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Sep 1, 2006 06:15 AM

need restaurant recs in Madrid - mid november

we will be in Madrid for 7 days around the middle of November - need recs for a variety of restaurants - hi and low end and ready to try anything within reason. Thanks!

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  1. Scroll down and you will find quite a few posts on dining in Madrid. I posted a few recommendations on the following links. If you want specific information or questions on a particular place, could be happy to answer them.

    1. Hit Botin for old school Madrid and great food.

      10 Replies
      1. re: sushiman

        would I need to make reservations ahead of my arrival or can I do it when we arrive?

        1. re: chewonthis

          You won't need to make reservation until you get to Madrid. Botin is a very large restaurant and will take walkins since most of the clientele are visitors. They are famous for their baby lamb and suckling pig. Everything else on the menu is a bit chancy.

          1. re: chewonthis

            Botin is open very late. I almost never make reservations unless I want to eat early. It cannot hurt. Botin has a wood fired oven and is famous for roast sucking pig, but everything is great.

            There is a restaurant I think called Il Terrazo that is run by an alumni of Ferran Adria that is supposed to be amazing.

            I went to a great seafood place called O'Pazo last year.

            1. re: sushiman

              I agree that O'Pazo is great for seafood. If you like seafood, I would definitely go to O'Pazo or Combarro. Madrid gets some of the best seafood from Galicia in Northern Spain. The variety and freshness are amazing. There is nothing like that in the States. In either restaurants, the simplest preparation are the best.

              1. re: sushiman

                That's another thing.... I'm from California - eating late for us is like 8pm - how early do the restaurants open ?
                any other suggestions for e.g. Paella?

                1. re: chewonthis

                  Don't try to eat dinner before 9:30 or eat lunch before 2:00--you'll just have to reset your food clocks...

                  I live in Madrid and can give you more specific recs... Let me know what kind of eating you are most interested in and what else you will be doing while you are here.

                  Paella is not a specialty of Madrid, but you can find good ones at El Ventorrillo Murciano in Antón Martín/Laviapiés.

                  P.S. I recommend reservations if you are going to eat Thursday through Sunday. In the summer you can get away without them in many places (few Madrileños would eat roast meat in the summer!), but it's much harder in the fall and winter, particularly at asadores.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    My grandson just moved to Madrid earlier this month, and he's already complaing about the scarcity (or price) of steaks. Any suggestions?
                    Also, are there any good steakhouses in Spain that mail out their freeze-dried steaks like Omaha Steaks in the States?

                    1. re: dprice1231

                      I think the best places to get a steak are generally either a Basque Asador or an Argentine Steakhouse (of which there are many).

                      Your son probably just hasn't found the cuts that he likes yet--it's rather complicated, since the cow is portioned up differently here. If he likes really flavorful cuts, have him look for lomo or--if he has someone to share with--the more formidable chuletón. Or if he's more of a tenderloin/sirloin kind of guy, solomillo.

                      Upscale, splurgy places with good steak:

                      Julian de Tolosa (Cava Baja 18)
                      Asador Frontón (Tirso de Molina 7--second floor--entrance around the corner)
                      Estik (Espronceda, 34)

                      A branch of the Brazilian steakhouse Baby Beef Rubaiyat also opened this year (Ramón Jiménez, 37--I haven't been yet).

                      And another (upscale) place that I haven't had a chance to check out yet, but have heard good things about is Muuu. They organize their menu by the breeds of the cattle and have a bar menu that is a bit more accessible:

                      Muuu (Víctor Andrés Belaúnde, 8)

                      More downscale-- La Vaca Argentina (many locations--Bailén, 20 or Cañas de Peral, 2 or Prim, 13). I like the option they have of cooking the chuletón tableside over coals. There are lots of other neighborhood asadores. You can find a list here:

                      To find steak places, under "tipo comida" select "asador," "Argentina," "parrilla," or "vasca."

                      For buying steaks: The market at Antón Martín has a good steak place on the outside (I believe on calle Santa Isabel). Also Mercado de la Cebada has another good place with marbly meat on the lower level. If you go in the big front doors and go down the stairs, make an immediate left and go down the second aisle from the front. The meat guys are on the right side, just a few stalls down.

                      And, finally, the best place in town (that I know of) is Raza Nostra in Mercado de Chamartín. They specialize in Spanish breeds, but also have Argentine and other steaks.

                      If there are particular cuts that your son likes, I can try to steer him toward the Spanish equivalents. I'd recommend a trip to one of the better carnicerías to have a look at the different cuts. If he buys from the market, he'll need to specify the thickness that he wants, otherwise, they'll cut it thinner than he would be used to in the US.

                      I hope this helps.

                      1. re: butterfly

                        Thanks a lot, Butterfly. I'll pass this on to him. This will be a lot of help!

                  2. re: chewonthis

                    We enjoyed paella at La Barraca on C Reina in Chueca. It may be considered touristy but it was a nice place with good food, I thought.

                    If you are hungry before the dinner hour (which is definitely 10pm in Spain) you can always eat tapas starting much earlier. Tapas crawling was our usual way of eating in the evening, and it can go on all night, which is wonderful. We usually ate sit-down restaurant meals at the mid day (1:30 or 2pm) which is when menu del dia is offered. Then definitely have a siesta. It makes every day seem like two days, because all the sights and shops open up again from 4-8pm! Not at all hard to get used to. In fact, we adapted too much to Madrid because in Barcelona places don't stay open as late so we sometimes found ourselves hungry as places were closing at midnight!

              1. re: sushiman

                Butterfly... thanks for the tips.
                We're pseudo "foodies" from San Francisco - so we'd be interested in "good" eating - nothing "chain" or "touristy". Love seafood but not real familiar with classic Madrid food, we have a couple of tapas places here but I'm sure it doesn't compare. We're staying at De Las Letras and I suppose we can always ask the concierge to make a couple of reservations.
                Do you suggest getting one for O'Pazo or La Terazza del Casino?

              2. Butterfly, are there sports bars in Madrid that televise U.S. football games, especially Ohio State?

                4 Replies
                1. re: dprice1231

                  Oh, that's tricky... the irish/british bars (like Kitty O'Shea Bringas), carry some sports on satellite, but I think it would require a miracle to convince them to show American college football (about as interesting to Europeans as high school team handball is to Americans). Even seeing the world series games is nearly impossible here. My husband listens to games online.

                  Back to food... I should have mentioned in the above post, that the best time to go to the markets is on Friday or Saturday (morning only). Monday is the worst day.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    Thanks, Butterfly. He has a computer and is planning to watch online, but he'd sure like to get together with some alumni. I'll pass on the market timing info.

                  2. re: dprice1231

           had a post on this in August and suggested a place called Dubliner ́s in Sol. They carry NASN, North American Sports Network, which has college games on it. That ́s all I know. I ́ll be scouring Sol and hoping for a miraculous showing of Cal-Oregon tomorrow.

                    1. re: Spoony Bard

                      Thanks, Spoony Bard. I'll pass this on.