I was walking around Madrid the to other day when I started thinking about some of the places that tourists go which add little, or no, value to the Madrid experience.They are often franchises, plastic in aspect and with no character. I explored this a little further with Vicen, my brother-in-law, and here is our Top 10 Places where you shouldn´t go in Madrid.:

  1. MC Donald´s – OK, so you eat this crap outside Spain. Why not start eating properly in Spain?
  2. Burger King – Nothing more to add.
  3. Kentucky Fried Chicken – Why on earth would you want to do it? Go look for some alitas or Pollo Asdao or Pollo al Ajillo. Much better and tastier!
  4. Starbucks – Usually double (at least!) the cost of a local coffee. A pointless experience but for some reason Americans, and Brits, they feel a need to go here. Go to the bar next door and get a taste of Spain.
  5. Pans and Co – I just don´t get this place when you can go to ANY bar and order a bocadillo.
  6. Cañas y Tapas – You will find these god-awful places all over Madrid. Go to the bar next door, please.
  7. VIPS – Another pointless place to go have food. I cannot understand why Spaniards, and some foreigners, go to these places for their lunch or dinner. Find a place that does Menú del Día nearby and get much better value for money.
  8. Café y Té is according to their website: "la consagración del concepto coffee-shop en España" (Trans: the consecration of the coffee shop concept in Spain). Bollocks! It´s another bloody franchise you shouldn´t bother going to.
  9. Dunkin Doughnuts – You come to Spain and end up eating this! Just go to one of the many pastry shops and bars and eat their great food.
  10. Subway – bascially, expensive bocadillos sold in plastic shops!

And, on that note, I´m off to have a bocadillo de lomo and a beer. All for around 3 Euros. Beat that Mc Donald´s!

Note: I have not included URL´s – if you want to find them, do it yourself!

9 Responses

  1. I agree with you but be fair, it’s not just Americans and Brits in those places. They would not exist in Spain without many Spanish customers. I think they go because it is different to them. I don’t think they really appreciate how great the “menu del Dia” is.

  2. Louco por Madri

    Conheci agora este blog que é só sobre Madri: Mad About Madrid. O blog é completo e a iniciativa é fantástica: queria até saber se existem blogs parecidos sobre Veneza, Berlim, Moscou, etc. Adorei a lista Dez lugares em que

  3. I have a confession to make… I went to a Café y Té. Actually it wasn’t too bad. The fruit smoothie was delicious, the coffee fine and the toasted coissant edible. It was on the Calle Arenal and a whole lot better service-wise than the independent cake/coffee shop further down towards Plaza Isabel!

  4. Café & Té, Madrid

    Mad About Madrid lists Café & Té as one of the Ten Places I Would Never Eat or Drink in Madrid. I had a breakfast in there. It wasn’t too bad. Service was several steps ahead of the lovely looking…

  5. Love the blog and wish I had known about this before we went to Madrid. I spent a week in the Starbucks really because it was so recognizable and I know they’ll have a wifi hotspot that I’m already signed up and paying for on a monthly basis. I will search through your blog and see if you have any recommendations but I would really like to know the best place to have coffee and good internet access (that doesn’t break the bank) near the Prado (within a mile or so)
    I gave a reference link and thumbs up review of your blog on my post about Madrid
    http://travelcrumbs.com/2007/05/20/madrid-spanish-bull-or-suckling-pig/
    cheers,
    Mark

  6. I appreciate the sentiment behind the list and agree in concept. It’s certainly good advice for American tourists in Madrid, the lesson being to stray from your comfort zone as much as possible. However, as a resident in Madrid I think some of these places are good options when you want something that isn’t available elsewhere. Pans & Co. offers whole grain bocadillos – not gonna find those in a bar. VIPS has a decent chicken caesar salad and Starbucks offers Iced Chai Tea Lattes. When one of those is what you’re craving you’ll be hard pressed to find them in your neighborhood cafeteria.

  7. As to Starbucks, I prefer it to a Spanish bar any day! Sure the coffee is both cheaper and better at most bars, but at Starbucks you don’t have to put up with any smoke! When they start banning smoking in Madrid, I’ll start consider going elsewhere.

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