Category Archives: My Madrid

My Madrid – Rosa Jiménez Cano

rosa>Rosa Jiménez Cano has lived in Madrid since she was a child. She lived in Coslada, a neighbourhood of Madrid, until she finshed Secondary School but once she started university she discovered that "I just slept in Coslada… But I lived in Madrid, the city I love. Right now, I’m moving to a new flat in Tablas de Montecarmelo in the north of the city."

Rosa works as a journalist in El Pais, although she is also known as a blogger. Her interests are reading, internet, photos, travelling, and journalism, and she maintains and co-writes for a number of sites: Les Cent Jours, Periodismo Ciudadano, Ahora Bolivia… With a friendo Paco Polo she has just published a book about blogs, called "La Gran Guía de los Blogs 2008". Rosa intends to make this a yearly edition, telling people what has happened in the blogosphere every year and explaining who’s who in, as she puts it "the tiny but pretty world."

This is her Madrid:

What is your favourite bar/Café? La Bardemcilla en Chueca, it’s a great place to stay and chat with friends. Tapas has a "home made" taste difficult to find.

What is your favourite dish? A kind of little beans called "Carillas" but just my granma’s secret recipe. 😉 I don’t any restaurant that cooks them. It’s a shame.

What is your favourite tapas? Bravas, and they’re always a surprise. It depends on the bar you can find a different style. I love them.

What is your favourite restaurant? Picanha,they hace just five or six different dishes, but all them, specially meat picanha tastes so natural and high quality. The service is reakky kind. All them are from Brazil.

What is your favourite shop? Well, more than a shop is a megastore: fnac. But I’m sure it has to be banned. I do always fall and buy a gadget I don’t need there.

What is your favourite season? Summer. Definitely, summer in Madrid is great. You have the best of the city with places to leave your car, open air cinema and loads of "terrazas" to have a drink with friends.

What is your favourite barrio? Centro. I love walking in the city. Well, my best friends live between Moncloa and Chamberí, so, i go there very often.

What is your favourite building? The "Metropolis" one, between Gran Vía and Calle Alcalá.

A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would ….be any night, you never know what it’s going to happen.

What is your favourite walk? From Atocha to Cibeles, and the all gran vía until Callao. Then Puerta del Sol, and a final walk to Plaza Mayor.

What is your favourite Spanish-related book? La Tesis de Nancy, by Ramón J. Sender, funny and wel written. It’s about a young English girl who comes to study in Franco’s Spain. She finds lots of cultural changes.

Best Day Trip: Mmm, really  difficult to answer. Toledo or Salamanca, Both are great cities.

What does Madrid mean to you? The place where I’d like to finish my days.

A piece of advice for visitors: Let it happen!

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!!

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My Madrid – Marina Diez

6a00d8341cb24853ef00e54f5670288833-640wiFor this feature of My Madrid I have invited another Madrileño (well, Madrileña actually!) to answer some questions on the things they like about Madrid. Marina Diez was born in, and still lives in, Madrid – at the moment she lives just south of the Retiro park near Mariano de Cavia. She married an Englishman, Ben, who “works as a translator, web designer and writer” and works as a consultant for an IT company – she is currently working on a project for a Satelitte control center.

notes_from_spain_1 In her spare time she works with Ben on the very popular (and very good) Notes from Spain website, which features podcasts and blog articles about Madrid and Spain. Marina is actually in charge of the Cuisine from Spain podcast on the site. If you haven’t listened to their podcasts yet, take some time to listen to them – they’re well worth it!

What is your favourite bar/café? At this time of the year (May) the best are the terrazas, specially the ones in the Retiro park and La Latina.
What is your favourite dish? I wish it was cocido, which is one of specialities from Madrid but it’s
not. It’s tortilla de patata and fabada (bean stew).
What are your favourite tapas? Tortilla de patata, ham, croquetas, broken eggs, prawns, empanadillas, pimientos del pardon…everything except pigs’ ear!
What is your favourite restaurant? I like a very simple Asturian restaurant called Casa Hortensia on c/ Farmacia nº 2.
What is your favourite shop? I like the food market behind the Plaza Mayor, it’s called the Mercado de San Miguel, and is worth the visit.
What is your favourite season? Spring, though autumn is said to be the best in Madrid.
What is your favourite barrio? La Latina and the Retiro area.
What is your favourite building? The Italian Embassy in c/Velazquez, as a child I always said to my
father that that is where I’d like to live.
A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would … start with some tapas, but in the Spanish way, one drink and one tapa in each place and visiting at least 4 or 5 places. Followed by a drink in a terraza in La Latina with a nice view of the old buildings and churches.
What is your favourite walk? A walk in the Retiro park on a week day is quiet and relaxing. I also
like walking from La Latina towards the Plaza Mayor and then down to the Royal Palace.
What is your favourite Spanish-related book? That has to be Errant in Iberia by my husband Ben, as it’s dedicated to me!
Best Day Trip: There is something magic about El Escorial, but I also think Chinchón is a very interesting one, as its plaza makes you feel like you are traveling in time.
What does Madrid mean to you? Home, and also a great place to go out and have either a relaxed or a crazy time.
A piece of advice for visitors
– When looking for a restaurant, stay away from the most touristy areas (for example the Plaza Mayor has very nice views for a drink, but food is pricey and usually not good). Get lost in the little streets around it and you will find really interesting places to eat.

My Madrid – Haroula Spyropoulos

6a00d8341cb24853ef00e54f50e0a48833-640wiFor the latest instalment of "My Madrid", I have invited Haroula Spyropoulos, a Fulbright Fellow who comes from Chicago to take part. Haroula is curently involved in teaching, writing and working on a film project, which was part of the reason for her getting a grant to come to Spain. She has worked in the theatre world all her life (in Chicago) and has also lived in LA, working for a production company. She lives in c/Huertas in Madrid, right next to her favourite part of the city – Plaza Santa Ana. I hope that she will shortly be contributing to Mad About Madrid – watch this space!

Favourite Bar/Cafe: Cuevas del Sesamo on c/Principe

Favourite Dish: Cocido Madrileño

Favourite Tapas: Patatas bravas

Favourite restaurant: for Spanish food I like Maceiras on c/ Huertas –
they have the best patatas bravas and sangria. For non-Spanish food I
recommend Thai Gardens on c/ Jorge Juan, or De Maria for great
Argentine steaks.

Favourite Shop: Well, Zara, of course!  I like Scooter as well, on c/
Jorge Juan, and Top Shop in Sol
Favourite Season: Haven’t been here long enough to experience all of
them, but I prefer spring thus far

Favourite Barrio: ‘Las Letras’ or Huertas. I like that it has
historically been the theatrical and literary center of the city

Favourite Building: Palacio Linares

Ideal night out: In Malasana walking from one place to another

Great Music: Populart on c/ Huertas and Sala Clamores on c/
Albequerque for jazz, Cardamomo on c/ Echegaray for flamenco and

Favourite Clubs: I always like Mondo. Coppelia for techno/electronic.
Pacha for dancing…
Favourite Walk: Along Cava Baja in La Latina or Alcala to Retiro

Favorite Book about Spain: ‘Death in the Afternoon’ by Hemingway

Best Day Trip: Toledo

A Selection of My Madrid Articles

As many of you are aware I often ask people to take part in the "My Madrid" section of my site, where people let us know about their favourite foods, bars, restaurants, walks of Madrid and even seasons. Well, here is a complete selection of people who have taken part so far. I hope you enjoy them!



































Andres Beverley Vicen Simon
Andres Beverley Vicen Simon
Juan Susana Roger Carolina
Juan Susana Roger Carolina
Juan anuel Fran Pereza
Juan Manuel Fran Pereza

My Madrid: Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter is the 27 year-old editor of InMadrid, billed as Madrid’s No.1 English Language Publication, who hails from Essex but now lives on the Gran Vía. He has been writing for the magazine for five years, and editing it for a year. Since he first arrived in Madrid he has taught English, worked at a record company, been a recruitment consultant and done PR for one of Madrid’s biggest club nights, Mondo. In addition, he also DJ’s once a month in AntiCafé (c/únion, 2).

Favourite Bar/Café – El Tigre, c/Infantas. The only place where you can
Granada-style tapas for free.
Favourite Dish(es) – Lentejas or anything with big, juicy gambas.

Favourite Tapas – Bonito con pimiento, jamón de bellota and really tasty

Favourite Restaurant – Embarrasingly, one of my favourite places in Madrid is Fresc Co – I can’t get enough of that all-you-can-eat salad. For a more traditional meal though, it has to be Casa Mingo or La Comunista in Chueca.

Favourite Shop – The butcher’s on calle Colón where I buy large chunks of delicious duck paté every month.
Favourite Building – The LaSGAE building – it’s the closest Madrid gets to Gaudí.

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My Madrid – Andrés Jarabo Perez

AndresjaraboAndrés Jarabo was born in the nothern part of the Madrid province, wher he lived most of his life. At the age of 27 he started making car trips to the city center fascinated by a ‘secret’ neighborhood known as Hapsburg Madrid. Currently he struggles to combine his accountancy career with the social and gastronomic events he has been organizing for the past five years in Hapsburg Madrid – Andres is behind the popular Walks of Madrid wine and restaurant tours. Recently, and backed up by his family, he was made partner in an important Hapsburg restaurant – La Taperia de la Abuela – where we throws most of his events. Andrés is currently promoting his new Madrid Tapas Parade – an introduction to the finest Spanish tapas.
Favourite Bar/Café – La Taberna de Antonio Sanchez [ed: reputed to be the oldest bar in Madrid] on a hot summer´s night.
Favourite Dish – Paella negra con ali-oli
Favourite Tapas – Fried red hot spicy shrimps (gambas al ajillo) with a glass of frozen, crispy Brut Cava.
Favourite Restaurant
– Aside from the obvious, Lucio.
Favourite Shop – Any video club, specially the ones with a ‘Classics’ section.
Best time of year in Madrid – Spring, Summer and Autumn
Favourite Barrio –  La Latina, safe from the noises, fumes and tensions of the world and at the same time happening and fulled of interesting people.
Favourite Building(s)El Palacio del Cordón
My favourite day trip from Madrid is to … Toledo, but if you like it don´t hesitate to stay the night. Toledo at night, specially during the warm months is one of the most mysterious and romantic places in the world.
A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would be… wherever in the city center as long as I am with my friends. Warm weather doesn´t hurt either.
My favourite walk – Summer time, Walkman on, walk and walk till I get lost in the city center and I find myself in streets I had never been to before.

My Madrid: Susana Bourne

Susana_bourne_2Susana is a British subject who was born and brought up in Madrid. She speaks Spanish, English and French. After achieving a BA (Hons) degree she worked for a software company in Spain, and then spent six years working for a major engineering consultancy in the UK, which allowed her to travel. Susana returned to Madrid and is working in the international human resource environment. Susana also assists Fran with organising the International Evening in the Café Madrid on Wednesdays.

Favourite Bar/Café – El Café del Arte (Castelló esq. Alcalá)         

Favourite Dish – Paella

Favourite Tapas – Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus Galician style) amongst many others
Favourite Restaurant – Maceiras (c/ Huertas, 66)

Favourite ShopEl Corte Inglés. You can find everything you need here

Best time of year in Madrid – Spring

Favourite Barrio –  Opera, around Sol, perfect place to walk, go shopping or have a drink or snack and go out in the evenings

Favourite Building(s)Royal Palace.

My favourite day trip from Madrid is toEl Escorial, (situated about 50km from Madrid) not only can you walk around the town but the surrounding areas have also a lot to offer.

A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would … be to have dinner at Shangai Café, have a drink at any place around the Castellana, go dancing to Bisú (Jose Abascal, 8)

My favourite walk …  Summer time around El Retiro. In winter I enjoy walking around the Plaza Mayor and the old Madrid of the Austrias.

My Madrid – Francisco Rodriguez Veiga

Cafe_madrid_1A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Francisco (Fran), at Café Madrid (c/ Mesón de Paños, 6 – Metro: Opera) to talk about the International Evenings that are held there every Wednesday. Afterwards I invited him to take part in the ‘My Madrid’ section of this site.

Fran is a freelance legal consultant for the telecoms industry. He has a background in languages – he speaks English, Russian, Italian, French and German – and this ties in with his passion: meeting people at the International Evenings in Café Madrid. Fran has been running the language evenings at Café Madrid since 2000 and says: "everybody is welcome and for free can meet a lot of people from a number of countries and exchange culture and languages". Here are the answers to the questions I emailed him:

Favourite Bar/Café – Café Madrid (c/ Escalinata – Opera)
Favourite Dish – Gazpacho / Any fish / Ice cream
Favourite Tapas – Gambas (Prawns), Tortilla (Spanish Omelette), Pulpo (Octopus)
Favourite Restaurant – Maceiras (c/ Huertas, 66) 
Favourite Shop – Mercado de Fuencarral (Market)
Best time of year in Madrid – The whole year
Favourite Barrio – La Latina – it has everything I like: it’s a
very nice old quarter with amazing buildings, churches and views, and
at the same it’s very lively, full of restaurants, tapas bars and clubs.
Favourite Building(s) – Palacio Real (The Royal Palace).
My favourite day trip from Madrid is to … Segovia, it’s a wonderful old city and very near you can find a superb palace with beautiful gardens surrounded by mountains
A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would …Tapas bars, International Evening at Café Madrid and a late club
My favourite walk …From Paseo de Rosales to San Francisco Church and then getting into La Latina

My Madrid – Pereza

Pereza1One month ago I wrote an article about Pereza, a Madrid Rock duo, who are currently number 6 in the Spanish Top 40 (Los 40 Principales). Well, I decided to fire off an email to ask them if they’d like to contribute in the ‘My Madrid’ section of this site and they said they would. Here are the answers to the questions I asked them about Madrid:

Favourite Bar/Café
– El Siroco
Favourite Dish – Tortilla de Patata
Favourite Tapas – Patatas Bravas
Favourite Restaurant – Casa Paco [Plaza Puerta Cerrada 11]
Favourite Shop – The stalls of the Rastro [famous flea market just off Tirso de Molino]
Best time of year in Madrid – June afternoons in the Retiro Park
Favourite Barrio – La Latina
Favourite Building(s) – The Windsor [a building which burnt down in February, 2005!]
My favourite day trip from Madrid is to … London
A perfect ‘night out’ in Madrid would …be in Malasaña
My favourite walk … El parque del Capricho, en la Alameda de Osuna [located outside the city centre]

My Madrid: Roger Warwick

Roger_warwickRoger Warwick is 41 years old and was born in Leeds, England. Having studied Computing at University, he moved to Spain in 1988, originally teaching English to business students. Later he moved to a computer company and finally ended up working for an International Company, where he now works as the IT Support Manager for Spain & Portugal. In his spare time (what spare time?, he asks) he is the webmaster for,, and several other websites. Roger lives in the Acacias area of Madrid.

We invited Roger to answer some questions to add to our My Madrid section – here are his answers:

Favourite bar/café? La Trocha in Huertas. It's a small, narrow bar which can get exceedingly full and stuffy at weekends but is well worth it for the excellent caiparinhas, their speciality, which they've been making
for over 25 years. (See also: Trocha Pub – "Place of the Caipirinha")
Favourite dish? There are so many! I generally prefer fish to meat so dorada or salmon "a la plancha" suits me fine. I'm very partial to seafood, so a good mariscada will always put a glow to my cheeks and a shine in my eyes.

Favourite tapas? Tapas should always be given free with your drink, as happens in most Madrid establishments, and also in the province of Granada. I'll eat and enjoy absolutely any small free tapas like this. If the tapa has to be paid for, as in almost all other areas of Spain, I love sharing a plate of "gambas a la plancha" with friends.

Favourite restaurant? Casa Lucio, Cava Baja. Spartan Castillian food of excellent quality. Their speciality is "huevos rotos", the King's favourite! Try the excellent cured ham with a bottle of their best Rioja – you'll go to bed with a smile on your face! Also Ribeira do Miño, Santa Brigida 1. Cheap but good

Favourite shop? I can't say shopping is a favourite activity of mine, but I coincide with a previous contributor in mentioning FNAC, where the CD's and books can keep me browsing for ages.

What is the best time of year in Madrid? Any time except winter, when it's freezing! Spring is great in Madrid because it brings so much colour to the parks, but is unfortunately so brief. We seem to go straight from winter to summer, then back again to winter – almost continental climate extremes.

Favourite Barrio? The old historic centre – the Madrid of the Habsburgs.

Favourite building? Without doubt what was known as the Palacio de Telecomunicaciones or Casa de Correos, which looks on to the Cibeles square and which will soon become the City Council's headquarters.

My favourite day trip from Madrid is toToledo, because it truly is the city of 3 cultures, has over 100 monuments in its historic centre and lies just over an hour away from Madrid.

A perfect 'night out' in Madrid would be …A walk through the old centre of Madrid, sampling a glass or two of wine with tapas at any bar that takes my fancy. Dinner at Casa Lucio, Posada de la Villa or similar restaurant in the Cava Baja area. Coffee, liquor, plenty of conversation with good friends, and to bed.

My favourite walk. As above, through the old centre of Madrid, particularly in and around the Plaza Mayor.

My Madrid – Beverley Fearis

Beverley_fearisTravel journalist Beverley Fearis couldn’t resist
when she was asked to research and write A Hedonists Guide to Madrid
for a new series of guides. She spent two months living in the city,
getting to know its every corner by personally checking out all of its
best bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and attractions. She returned to
her home in Brighton exhausted but a huge fan of the city, to continue
with her freelance travel writing. She writes travel features for
various publications, including the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph,
Evening Standard, Trip magazine and Business Traveller.

Favourite bar/café? I’m going to have to cheat here
and mention two – El Perro (Calle Puebla 14, Malasana) on a Thursday
night for its upbeat party crowd, and Delic (Costanilla de San Andres
14) for a hot chocolate and a slice of cake on a Saturday afternoon.
Favourite dish(es)? Definitely the tapas dish,
pimientos de padron (salted roasted peppers) Hg2which are totally
addictive, although the last one always seems to be a red hot firey one
that brings tears to my eyes. The best place for them is Taberna
Maceira (calle Jesus 7 and Huertas 66).
Favourite tapas? As above.
Favourite restaurant? I checked out lots of fancy
restaurants for the guide, but I have to say my favourite was the great
value La Musa (Manuela Malasana 18 and also Costanilla de San Andres,
La Latina). You might have to wait for a table but it’s worth it. Go
for the taster dish to share – fried green tomatoes with goat’s cheese,
hot, creamy croquette potatoes with sour cream and guacamole.

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My Madrid – Carolina Borgesi

Carolina_borgesi_1For the 4th instalment of ‘My Madrid‘ I have invited Carolina Borgesi, a 29 year-old architect and graduate of the University of Buenos Aires to let us know about what she likes about the city . Married to Germán González Garrido, they both founded Proyectodigital, a design and architectural illustration company and, which since 2002 has been dedicated to Panoramic Photography and Virtual Tours. Their Web site Madrid Virtual offers fantastic panoramic images of Madrid.

Carolina arrived in Madrid in 2002 and was enchanted by the city from day one. She lives in Antón Martín, an old neighbourhood very close to downtown Madrid .

Favourite Bar/café: Chocolatería San Ginés and the Teatro Español Café in the Plaza Santa Ana.
Favourite Dish(es): Gazpacho and Paella.
Favourite Tapas: Pincho de tortilla and Patatas Bravas.
Favourite Restaurant: Viva Chapata in Ave María street (delicious home-made sandwiches made out of “chapata” bread!) and Restaurante Madrid 1 in Carrera de San Jerónimo next to Plaza Canalejas.
Favourite Shop: FNAC (imposible to get out of there!) and IKEA.
Best time of year: Every season has it´s charm. Spring and fall have the best Arco_de_cuchilleros weather to take long walks through the magic streets of the medieval Madrid or visit the Retiro Park. In winter, especially in December, is beautiful to visit the traditional Christmas fair in Plaza Mayor, drink a hot chocolate in Chocolatería San Ginés and enjoy the Christmas decoration all over the city streets.

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My Madrid – Juan Manuel Sampere

This is the third contribution to the ‘My Madrid‘ section, where I invite people with ‘inside information’ on Madrid to write about what they like about the city. Juan Manuel Sampere was born in Madrid almost 50 years ago and has always lived in this ‘vibrant and changing city.’ His life has been devoted to the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Estudio Sampere, founded by his parents in 1956. So passionate is he about his school that he claims one of his main hobbies to being the Estudio Sampere because ‘fostering understanding and communication between different people is a very rewarding activity.’ He also enjoys hiking every week in the Guadarrama mountains, 60 kms from Madrid. Here are some of the things that Juan Manuel likes about Madrid:

Favourite Cafe/Bar: Café Central for some jazz, some drinks, and a cool atmosphere. Incidentally, my favourite musician, for many years is Miles Davis, who has fallen in love with Madrid.
Favourite Dish: fresh fish and seafood – you can find the best fresh seafood in Madrid even though the ocean is 500 kms away!
Favourite Restaurant: La Trainera, ten minutes from the Sampere school, where the sole fish is just incredible!
Favourite Shop: Like many Madrileños, is El Corte Ingles, where you find everything in few minutes.

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