Top Dishes from Top Metrópoli

metropoli top 10
Here are some mouth-watering suggestions of dishes to eat and restaurants where to eat them in Madrid. Every month El Mundo, one of Spain’s foremost newspapers, puts a selection of restaurants where you can eat a certain type of dish on to its Metrópoli section. Here are a list of recent additions to its Top Metrópoli section:

Pasta con Marisco – Quite simply Pasta with shellfish!

Terrinas marineras – Seafood terrines

Lasaña creativa -Don’t think this needs a translation. A good selection here of 11 restaurants.

Espaguetis boloñesa – Sticking with the Italian theme another fine selection of restaurants to eat this Italian dish

Bonito – a delicious fish from the tuna family. Very popular in Spain.

Mero – this fish is apparently called Grouper Fish in English and can often be found in fish markets in Spain

Sopa de pescado tradicional – Traditional fish soup – made with a good selection of fish.

Sopas exóticas de pescado – Here’s a selection of Far Eastern restaurants offering "exotic" fish soup.

Platos con chucrut – once more stepping out if Spain here we have a selection of restaurants that serve Sauerkraut. A personal recommendation on this list would be Edelweiss.

Goxua – let’s finish off this selection with a dessert. Goxua is a Galician Basque (oh bugger! I got this completely wrong thanks Paloma) dish generally made of sponge, cream and liquid caramel. Correct me if I’m wrong!

December Suggestions from Metrópoli

15o Planes

Metrópoli has a really good guide to what you can do in Madrid this December – it is in Spanish, though. They have come up with 150 suggestions for what you can do in the coming weeks – eat, drink, be merry and much more. Interestingly, they have broken them down into 15 categories – based on different types of personality. These range from the sportsman (woman), the art lover, the over 65’s, under 18’s, the shopaholics, singles, and a good few more. There are some really cool suggestions here – there is even a category for those who think they’re cool!!

Summer Suggestions From El Pais

Just came across a guide on the El Pais website about things that you can do in Madrid over summer. It includes some neat little video clips of some of the city’s attractions, including the Plaza de ventas, the Aquariem, Xanadu, Parque de Attraciones (fun fair), the Botanic gardens and one on Madrid’s terrazas. There is a link on the main page to EP3 which gives details on upcoming events going on in the city.

Madrid’s Popular Local Dishes, Recipes, Foods and Places to Eat

Olives from Campo RealFor those who don’t yet know – and there may be some – Madrid is one fantastic, gastronomic experience. Putting aside the Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai restaurants that most major cities have, Madrid offers some of the very best "Spanish" restaurants that you will find in Spain.

The costas of Spain may well be renowned for frozen, packaged and processed food but in Madrid some of the only places that dish this sort of food up are the foreign, American burger and fast food joints. Interestingly, one of Spain’s top chefs, Ferrán Adriá, opened a new fast food concept called "Fast Good" just over 2 years ago – the idea being to offer fresh, quality, fast food.

I don’t have much experience of other capital cities but I do know that Madrid offers a very broad selection of regional food from around the country: from Basque and Galician to Valencian, Andalucian and Madrileño.

Here are some starting points for those who want to sample ‘local’ cuisine.

sopa de ajoEsMadrid offers its guide to Madrileñan cooking, though admittedly it is all in Spanish. Here you can find some of the Madrid region’s favourite dishes: Cocido Madrileño (stew), Callos a la Madrileña (sort of tripe with beans), Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Tortilla de Patata (no need to translate), Bacalao a la Madrileña (Salted Cod in a sauce) and Potaje de Garbanzos (chick pea stew). The guide even includes recipes and points you in the direction of some typical Madrileñan bars/restaurants, like Malacatín, La Bola, La Posada de la Villa, Don Cocido, Casa Carola and L
a Taberna de Daniela.

This site also has some good suggestions about ‘asadores’ (grill houses) where you can eat the culinary delights of the Basque-Navarre and Castilian regions. Some of suggestions are plain mouth-watering: suckling pig, bream, Basque Hake, sardines and cod, with many of the suggested restaurants frequented by film, sporting and political celebrities.

NOTE: Some of EsMadrid’s pages don’t work too well in Firefox (like the one above) and you will have to use Internet Explorer to view them!!!

Spain.info is the Spanish Tourist Board website, and a very good one it is, too. The site offers its guide to both food products and dishes from the Madrid region, including:

Olives from Campo Real
Chinchón White Garlic
Anis from Chinchón

Beef from the Guadarrama Mountains
Asparagus from Aranjuez
Madrid virgin olive oil

and some popular dishes from the region:

Garlic soup
Madrid ‘cocido’ (meat, potato and chickpea stew)
Madrid ‘Torrijas’  (bread pudding)

Madrid tripe
Madrid-style baked red bream
Potato omelette

It also has some suggestion, taken from the Campsa Guide of places where you can eat.

By the way if you’d like to try out some of the recipes of Spain’s most famous ‘TV’ chef, Karlos Arguiñano, I would suggest you visit his website: La cocina de Karlos Arguiñano, where you will find at least a few hundred Spanish recipes – be aware it is all in Spanish!

Madrid Challenge
Try not to eat or drink in any of the international chains: Mc Donald’s, Starbucks, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc. The food will be much better and at least you will be immersing yourself in the local culture and food.

Related Articles
Fast Good a new fast food concept opens in Madrid


Wine Dinner At Restaurante Memento

Restaurant Memento
I have blogged about both Catavino, Ryan Opaz’s excellent wine website, and Restaurante Memento, a Californian Fusion Restaurant in Madrid. Well, it looks like they have hooked up with  Planeta Vino to organise a  wine tasting evening. The event takes place on Monday 26th June, 2006 though I’m sure they will be doing more of the same in coming months. Here is a breakdown of what’s on offer next Monday (from Planeta Vino):

Spanish Classics:  A New Interpretation
A
gourmet four course meal with a different wine matched to each course.
Each course will be given comments by myself and Ryan of Catavino, who
is also one of the chefs. Memento’s talented American chef will offer
you a new take on some classic Spanish cuisine, Spain with a touch of
California!  This will be a great evening of food and wine for only
55€!    The dinner will start around 930 but feel free to come around 9
for a pre-dinner drink!

Certainly sounds like it could be a good night out!

Open Air Terraces in Madrid

If you’ve been to Madrid or lived there, you will know that  eating out in the summer is one of the great  Madrid treats. You will find bars and restaurants across the city from where you can sit out and watch the world going by. Generally speaking, the Madrid terrazas open their doors in June and extend through the hot summer months to September. El Mundo‘s Metropoli magazine has a neat supplement which idetifies the best places to eat out ‘in the shade’ over the coming months. They offer their ‘ten novelty’ places to eat for 2006, the 50 best places (by barrio) and 15 places to eat on the outskirts of Madrid.

If you’re just looking for some terraza to have a beer or cool drink, try out the bars on the Castellana or on the Paseo del Pintor Rosales.

View the Madrid Restaurants section of this site.

Bullfight-Related Bars and Restaurants in Madrid

bullfighter
Here’s an article – Dos orejas, rabo… y una de callos – that I first came across about a year ago in Metropoli. Given that then, like now, it was around the time of the San Isidro Festival, they thought that they would write an article on the best taurine-related (bullfight) bars and restaurants in Madrid. On this list you will find two of Madrid’s oldest eating (and drinking!) establishments – Casa Alberto and La Taberna de Antonion Sánchez – dating from 1827 and 1830, respectively.

There is also one fantastic place – El Rincón de Jerez – which offers good Andalucian food and where, every night at 11 pm., they dim the lights and sing to the Virgin Maria. One place called, New Street (Spanish in all but name!), even serves up the a dish of bull’s tail from one of the bulls which fought the day before.

Translation Tool
Use the Google Translation Tool for a rough translation.

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.

More on Restaurante Memento

Memento3

Just had an email from Karen Bell who runs Restaurante Memento, the restaurant that I wrote about last week, with some more detail and an image of the place.

Memento is a small restaurant of 30 seats in the center of Madrid,
in the neighborhood of Alonso
Martinez. The decor is modern without being cold. The objective of
Memento is to serve high quality food and wine within a relaxed
atmosphere. The food is Californian cuisine which places an emphasis on
seasonality and the quality of ingredients. The menu changes often,
every two months. The food could be
considered "international" or "creative" as it has influences and
flavors from all over the world. There
is also a list of special fusion cocktails- cucumber cosmopolitan,
passion fruit caipraihina, or pomegranate Manhattan.

Sounds fantastic!

Restaurante Memento Opens in Madrid

I quite often get emails from people recommending places to eat, exhibitons to look out for and concerts to go to. Well, I think I’m going to start posting them directly on to the site and placing them into a new category, let’s call it "Visitor Recommendations".

Here’s the first one from Adrienne Smith, who used to run a very popular restaurant called Bluefish and who is now training to be a sommelier in Madrid. 

I wanted to let you know that another American named Karen Bell just opened a new place called Restaurante Memento, on calle Caracas 1.  It is off of Santa Engracia in Alonso Martinez, and I have to say that I have eaten there twice in two days, and it is absolutely fantastic. 

In her latish 20s, (so I have heard) Karen was a chef at quite a few well known restaurants in San Franscisco, studied in culinary school in the states and Paris, and has been working at the also American restaurant TOMA in Conde Duque for the last 2 years.  She is the chef owner of this new place and I have to say that the food is really really out of this world.  California cuisine, seasonal, all fresh, amazing wines and creative cocktails (cucumber cosmo etc.), and just excellent.

If anyone goes there, please let me know what you think.

Read the Update on Restaurante Memento.

Casa de Aragón Restaurant

Casadearagon_1
As mentioned on a quite a few occasions on this site, it is well worth trying out Spain’s famous "menu del día". Whilst wandering around the Castellana last month, I took a shortcut to the area around Republica Argentina to try and locate a restaurant I went to in my ‘youth’! This part of Madrid is mainly residential, even though it is a stone’s throw from Nuevos Ministerios, and is very wealthy with quite a few embassies, consulates and private colleges located here. It is also one of the few areas in the city centre which has 2, 3 and 4-story houses/buildings.

It didn’t take much to find the restaurant – Casa de Aragón – as it is located on one of the corners of the Plaza de la República Argentina. It is a great place to have lunch (and no doubt dinner) and visitors can choose either the terrace or indoors. I opted for menú del día the popular lunchtime meal which includes bread and a drink (often a bottle of wine). The menu del día is a great Spanish invention and given its reasonable price, starting from around 6 Euros, means it is enjoyed by people from all walks of life – the day I went there were workmen in their blue overalls, businessmen in elegant suits, pensioners and young students.

When I went the starters on offer were lentils or Aragonese salad, followed by Spanish meatballs (with fries) or small red mullets; the dessert I selected was Galician Almond cake (Tarta de Santiago) though the selection went up to around 6 items. I had a beer but could have ordered a bottle of house red wine. The price for this ‘home-made’ meal was around 8-9 Euros, which is in most people’s books is damn good value. Just on the other side of the Plaza you will find the excellent Arturo restaurant and on another corner the Atalaya restaurant – both offer good value menús del día.

New Reina Sofía Extension Opens

Reina_sofia

Last week the Queen of Spain, Doña Sofía, opened the new extensions of the Museo Reina Sofía. The project, which was designed by architect Jean Nouvel cost 90 million Euros and has added an extra 55% to the size of the museum. The Museo Reina Sofía forms part of Madrid’s Golden Triangle (the others being the Museo Thysssen and the Prado) and houses some of the most important modernist art in the world – Picasso’s famous painting "Guernica" is permanently exhibited here.

The Reina Sofía Museum now features two buildings: the old Sabatini building and the new Nouvel extension – making it one of the largest modern art museums in the world. Jean Nouvel has created 3 buildings – a temporary exhibition hall, a library, an auditorium and a restaurant – which are all contained under one huge canopy. The library currently has 100,000 books and can house up to 200,000, whilst the auditorium can seat up to 450 people.

The restaurant, called Arola, comes under the direction of Michelin 2-star chef Sergi Arola. Arola, who spent some 6 years at Ferrán Adrià’s restaurant El Bulli (recently nominated #2 restaurant in the world), has split the eating area into 3 sections: a bar, café and restaurant; he would like to make sure that Arola is cheap and chic!

Related Articles
Fast Good a new fast food concept opens in Madrid
The Prado Museum
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

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.

Read more

Fresc Co – Madrid’s Fresh Fast Food Alternative

Frescco

Though the US has exported its ‘delightful’ fast-food concept across the word (Spain unfortunately has not managed to escape this onslaught), quite a few companies have sprouted up around Spain which prove that fast food needless be crap food. Fresc Co is one such example. The company, established in 1992, now has five restaurants across Madrid. Though the food is not exactly your typical Spanish fare, it is fast, good and reasonably cheap.

Fresc Co offers diners a self-service option where they can select from a range of fresh salads, pastas, pizzas, homemade soups, bread and fresh fruit desserts (you can actually see the pizzas being made on the premises) and eat as much as they want. The day that I went there cod was on the menu. Included in the meal you will also have a drink (beer, water, wine or a fizzy drink) and coffee. And all of this for 7.4 € lunchtime and 9.4 € in the evenings. Though I far prefer traditional Spanish food, I must admit that this place did make for a nice change.

You can find Fresc Co in:

C/ Sagasta, 30 – Metro Alonso Martínez

C/ Las Fuentes, 12 – Metro Ópera

C/  Narváez, 9 – Metro  Goya

C/ Caballero de Gracia, 8 – Metro Gran Vía
C/ Silva 8 – Metro Santo Domingo or Callao

Great Value Madrid – Menú del Día (Menu of the day)

If you’re want lunch in Madrid, then you should look out for the excellent value Menú del Día (or menu of the day). Most Spanish bars and restaurants offer the Menú del Día which includes a starter, main course and dessert (or coffee). All three courses offer a variety of plates and they also include a drink, be it a beer, coke or sometimes wine – I have been to many places where a whole bottle is offered! Prices are usually very cheap – between 7 and 15 Euros. You should look out for the ‘A’ signs (boards) which are displayed outside bars and restaurants for details of what’s on offer. Even places like the Café de Oriente offer the Menú del Día for around 12 Euros – I love going to the Bar Alameda on C/ Recoletos where you can get a great meal for 7/8 Euros.