One of the great pleasures in Madrid is having a coffee at one of the hundreds of coffee shops. You can try anything from your the typical café con leche (in a glass, small cup or large cup) and café solo through to café con hielo (coffee on house) and café cortado. Coffee is ground in front of you and made in the huge, usually Italian, coffee machines. The whole café resounds to the sound of coffee machines, grinders, orders being shouted out and coffee saucers being banged down in front of your eyes. What a treat!
And one of the curious facts is that most waiters are what I would term ‘career waiters‘ – they have been around for many years and will be around for many years to come. They know how to prepare the coffee and how to serve it. Recently there has been an escalation in the number of ‘coffee shop chains’, which seem hell bent on saturating the city with their characterless, plastic and usually expensive offerings. I have tried them once and there is simply no comparison – no ‘career waiters’ here!
Here is a ‘very’ small selection of coffee shops I would recommend:
Café Comercial – Location: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7; Metro Bilbao
Café de Oriente – Location: opposite the Palacio real; Metro: Opera
Café Gijón – Location: Paseo de Recoletos, 21; Metro: Banco de España
Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes – Location: Alcalá, 42; Metro: Banco de España
Café Central – Location: Plaza del Angel, 10; Metro: Sol /Antón Martín
Let me know if you have any favourites.