Two weeks of eating in Madrid
My partner and I will be in Madrid for a couple of weeks beginning 9/27. We're amateur and fairly adventurous foodies, staying on C. Almendro for most of the time we're there with overnight trips to Segovia and Toledo.
Never one to shy away from a research project where my stomach is concerned, I have pored over these boards and other online sources to find what I hope are affordable, quality, delicious, atmospheric spots to try for lunch and dinner.
Here's my list thus far; note, the only places I really trust are those gleaned from Chowhound, so if you see any stinkers on my list please let me know:
El Ventorrillo Murciano (paella)
Ribeira do Mino (Gallego, shellfish)
Taberna El Almendro, Txakoli, Juana La Loca, El Tempranillo, Txirimiri, Almendro 13, Orixe (tapas)
El Cantabrico (seafood)
Oreja de Oro (pig's ears... hmmm)
El Brillante (terraza)
La Venencia (sherry)
El Bocaito, Divina La Cocina (Chueca spots)
La Bola Taberna (cocido madrileño, lunch)
Taverna Miranda, Restaurante Puebla, Ojalá (lunch)
Viuda de Vacas (Almodovar, oxtail soup)
Casa Mingo (Asturian cider house), La Burbuja que Rie (Asturian)
Giangrossi (ice cream)
La Santiaguesa (pastries)
and of course Chocolateria San Gines.
Markets--I have Butterfly's great listing of neighborhood markets and info on the Mercado de San Miguel. I hope there's time to hit more than one... who needs museums?
I'd like feedback both on my existing list and on any additions to it, in particular amazing/can't miss places for:
Seafood/shellfish--my first romance with tapas was a simple bit of bacalao in a sweet pepper inflected tomato broth. I love all the frutas del mar.
Croquetas--combining two of my favorite words, "ham" and "fried." Me gusta.
Moorish-influenced cuisine--maybe a naive request since the cultures are so blended I assume many "Spanish" foods are Moorish-influenced, but if there are any places where the influence especially evident and tasty...
Asturian, Galician, or Cantabrian bars/cafes/restaurants of particular charm.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
We arrived in Madrid this morning, and after a jet-lag induced siesta, were out prowling La Latina for snacks by 7:30. We ended up at Tempranillo first, where we had glasses of jumilla along with some spicy salchichon and toasts with goat cheese, olive oil and zuchinni--delicious. The place was 1/3 Spaniard and 2/3 other and full by 8:15. We gave up our barstools to some abuelitas and headed toward Almendro 13 at around 9:00.
We were lucky enough to get a table in this busy place. We ordered the lomo con papas fritas (that may not be the exact name)--succulent cubes of lamb served atop freshly fried potato chips. The meat juices were absorbed in spots by the chips, creating a pleasant contrast of moist richness and crackling saltiness that went well with the small glasses of local beer. Nearly everyone but us was Spaniard, or at least fluent, at Almendro 13.
Thanks again everyone!
Of the places that you mentioned, I would leave off Ribeira do Miño (it's cheap and has a huge mariscada, but the quality isn't so great compared to the other marisquerías like El Cantábrico). Also Casa Mingo--which is nothing special food-wise. I'm almost positive Viuda de Vacas is closed, unless it recently reopened. If you come in the winter, you can get good cocido in lots of places--another classic spot is Malacatín--go very, very hungry if you do the full three courses.
It's been a while, but i had a really nice version of stuffed pimientos del piquillo stuffed with bacalao at Asador Frontón. If you like wild mushrooms, check out El Cisne Azul in Chueca or El Imperio near the Quevedo metro stop.
Oh, and one last thing... try to adjust to Spanish eating times, otherwise restaurants will seem very empty and boring... we have lunch between 2-3pm and dinner starts at 9-10pm.
Also, check out La Latina neighbourhood. Full of great places for midday tapas and is also packed on Friday and Saturday evening. Entire streets full of places to have some tapas and drinks. On Sunday mornings it is very busy as well due to El Rastro (flea market). Basically the area around a bar called El Viajero (you can find it online), that has three floors and the top is an open terrace with a view of the Catedral de la Almudena, perfect to unwind in the evening or enjoy the sunset light.
It might be too late, but here are a few suggestion... I'm from Madrid :)
My favourite restaurant at the moment is El Paraguas (you can find the address online)... expensive but the best at the moment. Their produce is excellent. Maybe for a special going-away romantice dinner.
On the other end of things, the very cheap gallego restaurant Maceiro (the one on the street Huertas) is great fun, either for a weekday lunch or for a Friday night. They open at 8pm for dinner and are open 'til past midnight. You sometimes have to wait. It is very popular with all sorts of crowd as it is very affordable, the food is good (steamed cockles, pimientos del padron...), the place quaint and the atmosphere is fun (if you don't mind your little table being close to other people's). At midnight (at least on Friday and Saturday), the lights go off and they do a 'queimada', typical of Galicia, and if you don't know what that is, then I suggest you go and find out! And don't mind the rough, amazonian-like waitresses!
The Mercado de San Miguel is a lovely space to buy or just sample some delicious cheese or oysters and enjoy a good mid-day wine.
If you like meat, Rubaiyat, brazilian restaurant near Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium is excellent. Again, expensive. If the weather is still nice, they'll have their outdoor area open. You might bump into the odd football (soccer!) star or celebrity, especially on weekday lunchtime.
I'd leave it at that for now. Just stay away from restaurants that have their menus translated into english outfront... let the head waiter make a few suggestions... oh and don't refer to 'frutas del mar', haha! It works in French, but in Spanish it makes as much sense a 'seafruit'... 'marisco' is the word you want, and 'marisquerias' are the places that specialise in them. The restaurant Puerta 57, inside the Real Madrid stadium, is a little old fashioned for my taste (unless you can seat on the balcony with a view of the pitch), but they have very good 'marisco'.
I hope that helps and best of luck.... and yes, enjoy a hot chocolate with churros at San Gines... ideally late at night after a long evening of drinking and partying... it is always very busy at 5/6am when the nearby clubs close their doors!
One more. If the weather is clear and warm, then head to Casa Granada for a drink. It's on the top floor of an unassuming building just off Tirso Molina. It's easy to miss, @ c/Doctor Cortezo 17, 6th floor. You have to press a buzzer (at the door like an apartment building, which this sits atop of). I don't know how the food is but it's nice for a drink. You'll get a view of all Madrid and where the city runs out intothe plains.
I would head to barrio Retiro, there are many fine places to do a tapas crawl. In that barrio it doesnt get so crazy as it is a bit off the track, at least for tourists. Sunday night is a tough night and I always go Asturiano, either @ La Burbuja Que Rie or a new place (for me) Los Asturianos on c/Vallehermos 94, a wine bar that has their own abuela cookign there. A real neighborhood place w/good sherries, and a warm welcome.
I love Asador fronton onTirso but it's been 4-5 years since I've been there, so if you go, PLEASE fill us in.
The market in salamce is a nice market and there is an ok palce to eat at the back of the market, head left after you enter.
I always head to http://www.cacaosampaka.com/ for chocolate when in town @ C/ Orellana, 4
I have only been in the neigborhood a few weeks, but many really good places nearby. I particularly like El Ventorillo Murciano - very amiable. It is small so would book ahead. In Chueca we have enjoyed Arce. If you like MEAT, Asador Fronton right at Tirso de Molina. In my own square, Plaza de la Paja, we have enjoyed the basque tapas at Taberno Bilbao, but it would take a lifetime of eating to compare all the tapas places within a stone's throw.
Sorry to say, but the market at Plaza Cebada seems a bit dreary - every time I have been the majority of stalls are closed (it looks like permanently, else a long summer break). Mercado San Miguel, as others have posted, is a very upscale modern place (in a cool old iron building), for me a great place to pick up dinner (and a very lively place in the evening, it is as much a nice bar as a market). Moving further away, we like Arce in Chueca, but folks seem to disagree.
Also, while it is probably bad form to list another board, if you read Spanish, take a look at 11870.
Enjoy (hard not to).