish):

CochinilloBaby Suckling Pig – a perfect main course in Madrid (though even better in Segovia!)
BocadillosBaguettes – these are wonderful for lunch and are always freshly prepared at the premises.
Tabla de QuesosCheese Tray
Solomillo ibéricoIberian Sirloin Steak – don’t forget that well done in Spain equates to medium or just eat it as it should be eaten!
Alcachofas FritasFried Artichokes
Boquerones en vinagreAnchovies marinated in vinegar– Simply wonderful!Cheesecake_1
Espárragos creativosCreative Asparagus – a great starter
Pimientos de PadrónPadrón Peppers – the Spanish will always tell you that some are hot and others not. Delicious!
Platos con espinacasSpinach dishes – one of my favourites is potaje de espinacas con garbanzos (a dish of spinach and chick peas).
Pescados a la salFish cooked in a layer of salt
Tartas de quesoCheesecakes

To translate any of these pages into English use the Google, simply add the web address (URL) into this Google Translation page.

Madrid Fusión opens in the Municipal Conference Centre

Madridfusion_2

From the 17th to the 19th January Madrid will host a major gastronomic event – Madrid Fusión. The press for it bills it as:

"A new edition of Madrid Fusion in which the Spanish and European chefs that nowadays
amaze the whole world with their recipes, will “play against” the revolutionary fleet of young American chefs who are now breaking moulds in the creative cuisine while being surrounded by the last technological trends."

Chefs such as Ferran Adría, Arzak, Nobu Matsuhisa and Marcus Samuelsson will demonstrate their techniques and share their secrets. There will also be an opportunity to sample the food and wine of Spain. The entry cost is quite high – 590 Euros – and includes access to all demonstrations and tasting of products in the exhibition hall. For full details visit the Madrid Fusión website.

Madrid’s Top Summer Terrazas

One of the highlights of summer is eating or drinking in one of the city’s many terrazas. Terrazas (street café’s) are extremely popular in Madrid and are a wonderful way of spending an evening in the city. They are open through summer until September and cater for all tastes and budgets, though in places like Retiro Park they are open all year round. Some of the best places to enjoy terrazas are the Paseo de la Castellana and the Paseo de Rosales. El Mundo newspaper has an exhaustive list of the summer’s top terrazas on their website which, though written in Spanish, categorises them into barrios, displays their food specialities and gives the price range.   

Surviving Madrid in the Summer

I got an email yesterday from someone visiting this site (Martin Christensen) asking me for some tips on how to survive the hot weather in Madrid. Madrid in summer can be quite taxing, though if you start living like the Spanish it can be much more bearable. Here are some thoughts on how you can get the most out of Madrid in the summer.

Site seeing
I would probably make sure that you try and get around the city in the early hours of the morning  probably up until 12pm or 1pm. Always make sure that you walk on the side of the street that is in the shade. If you’re looking to walk around the city later, I would try and make sure you do it from around 6.30 p.m onwards. Don’t forget that the shops close around 8 p.m.

Museums
Personally, I would try and get around the museums during the hottest times of day – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. All of them will be air-conditioned and far more pleasant than walking around the city.

Eating Out
To be perfectly honest I would far prefer to eat indoors in this weather than sit out in the very hot daytime temperatures. Though, if that is what you’re looking for, you may want to try out eateries along the Paseo de Pintor Rosales – more expensive but next to Madrid’s huge park, the Casa de Campo.

Madrid’s Terrazas
Madrid’s outdoor terrace bars are really a must during the summer months and a wonderful way to spend the warm summer evenings. You may even see some of Madrid’s beautiful people – the Beckham’s, possibly? The most popular ones tend to run down the city’s Paseo de Castellana and Pintor Rosales. For the former, I would look to walk from Plaza de Cibeles up towards Plaza de Colón; the latter is one of the coolest places in the city (as mentioned above) and has loads of themed ‘terrazas’.

Most people tend to drink cubatas long glasses of rum, vodka, whiskey with coke or lemonade, as they are cheaper option to bottles of beer. Don’t forget that terrazas really kick in after 10.30 p.m. Another great place to enjoy a drink in the evening is Plaza Santa Ana – and probably cheaper. The Retiro Park can be a lovely place early in the evening and I would recommend that you try ‘horchata’ – a tiger nut/almond drink that is popular there.

There is also a very nice terraza on the Puente de Segovia bridge, which looks out towards the Almudena Cathedral and Royal Palace.

Casa de Campo – One of the coolest (temperature!) places to go is the Casa de Campo – the huge park on the east-side  west side of the city. Located around the lago (lake) you will find a number of terrace bars. Metro: Lago

Excursions
A large number of Madrileños head out of the city at weekends to their family homes in the country. Places like Segovia, Avila and El Escorial do tend to be cooler in summer but don’t forget you are in central Spain and it will still be hot. If you plan properly, there are a number of fiestas and summer fairs that go on outside the capital over these months.

Swimming Pools
There are quite a few public swimming pools around the capital – some of the details I included in an article last year – Open Air Swimming Pools in Madrid. You may also be interested in some of the Aqua Parks that are dotted around the centre:

Aquópolis San Fernando – open 12 pm-8 pm; Cost: 12.50-14 Euros (Adults), 9 Euros (Child)
Aquópolis Villanueva de la Cañada – open 12 pm-8 pm; Cost: 13-16.50 Euros (Adults), 9 Euros (Child)
Aquasur Aranjuez –  a 40-minute journey from Atocha train station to Aranjuez and a free bus ride from there to the water park. Cost: 5-15 Euros (Adults), 3-12 Euros (Child).

Veranos de la Villa – Every year the city council of Madrid puts on a huge number of events across the city, ranging from theatre and dance to classical music and puppetry for kids. Madrid’s parks, squares and streets will be taken over as culture goes out on to the streets. For more information visit the Madrid City Council site.

Vinoteca Barbechera

So the other day it was sunny, and warm,
and basically another perfect day to sit outside in the sun and do nothing at
all, except drink wine that is! With plans to meet up with friends at a later
time, my wife and I decided to head over to Plaza Santa Ana (map), for a
glass of wine and a pincho or two. Located on the eastern end of the plaza sits
Vinoteca Barbechera, a franchised bar that serves tapas, raciones, wine and
much more. It is known as a wine bar first and foremost, I suggest you keep
this in mind when you visit.

Wanting a quick snack, we ordered a couple glasses
of white wine and a few tapas. Looking at the menu you are not left without
plenty of choices, basically the same tapas you’d find at every other bar you
might visit in
Madrid. Yet what makes it worth going to, is the quality. Incredible! For
those of you who like to go out and blow a 100 Euros on dinner and have small
tastes presented in front of you of various delicacies, this is a great place
for you. For an average of 3 euros each,
you can taste your way through a plethora of small culinary treats.

Today we tried three treats:

Solomillo con Cebolla Caramelizado (Beef tenderloin
with Caramelized Onions)

Crisp toast
drizzled with good olive oil works to hold this concoction as you raise it to
your lips. As you bite into it your mouth is rewarded with tender fillet,
lightly seasoned and garnished with a candy-like caramelized onion. The best part of this dish is that any one
part would be overwhelmingly rich by itself, but as a whole, they work together
to balance each other out. As you finish you know you’ve just has a small bite
of heaven. 

Trucha ahumada con Puré de tomate y tapenada
(Smoked trout with puree of tomatoes and an olive tapenade)


Though not my
favorite today, this dish will appeal to anyone out there who is a lover of
smoked fish.

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Madrid Tapas Fair

Practically everyone who comes to Madrid will end up eating tapas – the dish that often accompanies a beer, wine or other beverage in Madrid’s bars and restaurants. Well, from today (9th June) until the 12th June, the city will be hosting its own Feria de la Tapa or Tapas Fair.

Held in the Pabellón Auxiliar Madrid Arena, in the Casa de Campo, it is open to both catering businesses and the general public and should prove an ideal opportunity to get to know one of the gastronomic delights of the city, and indeed Spain. Many of the best places to eat tapas in Madrid will be represented including ‘Chantarella’, ‘El Rincón de Goya’, ‘Las Bravas’, ‘El Almendro’, ‘La Taberna del Alabardero’, ‘Los Cigarrales’ and ‘La Montadería’. There will also be lively discussion and a competition for ‘pulling the best beer’!

Entrance is FREE and tapas only cost 1.2 Euros – a bargain!

Here is a map and directions on how to get to the Campo de Naciones

More Details
Madrid acogerá del 9 al 12 de junio una feria gastronómica dedicada a la tapa (Yahoo! España)
De tapas por la Casa de Campo (El Mundo/Metropoli)
Madrid, capital de la tapa (Es Madrid)

Related
Tapas in Madrid
My Madrid – Andrés Jarabo Perez

Food and Wine Tours of Madrid

Tour Update and Notice

As Alun has
mentioned early in my introduction, we hope in the near future to offer guided
tours of some of
Madrid’s culinary treasures. Highlighting
both well-known monuments to food and more importantly, those little known
treasures – we hope to offer a unique perspective on the food scene in
Madrid. To start with, we will be offering
2 formats for you to choose from based on your specific interests:

A Cook’s Tour
For anyone who likes to buy treats to bring
back home, or for those of you who might have a kitchen in the room you are
staying in, this is the tour for you. We will take you to 4 different shops in
Madrid, where you will have the chance to
buy some of the finest food and wine
Spain has to offer.

First, a wine shop
where we will get a chance to taste some wine while learning a little about
where it comes from and how it is made. Second, ever think that Manchego was
all
Spain had to offer as far as cheese? Well, we’ll
prove that theory wrong as we walk up the street to a cathedral of all things
cheese
. Walls lined with every type of fermented milk you can imagine.  Following this, we will move on to a chocolate
shop
whose reliquary holds some of the finest chocolates available to mortals! To round it all off, how about a stop at a Market
where you can have the chance to buy fresh ham, ripe vegetables, myriad fish, not
to mention much more.  All in all, this
3 hour tour will show you some of the finer gourmet treats
Madrid has to offer.
Cost: TBA

Tapas, Wine and Fun
Come stroll with us down Madrid’s streets stopping in at a select
few bars to try a variety of the typical flavors of
Spain. During each stop you will have a choice
of wines all of which come accompanied by tapas.  During this time you will learn something of
the history of tapas; have a chance to gather some recipes; and also learn something
about the wine regions that abound in
Spain.
Cost:TBA

While we
are in the process of setting up the dates, times and prices for these tours weI
want to make sure that no one is left out. If you are going to be in town in
the next month or are already here send us a note! We’ll work something out and
make sure that you don’t miss anything during your stay here in
Madrid!

Please
contact us at alunjohn (at) gmail.com with
any questions, or suggestions, that you might have.

Till soon,
Ryan Opaz

Tapas in Madrid

Tapas

Tapas are a great Spanish invention and now renowned all over the world. But probably no place has the variety of dishes which are available in Madrid (I expect comments on this!). My definition of a ‘tapa’ is a small plate of food which accompanies a drink, which seems to be much the same as the definition of the Real Academia Española de la Lengua. The website EsMadrid has a great guide to eating tapas in Madrid, which includes bars, restaurants and shops. Called Tapas en Madrid the Flash-enabled guide allows you to select establishments by district, with a critique and map accompanying each. The variety of tapas is exhaustive and covers everything from meats, poultry, fish, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Tapas Tours
Take a look at the Cook’s Tour and Tapas Tour we have on offer.

Related Article
My Madrid – Andrés Jarabo Perez

Mallorca gourmet food shops

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Mallorca is one of the most well-established food shops in Madrid. Established in 1931 it sells a wonderful selection of cheeses, meats, canapés, pastries and chocolates. I always find that their shop windows and interior counter displays help me to part with my money and the pastries are to die for. Try out some of them in the shop before taking a tray of assorted pastries away with with you. The shops can be found all over Madrid, including Velázquez, Serrano and Bravo Murillo. A Mallorca restaurant can be found in the Jardín de Serrano shopping centre and is very reasonable (around 22 Euros for a 3-course menu).

Corral de la Morería – Flamenco Shows

flamencoThe Corral de la Morería is often billed as one of the best flamenco shows in the world – if the list of famous personalities who have visited it are anything to go by, they certainly are. George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, Tom Jones, Samuel Jackson, Hugh Grant and Mariah carey have alll visited this famous place. Since its inauguration in 1956 it has put on shows with all the major flamenco artists like Antonio Gades, Lucero Tena and Pastora Imperio. The shows cost around 32 Euros, whilst a show plus dinner will set you back 72 Euros. Though the menus are impressive, most people would recommend going for dinner first and then on to the show.

Address: c/ Morería 17
Telephone: 91 3658446
Metro: Sol & Ópera

My Madrid – Juan Dominguez

My Madrid is a new feature on the Mad About Madrid site, where I invite people who either live in Madrid or who know the city well, to write about things they like.

juanThe first person I have asked is Juan Dominguez, a 36 year-old director of E-commerce and Business Services in Ya.com, an internet company. He also founded Viajar.com, a leading Spanish online travel agency and has his own blog, e-life. Juan was born in Guadalajara but now lives in La Moraleja, a residential neighbourhood outside Madrid.
Favourite Bar/café Del Diego (c/ de la Reina), the best cocktail bar in the world, and I am not exaggerating a bit.
Favourite Dish(es) Jamón serrano, gazpacho, torrijas.
Favourite Tapas Tortilla de patatas, calamares, or anything in Bar Santander, in c/ Augusto Figueroa (Metro Chueca).
Favourite Restaurant – El Chaflán, in c/ Pio XII. It is expensive but it is definitely worth a visit. Other places that I like are Blue Fish, in c/ San Andres, (the girls who run it are so nice), and Caripén, in plaza de la Armada Española.
Favourite Shop FNAC or, if looking for gifts or furniture, Casa Julia in c/ Barquillo

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Fast Good a new fast food concept opens in Madrid

fast_good

Last month the top Catalan chef, Ferrán Adrià, opened a new concept in fast food called ‘Fast Good’. This new outlet is located in the hotel NH Eurobuilding and aims to prove that it is possible for a fast food restaurant to provide clients with better, richer and healthier food. Two examples that are cited are: 1. the olive oil in the friers is changed every day and 2. the macedonia comes with the juice in a separate bowl to preserve the texture of the fruit! This is from the NH Hotels press release:

“..we can eat hamburgers made using beef as usual, but garnished with trocadero lettuce, tapenade sauce, or with rucula and gorgonzola, for example; the panini combine ham, asparagus or cheese with sage, pine nuts, crystallised spring onions or even foie; as for salads, we find combinations as exclusive as green beans with fingers of pâté de canard, leek with crystallised chicken and spices, or wild rice with cous-cous, rounded off with a wide selection of lettuces and fruit, always dressed with home-made sauces. Some meals come with non-frozen French fries made at once using olive oil.”

WOW! This sounds great and apparently the hotel chain plans to open up many new Fast Good outlets in the future. Looking at various sources on the web, the prices are very good, too – a meal would cost under €15.

Related Stories
NH Hotels Opens The First FAST GOOD (in English)
Adrià inventa el «fast good»
eGullet Forums

Address
Padre Damián, 23, Madrid
Metro
Cuzco

Casa Lucio – a restaurant fit for a king!

Reading an article on Lucio Blázquez, owner of the famous restaurant Casa Lucio, has prompted me to write an article on this famous restaurant. Politicians, famous actors, the King of Spain, and writers can be found eating at this restaurant which is on Madrid’s c/ Cava Baja, not far off the Plaza Mayor and which enjoys international renown. Lucio Blázquez first started out in El Schotis, a restaurant located a few doors down the street before opening up on his own. The food is very simple Castillian Fair, the most popular dish is fried eggs accompanied by french fries. Other favourites include callos (tripe), suckling pig and rice pudding (for dessert). It is reckoned that one of the secreats to their success lies with the old caol ovens in the kitchen. They also offer a very good selection of Spanish wines.

Address
c/ Cava Baja, 35
Metro
La Latina

Las Bravas – great tapas bar in Madrid

A short walk from Madrid’s Puerta del Sol you will find a bar called Las Bravas. It is a very simple bar, with standing room only and very noisy. But here you will find some of the best ‘bravas’ in Madrid. Patatas bravas are small chunks of potato, cooked like chips (fries) and served with a spicy red sauce. There are a chain of bars like this across Madrid and the sign inside the bar proudly says that they have patented the recipe for the sauce! I would also recommend the calamares and tortilla, which is served with the bravas sauce, too. At night it is a busy place which echoes to the sound of the waiters shouting: “unas bravas”. It is a good place to start the evening before moving on to Plaza Santa Ana.

Address: C/ Álvarez Gato 3
Metro: Sol

Café de Oriente

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The Café de Oriente enjoys one of the finest views of any eating/drinking establishment in Madrid. It is situated in the Plaza de Oriente, and is directly opposite the Royal Palace and next to the Opera House. The café is a great place to have a mid-afternoon coffee, or even a hot chocolate and to look out over the plaza. Given the style of its interior, it is hard to believe that it opened in 1983 – it certainly looks like it was built at the turn of the 20th century or even earlier. However, in the cellars/vaults, where the restaurant is situated, you will see the remains of the 17th century convent of San Gil. During the summer its open terrace is a great place for people watching. The menus may be a bit pricey but it is still possible to enjoy a menú del día for under 10 Euros.

Address: Plaza de Oriente, 2
Metro: Ópera

See also: Madrid Restaurants