For 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.
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.