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Dec 9, 2007 08:28 AM

Reservations in January?

I will be in Madrid for ten days (3-14 January). The responses to my other questions, and the past posts on this forum have been been really helpful, and I've now got what may sound like a silly question. The places I want to try - e.g. EL Ventorillo Murciano, Marisqueria Ribeiro do Mino, La Bola, Asador Tierra Aranda, Jose Maria in Segovia, Hierbabuena in Toledo - mostly specify that reservations are necessary, and posts here have suggested that too.

Generally speaking, are reservations for lunch really going to be necessary in mid-winter? On weekdays? At weekends? I'm hoping that outside the tourist season there is a bit less pressure on such places (I know that the folks who live in these cities need to eat!) Could I turn up at any of them say, at 3 pm and be able to get in without having booked?

I'm embarrassed to admit it in this company, but food isn't really my priority. I love good food, but I don't love planning ahead, deciding where (or what) I'm going to eat days (or even a day) in advance. Especially, I want to do the trips out of Madrid when it's dry, and stay cozy in the Prado or the Thyssen when it's raining, so they're likely to be spur-of-the-moment decisions.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts. In advance because I can't seem to post "replies" (nothing happens when I hit the reply button) - does anyone have the solution to that?

Final question: If I want to take an early AVE train to Toledo, do I need to book in advance, or can I just turn up at Atocha on the morning?

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  1. Since midday is the main meal for most Spaniards, restaurants can be more crowded at lunch than at dinner. In Madrid, other than Asador Tierra Aranda, the three places on your list are very small and will be crowded for lunch regardless of what season of the year. I don't believe El Ventorillo Murciano or Marisqueria Ribeiro do Mino take reservations. Most lunches do not start until 2pm, therefore, 3pm will still be crowded. Asador Tierra Aranda is larger and might take walkins at 3pm after the workers and shoppers in Salamanca finished with their midday meal.
    You will not have to book in advance for the early train to Toledo.