Democrats Abroad – 4th July Celebration in Madrid

I got an email last week from the Democrats Abroad asking me to publish details of their 4th July celebration. Here’s what they’ll be getting up to:

Don’t miss out on the hamburgers, bar-b-que and 4th of July fun just because you are in Madrid. Join the Democrats Abroad for their annual all-American Independence Day party – the best 4th of July party in Madrid!

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the celebration, which starts at 7 pm on (you guessed it) Wednesday, July 4th. The party features live rock and roll music by the popular Madrid band, Angie Herna and Soul Fingers. Admission is free.

Authentic Texas bar-b-que – including hamburgers, ribs, steak and chicken – will be on offer from Ribs Restaurant. The party will take place on the outdoor terrace of Ribs Gregorio Benítez at the Arturo Soria Plaza (metro: Arturo Soria).

A Silent Auction will be held at the party to raise funds to support the activities of Democrats Abroad throughout the upcoming year…a very important one on the political calendar. Among the items to be auctioned are: baskets of wine, gourmet foods, massages, and handcrafted jewelry.

Location: Ribs Restaurant
Address: Gregorio Benítez, 4
Arturo Soria Plaza
Madrid (Metro: Arturo Soria)
Time: 7pm – 11 pm
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Free Admission
For further information please contact:
Sean Ansett – 667 724 385

Have fun!


Top Dishes from Top Metrópoli

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!

Madrid’s Open Air Pools Are, Well, Open!

This post comes a little late (3 weeks to be exact) but I suppose better late than never. It is a little known fact, to foreigners of course!, that Madrid has a number of municipal, open-air, swimming pools which open their doors to the public from around June to September. The entrance fee is cheap, around 4 Euros for the day, and all have facilities like restaurants and bars. Though you will find them dotted around the city and region, the nearest ones to the centre can be found in the Casa de Campo (one stop from Plaza de Espana), Rios Rosas and near ‘Cuatro Caminos’. My favourite has to be the third one.

Piscina Municipal Casa de Campo

Tel: 91463.00.50

Avda. del Ángel, s/n. Madrid
Metro: Casa de Campo

Piscina Municipal Francos Rodríguez

Tel: 91 459.98.71

Calle de Numancia, 1. Madrid

Instalaciones Deportivas Canal de Isabel II
Avda. Islas Filipinas, 54
Metro: Ríos Rosas
Tel: 91 554 51 53

Palacio de Linares to Remain Open Until October

Palacio de Linares Wikipedia

One of Madrid’s most emblematic palaces, the Palacio de Linares, will keep its doors open until October. The Palace, which can be found on one corner of the Plaza de Cibeles,  dates from the 19th Century and is well-known for its beautiful architecture and exquisite interior. It also has an interesting history and is said to even have its own ghosts. The story of the palace and its owners is actually very sad. The palace was built by the Marqués de Linares for both himself and his wife. His father had educated him to choose a wife without consideration of her financial or social class. This he did and he married the tobacconist’s daughter. What he didn’t know was that his father had had a relationship with the mother and his wife was the result!  He only found out when his dying father, God bless him!, sent him a letter to inform him of the situation.

The Pope at the time, Leo XIII had to issue a papal bull which allowed them to live together but in chastity. In order to forget the shame the Marqués threw all his energy into the building of his palace, where budgets and time had no constraints. The Marqués and his wife told the architect that they would like the Palace to be split in two, with him taking the ground floor and the wife the upper floor. What is interesting is that they didn’t have a kitchen, but instead relied on food being delivered from Lhardy, a Madrid restaurant which still operates today!

Opening Times
Saturdays: 11am to 1pm
Sundays: 11am to 1pm
Mondays: 3pm to 5pm

6 Euros for Adults; 2 Euros for Retired people; students 3 Euros and Under 12’s Free.

Casa de América

Related Links
Photos on 20Minutos Website
Walk the Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos

Madrid Hotels and Other Accommodation with Swimming Pools

Kris_alcalaI have published this article before on this site but, given the time of year, thought I would re-publish it again – I will make modifications to it to reflect prices and additional hotels. Given the intense, summer heat in Madrid these may well be great options for this time of year. By the way the links are to a website of which I am an affiliate (
which means I get a small commission for each hotel booked).

Emperador Hotel
– this 4-star hotel is situated on Madrid’s famous Gran Vía and its roof-top swimming pool offers spectacular views out across the Madrid skyline. The hotel is well-located near the main tourist spots of the city. Prices start from 120 Euros.

City Center – Sol

Estudio Luna (apartment) from 55 Euros
Apartamento Sol (apartment) from 65 Euros

City Center – Las Cortes

Hotel Urban Grand Luxe ***** (hotel) from 193 Euros (how much?!!)
Hotel Villa Real   ***** (hotel) from 139 Euros

Near City Center – Moncloa-Argüelles

Hotel Husa Princesa ***** (hotel) from 106 Euros
Hotel Husa Moncloa **** (hotel) from 60 Euros

Near Airport – IFEMA

Hotel High Tech Madrid Aeropuerto **** (hotel) from 86 Euros
Hotel Auditorium **** (hotel) from 75 Euros

North City Center – Chamartín

Aparthotel Husa Mirador de Chamartín **** 64 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Miraflores de la Sierra

Hotel Palacio Miraflores ***** (hotel) from 120 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Alcobendas

Hotel Amura Alcobendas **** (hotel) from 86 Euros

Outside Madrid: West: Moncloa-Aravaca

Hotel Eurostars Zarzuela Park **** (hotel) from 53 Euros

Outside Madrid: North: Navacerrada

Hotel Husa Arcipreste de Hita **** (hotel) from 71 Euros
Hotel La Barranca *** (hotel) from 65 Euros

Outside Madrid: East: Alcalá de Henares

Hotel Kris Alcalá *** (hotel) from 101 Euros

Related Articles
Madrid’s Municipal Swimming Pools Open This Weekend

Van Gogh Exhibition Opens in Madrid

From tomorrow, 12th June 2007, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Musuem will be exhibiting paintings created by Vincent Van Gogh in the last 3 months of his life at Auvers-sur-Oise, France. He painted a total of 72 paintings in 70 days and even painted until the last day of his life! This exhibition brings together 30 works of art – 27 paintings and 3 drawings and will run until the 16th September, 2007.

If you’d like to know more about Vincent Van Gogh’s life, and final few months, go look where everyone else looks: Wikipedia.

Madrid Flamenco Recommendations from the Independent

The Independent newspaper yesterday published an interesting article by Chris Sullivan, where he explores Madrid’s Flamenco scene. He was even lucky enough to meet up with Joaquín Cortés, Spain’s most famous flamenco dancer – well, it looks like this opportunity to meet him was the main reason he went to Madrid. He recounts his experience of going to places like El Arco de Cuchilleros, the famous Café de Chinitas and the Corral de la Moreria and being mildly disappointed – his words, not mine!

Still in search of what he calls true flamenco he ended up going to Cardomomo, where Joaquín Cortés-like people performed and watched the spectacle. The next night he actually met Joaquín Cortés at Casa Patas, where he watched the evening’s show. Cortés told him that, "Madrid is where some of the best flamenco is found in Spain." Chris Sullivan finally ended up going to a place, recommended by Cortes, called Candela "an old rough bar that looked just like the other old rough bars in Lavapies" and where he finally found what he had been looking for.

This article certainly seems to have dug under the surface and recommends some of the less-touristy flamenco options available in Madrid.

More information can be found on the Independent –  Last dance saloon: Step into Madrid’s authentic flamenco scene.

My Madrid – Candy Lee Laballe

6a00d8341cb24853ef00e54f2a1ccb8834-640wiI haven’t done a My Madrid article for a while and was actually prompted to invite the next “interviewee” by the person herself! She is quite direct. Well, anyway Candy Lee Laballe came to Madrid on a whim in 1997 and stayed for two years. She left to pursue the “American Dream,” found it in Boston, and proceeded to become completely depressed. In her own words she says,

“after much soul-searching, I realized the only solution was moving back to Madrid. I had fallen in love with Madrid hard and being away from what you love is no way to live. I moved back to Madrid full time in January 2003 where I have been truly living a dream ever since. People always ask me how long I’ll stay here. I figure I have about 40 years to go.

Candy recently published Moon Spain for Avalon Publishing, a 900-page guide book to Spain. She says:3224430

It was a great experience and also a lot of work. Though there are several guidebooks on Spain in the market, I believe mine is different because I made an effort to share my love of Spain and Spanish culture with the readers.

Currently, she is doing some freelance writing including a monthly travel column for The Broadsheet. She is also about to launch MBA Spain, an MBA consultancy for Spanish students who want to attend top MBA programs.

Here are questions I asked Candy. Sit back and enjoy some of the great recommendations!

What is your favourite bar/café?

There is absolutely no way I can keep this to just one….so, for ambiance, good mojama (smoked tuna back), and flowing oloroso sherry, La Venencia on C/ Echegaray; for a funky vibe and great gin-tonics, Bodega Maxi in Lavapies; for the only old-fashioneds worth drinking outside of New Orleans, Del Diego on C/Reina.

What is your favourite dish?
Oh, so many to choose from. I guess I’d have to say paella, but only if it is done right….preferably by my friend Juan Negrillo from Valencia, and it has to have the socorat, the browned, burned bits of rice along the bottom of the pan. Another dish I can’t live without is salmorejo, the bread-thickened gazpacho native to Córdoba. I love it so much that I am serving it as the first course at my wedding in September. In the winter, I crave fabada asturiana….beans, morcilla, and chorizo, OH MY!

What is your favourite tapas?
Pan tumaca con jamón…..a thick slab of bread rubbed with olive
oil and tomato and topped with jamón….mmmmmmm. When I returned to
Spain to live in January 2003, I went straight from the airport to the
the Museo del Jamón on C/Mayor and ordered a big ole slab of it, ate it
right there with my suitcase at my side….it was a very delicious
welcome home. Now, I have my own jamón leg on my kitchen counter, so I
eat pan tumaca nearly every day!!

Read more

It’s Nice To Receive Thanks!

I normally leave blog comments where they belong – either on a blog article or in the bin! – but this time I thought I’d share this everyone. On a wet, miserable day in Wales, it was nice to open this email this morning:

What a delightful experience! An authentic spanish bar with delicious food, delicious wine and perfect atmosphere. I loved it because I was with my spanish husband and felt we really were in Madrid as we did not bump into a whole bunch of tourists.
Thank you for allowing me to be there!

The author of this was referring to Casa Labra – thanks Gabrielle for your kind words!

Planeta Vino – Madrid Wine Blog


I wrote an article going back about a year – Wine Dinner At Restaurante Memento – about an event which was organised between Memento restaurant and Planeta Vino, a wine tasting company from Madrid. Well, I just chanced on Planeta Vino’s weblog and thought I would share it with visitors. Mary O’Connor updates the blog and offers some great tips on wines from Spain (and even outside), along with some good restaurant, bar and wine bar recommendations. Worth a look!

Madrid Tapas Fair – Sample Local Cuisine

The Annual Feria de la Tapa takes place from the 30th May to the 3rd June, 2007 in the Palacio de Deportes. The idea is to offer visitors the full range of tapas available to the public from local Madrilenian businesses. Entry is free and visitors will be ale to sample tapas and drinks at reduced prices. If you’re an outsider it’s a great opportunity to sample the breadth of tapas available to the public in Madrid – there are both traditional and ‘innovative’ tapas on offer.

Address: C/ Jorge Juan, 99
Metro: Goya

Madrid Flamenco Festival – Suma Famenca – Returns for 2nd Year

This week sees the start of Suma Flamenca, a Flamenco Festival put on by the Madrid City Council. It brings together some of the biggest names in Flamenco and offers the possibility of seeing dance, singing and instrumental shows. Some of the hottest names in Flamenco will be in town this week, including José Menese, Enrique Morente, El Güito, Sara Baras, José Mercé, Serranito, Tomatito and Carmen Linares

The shows will take place both within Madrid, in venues such as Teatro Albéniz, Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Fundación Olivar del Castillejo and there will also be events held in Madrid’s surrounding areas. Top Flamenco venues such as El Corral de la Morería, Café de Chinitas and Casa Patas will also be holding special shows.

The festival runs from the 7th – 26th May, 2007; take a look at the Suma Flamenca website to find out about the shows and calendar.

Angelika Cinema Lounge Madrid

Angelika Cinema Lounge
There’s a bar/cafe down on Madrid’s Cava Baja that I have walked past on a number of occasions – never actually going into it, until now. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it – a video selection as you walked in, high stools around a bar, a smart Apple monitor also behind the bar and plasma TV screens showing popular films (last week they were showing Volver).

Well, last week I went out for a few drinks with my wife, her brother-in-law and his wife and we ventured in. Angelika Cinema Lounge is very different to your typical Spanish bar – firstly, there is a no-smoking policy (don’t get me started on the ridiculous no-smoking policies in Madrid!), secondly, you can hire a DVD from their superb selection of films and thirdly, the bar staff at Angelika are acting professionals, who you can ask film advice of.

Though we went in there late I can still remember that they were playing the Bill Murray film Lost in Translation! Films are projected on plasma screens around the bar and, from what I can gather, they all use the original soundtrack (no dubbing). Angelika offers a wide range of drinks and food – coffees, teas, spirits and some great pastries. As it was so late I had a gin and tonic, which from my perspective (at around 2 a.m.!) seemed to be very carefully prepared – gin poured over ice and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon – delicious!

It also offers a free wi-fi zone and I can’t think of more pleasant surroundings to do some work, or even to surf. On different days they offer screenings, short films and cinema debates.


Address: Cava Baja 24, 28005 Madrid, Spain

Telephone: 913 645 531
Web Address: