1 saurday night in Madrid...where to eat?
We are looking for an experience...nothing too formal, but we are not afraid to spend some money if there is a memorable meal invovled
In term of service, restaurants in Spain are less formal than those in France. Some of my favorite of the past couple of trips (2004 and 2005):
La Broche, had an excellent meal there last Oct. The cooking was not as 'out there' as I had anticipated but the food had great depth of flavor. The all white decor may not suit everyone.
Santceloni, more formal than La Broche in term of service and decor. The food was good but does not compare to chef Santi Santimaria's flagship restaurant, Can Fabes.
Combarro, some of the best seafood simply prepared: had cigalas, baby octopus, vierias, wild seabass; simple decor
Combination of modern and traditional:
Arce, wonderful and casual, the chef tailors a menu to suit the diner's taste and what is in season.
Search this site and you'll find some other good recommendations. I've wrote various posts on the above restaurants under PB on the old site. Below is a link:
La Terraza is one of Fernan Adria's offshoots. Lots of fun stuff including chocolate mousse dunked in liquid nitrogen, calcified melon juice served like caviar, etc. etc. Tasting menu was about 120 euros, wine list was very reasonably priced. It takes a good three hours, but is entertaining and delicious.
(tie is required)
To be honest, if I had one night in Madrid, as I did last week when there on business, I would not go to a restaurant, but would do a bit of bar hoppage.
There are so many amazing areas to try
Ponzano is a favourite with Fide ( which specialises in tapa from tins and jars ) being a good starting point.
Tirso Molina is another good area. There is a slightly shabby bar called Marian which does excellent seafood. Around the corner is Asador fronton which, although on the tourist trail now, still serves a great chuleton
On Calle Eshegaray(sp?) is La Vanecia which is a great old school sherry bar. It is on the trail too, but has a wonderful selection and some good raciones ( the mojama is worth a try)
Calle Baja is a good stretch with the third branch of Toma Jamon opening in the last few months and Gianrossini which is a very good Artisnal Helado outlet. Baja also has a great many restaurants along its length including Julian de Tolosa.
God I love Madrid! I can't wait until I am back there soon en route to Extremadura
Hope this helps
re: Simon Majumdar
Sorry to be an ass, but if you're looking for these on a map, the correct spellings may help you out. Calle Echegaray, where the sherry bar IS fabulous, they still write your bill in chalk on the bar rather than give you a piece of paper is near the Plaza de Santa Ana. btw do NOT eat in the Plaza de Santa Ana, they will carve out your soul and serve it to you poorly cooked for 20 times the asking price. Cava Baja rather than Calle Baja is a great stretch in La Latina, where all the madrilenhos go for tapas on the weekend. A very nice bar for canhas there is "El Viajero", on the Plaza de los Carros, where there is a lovely 3rd floor terrace and highly reasonable prices. Tirso de Molina is actually a plaza and a metro stop, and I recommend it as well, but it doesn't have the same concentration of bars as La Latina, nor the same atmosphere. Tapa Sentao has some delicious eats, next to El Viajero. Try the cheese churros for something absurdly fatty. But I agree with the former poster's idea that for real madrilenho ambiente you should go bar hopping. Be sure to swallow the price and order jamon iberico, you won't regret it. And if you want advice on a very nice restaurant, I'm the wrong person to ask since I'm an English Teacher there and poor, but what I've read above sounds pretty par for the course. Enjoy!
Plaza de Tirso de Molina is greatly improved now that the construction/renovation has ended, with a pair of everyday terrazas (bars with outdoor tables). There are also some good tapas places down in the (completely tourist-free, if such things matter) neighborhood of Lavapies--south of the plaza. Calle Argumosa is the best strip, but there are many more sprinkled around.
If you are looking for top-notch tapas--Chamberi is another good area to check out. Also Chueca.
But back the original poster's question--when will you be coming to Madrid? Also what day of the week? It makes a difference.
¡Over the dead bodies of the entire Real Academia Española! A madrileño is still a madrileño (ñ=alt 0241).
For an informal (though not necessarily inexpensive) experience that you couldn't have anywhere else, I recommend a splurge at a marisquería. Either one of the higher end ones: Casa Rafa, O'Pazo, Combarro, La Trainera, etc. Or one of the more everyday spots--the quality of the seafood is still very good, the surroundings are just humbler--I posted a short list a while back, but there are many more (every neighborhood has at least one or two and I have yet to go to one that I didn't like).
Of course this is assuming that you like fish, gastropods, and crustaceans.
Just back from a very enjoyable week's break tootling around Castilla Y Leon and Extremadura
The last night was back in Madrid visiting some old haunts like Venencia and DanXari but we also fitted in a couple of new ( to us ) bars including the small Bonar de Leon which gives big plates of free chicken wings with its drinks.
DanXari remains one of my very favourite restaurants in Madrid. Nothing haute just very solid basque cooking. definitely worth a try