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Jun 22, 2008 11:37 PM

apt near Opera, in Madrid

We are 5 sisters staying for a week in apt near Opera Metro...pretty tight budget but want to experience the best food/drink that Madrid can ofter given limited funds. We want to cook, eat out, enjoy. We'll be out all day doing museums, etc...what should we pick up on the way home to cook? What/where should we be sure to go out at night; I've researched Tapas on this board..lots of great suggestions, I just want to know if you have any additional ideas given our modest budget and our love of home cooking.
In my experience sometimes museums have great restaurants, and sometimes awful cafeterias...what in Madrid?

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  1. I recently returned from a trip to Madrid. My travel diary is available here:

    As far as inexpensive home cooking, I highly recommend Tienda de Vinos in Chueca (I have a map of the location in the above link). I don't think they take reservations, so make sure you either get there early or are willing to wait.


    1. The cafeteria in the new Prado extension isn't bad. The bocadillos and other snacks are on the expensive side (4 euros for a very small bocadillo de jamon). I've never eaten a proper meal there, but the food does look and smell good (and I did once have a bowl of delicious bean soup). Certainly worth trying if you're there all day and don't want to go out to eat. It gets very busy at lunchtime, of course,

      Another possibility is to walk down the Paseo del Prado to the Museo del Jamon, buy a bocadillo for half the price and have a picnic in the Jardin Botanico. (You can get back into the Prado on the same ticket.) And there are lots of good lunch venues nearby - Cerveceria Cervantes and Los Gatos in Calle de Jesus, Maceiras in Calle Huertas and Calle de Jesus amongst others within ten minutes walk; also La Plateria, just across the Paseo from the Velasquez entrance. For good home cooking, La Sanabresa in the Calle Amor de Dios is very good and very cheap, hence very popular: get there early to be sure of a table.

      The Thyssen has a good restaurant, with a generous menu del dia for around 13 euros, for more than you could possibly want to eat if you want to retain some semblance of energy for looking at pictures in the afternoon!

      I've never eaten in the restaurant in the Reina Sofia - I've heard varying reports. Perhaps someone else can comment.

      If you are going to be in Madrid before 13 July, you'll be able to see the marvellous Goya in Times of War exhibition at the Prado.


      2 Replies
      1. re: Julie Friedeberger

        Is there a new cafeteria at the Prado? That would be great news because that
        horrible tiled bathtub-like noisy dank thing in the basement was beyond awful.
        There were a couple of serviceable if unmemorable places right across Paseo
        de Prado, just south of the Starbucks (!). Useful for a quick bite and coffee and
        some fresh air before heading back in.

        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

          Yes, there is. It's in the new extension, which opened in October last year. It's at ground level, just past the new shop, and vastly better than the old basement cave: light and comfortable and more spacious. It's all self-service, with a reasonable choice of hot dishes and salads at the main counter plus snacks and drinks at the quick counter.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I think the food at the three major museums (Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia) are decent though a bit expensive. As stated by an earlier post, one can do better eating at the many places, including Museo de Jamon, around the museums.
          As for shopping for cooking in your apartment, El Corte Ingles on Sol has a good supermarket in their basement; good seafood, produce and decent meat plus a bakery and take out section. Plus it is convenient being open all day and Sunday mornings.There are couple of very good bakeries and delis on calle Mayor and calle Arenal. The closest mercado to Opera is San Miguel but it was still be renovated when I was in Madrid late last year. The next closest is probably Cebada in Latina. The markets in Pl de Espana is good for Latin and Chinese foodstuff. What to bring back to cook would depends on what you like to cook and eat. There are so much good ingredients in the market, from the best seafood to baby lamb, suckling pig, rabbit, fowl, all types of cured pork product, wide array of fruits and vegetables, not to mentioned cheeses. There is a mercado in each neighborhood in Madrid, therefore, there is never a shortage of food, well maybe on Sundays when they are closed. Hope the above is helpful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            I think San Miquel has re-opened, but I am there oin Friday for a few days so can check it out.

            Opera is a good place to stay, close to the Palace and to Sol and easy access for walking in that central area.

            You have a museo very close to where you are and you are also minutes walk from San Gines for Chocolate and Churros ( although as I have said before, I am not as wowed as some others by its charms)

            Just one tip on the museums, they used to allow you to buy tickets in advance a day ahead. If they do, then it is worthwhile to beat the horrible queues. The Bosch collection is good too as well as the Goya, but do not miss the Velasquez portraits of the fools of Phillip V, incredibly moving


            1. re: Simon Majumdar

              Mercado San Miguel is still being renovated. Only the wild mushroom store on the street across from it is still going. There's a Gama supermarket across from it, also.

              The food at the Reina Sofía is pretty overpriced for what it is, but the new café is a great place to have coffee. If you want to eat before or after the Reina Sofía there's a good strip of tapas places on c/Argumosa. I like these two Gallego places. If you stand at the bar (at the right time of day) and order beer you'll get lots of free tapas (especially at Portmarin) or you can order really cheap montaditos (sandwiches) like lacón:

              O'Pazo de Lugo
              c/Argumosa, 28

              c/Valencia, 4
              (on Plaza de Lavapies)

              You have to pay extra, but you can get tickets to special exhibits (like the Goya en tiempos de guerra) ahead of time here (and then they let you right into the permanent collection, I believe):