Cheap awesome eats in Madrid
Hi all, me and a friend are travelling to Madrid this Thanksgiving. Since we're both cash strapped grad students, I'm wondering if there're any 'Awesome Eats' that are a must in Madrid and also on the cheap side?
We'll be staying in a hostal on Calle Cervantes in the Huertas neighborhood, and none of us speak Spanish. So easy to get to locations are preferred. Oh well, I know 'Agua sin gas' and 'Cafe con leche", but don't think that will help us spotting good cheap eats in Madrid.
We are adventurous eaters who'll try everything and anything tasty, but not too crazy about vegetarian dishes, but with meat sauce or seafood broth is okay, just not a all-veggi plate. Cheese is also not a must have for us. We also don't drink if that's relevant.
So please my fellow chowhound area experts, please help someone who's never been to Spain and whose knowledge on Spanish food is limited to the less than authentic Paella and Tapas in NYC.
Thanks so much!!!
You're in a good area for good food. On the corner down the hill from you is Cerveceria Cervantes, a Gallego place with mostly seafood but other simple things as well. Some of it is expensive, but their tostadas are excellent and cheap. Around the corner, in Calle Huertas, is Maceiras, with another branch in Calle Jesus. Javier at Hostal Gonzalo has recommended the Quevedo, in Calle Quevedo, up the hill and around the corner - I've never eaten there because it doesn't open in the evening until 9 (that's fairly typical, but I need to be asleep by 10 or I'm no good for the next day at the Prado etc). It's always jam packed with local people at lunch time.
A little further up, La Trucha, in Calle Manuel Fernandez y Gonzalez just off Plaza Santa Ana, is excellent - not very cheap, but not expensive either, for good tapas and efficient friendly service. I also like El Inti de Oro in Calle de Ventura de la Vega: Peruvian food.
Further afield a particular mention has to be Casa Mingo, open all day every day in the Paseo de Florida, for excellent roast chicken. Someone said here awhile ago that roast chicken can be found almost everywhere in Madrid, and probably it can - but I've never had better roast chicken than at Casa Mingo, where you get a whole chicken, more than enough for you and your friend, for 9 euros (last January's price). And across the street from Casa Mingo is the church of San Antonio de Florida, with Goya's marvellous frescoes.
I'm sure you'll get more suggestions - these are just a few places I've eaten in many times, and have enjoyed.
If you are staying at Hostal Gonzalo, I'm sure you'll enjoy it: lovely place, lovely people.
re: Julie Friedeberger
Thanks Julie, for the list of recommendations. Although the addresses and the restaurant names confused the hell out of me, I'm gonna start plotting them on a map. So would you say most of the places you mentioned are within walking distance?
P.S: I will be staying at 5 c/cervantes.
5 calle Cervantes is at the top end of the street. All the places I've named are within, roughly, 5 minutes' walk.
Except for Casa Mingo. If you want to go there it's a long walk (about 45 minutes) or a short metro ride to Principe Pio plus a 15-minute walk along the Paseo de Florida.
My guilty pleasure is to visit one of the Las Bravas bars in the area of Calle de Alvarez Gato and Calle de Espoz y Mina on the way from Plaza Santa Ana and Puerta del Sol. I still have not found patats bravas anywhere in Spain or the US to match the simple peeled, quartered and fried potatoes with the best spicy sauce. I don't know why no one else can make a sauce to match. You can also buy tortilla espanol and calamari with the bravas sauce. Simple and cheap with cheap beer and wine.
Don’t limit yourselves to Huetas/Pl de Jesus. Go do to Cava Baja and the streets around it in Latina where it is lined with places to eat (Casa Lucas, El Tempranillo, El Chotis, Masqueria Paloma are just a few). Or to Chueca for great cafes and people watching. Drop by the newly renovated Mercado de San Miguel for inexpensive food stalls. Up to Chamberi, around c/Ponzano for good tapas/inexpensive eats (El Doble, Beluga, Errota Zar and El Ventorrillo Murciano). Central Madrid is always lively and easy to get around.
I would say an absolute "can't miss" for cheap eats in Madrid would be a fried calamari sandwich (bocadillo de calamari) at one of the "El Brillante" locations, preferably the one near Atocha. Have one. Or three.