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Jan 25, 2010 10:47 AM

Madrid for Foodies... Casa Paco, Viridiana, Combarro?

In reading reviews and such, I saw Casa Paco as being ranked #3 in Madrid. Some rave about the steaks, while others say it's 'ok' and doesn't compare to steaks in an upscale places in Dallas, Chicago.. etc.

I'm looking for a few 'must-eat' places in Madrid.. we'll be there for a honeymoon.

I also hear Viridiana and Combarro are great. We like meat!

Anyone have any great suggestions for us? Price doesn't matter... but QUALITY does!

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  1. <grin>You'll have no problem with meat in Spain. Their solomillos are fantastic.

    I believe I posted these in here somewhere but here they are once more..

    For wining and dining in a romantic setting La Terraza del Casino can't be beat. Very expensive Reservations in advance a must.

    For exceptional Basque food Goizeko Wellington <Hotel Wellington> is superb. Their jamon iberico de bellota plate with manchego cheese is unbeatable. Expensive. Reservations a must.

    Friends and family really like Santceloni <Hesperia>, it is one of the better restaurants in Madrind. For some reason it does nothing for me and the food is good but I like the 2 aforementioned above better. Expensive. Reservations a must.

    Open Sunday's & reliable are Taberna de Alabardero, Casa Botin and La Bola. The latter serving cocido Madrileño from a 19th century recepie and reservations a must for this one. All moderate to expensive.

    Enjoy your honeymoon.

    1 Reply
    1. If you can be more specific on what type of food/ambience you are looking for, you'll get some good replies. Just saying that price doesn't matter...but QUALITY does is too vague. Depends on personal tastes, one persons "must" can be another persons reject. Are you looking for traditional? molecular cooking? quiet and serious or a place with a place with buzz? Madrid has some excellent steak/meat restaurants. Casa Paco has good steaks but it doesn't specialize in that. I would go to either Asador Ansorene or Casa Julian for steak and roast. El Combarro is one of the best high end seafood restaurant and Madrid gets the best, freshest and rarest seafood. The cooking is simple and don't expect lots of fancy sauces or preparations. If you like meat, this restaurant is not for you. Expect to pay around 100E per person for food, and more if your taste in seafood runs toward the exotic. If you are looking for a personal restaurant owned by a very talented and generous chef, Viridiana would fit that. The food is Spanish but it has many international and personal touches; and so is the ambience, hence, the restaurant's name. The above mentioned Santceloni is excellent for food but it is very low key. Also very expensive, about 165E before wine, etc. Don't expect any bells and whistles but the food is impeccably prepared using the best ingredients. The service is somewhat formal and discrete. The food and service mirrors Chef Santi Santamaria's Michelin 3 star restaurant, El Raco de Can Fabes near Barcelona. Besides restaurants, don't miss the tapas places; search this board for recommendations for those.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Yes.. I should have been more detailed. But I do like all the feedback thus far. I'm a big seafood fan.. but the fiance isn't. We've never been to Madrid, thus we aren't really familiar with "traditional" vs "molecular". We will dress up if need be.. but we prefer nice places that are still somewhat informal. We prefer the less touristy places and somewhat of a buzz. I'd like to try one romantic quiet place.. but the bulk desired is the more lively places with great food. We just want to try a bit of everything, and experience as many different styles as possible!

        1. re: aknabe

          Before planning your restaurant itinerary, my advice is to at least get a general idea what the dining scene in Madrid is like. The variety of restaurants in Madrid is endless, from inventive and formal (Santceloni) to molecular and chic (La Terraza) to Basque (Arce), steak and roast meat (Asdaor Ansorene), seafood, fusion and anything else that one can imagine. Also helpful is a little familiar with Spanish cooking. A good general travel guidebook such as Time Out is a good beginning. Otherwise, recommendations are just names; rankings and frequent mentions are just numbers.

          1. re: PBSF

            Thank you for breaking out the categories like that... I never realized the variety there! It makes me really excited. But yes..I'm a big planner and want to have it all mapped out before going.. with applicable reservations on the books prior to arrival.

      2. Restaurante Taberneros • Calle Santiago, 9 Madrid • Tlf. 91 542 21 60 . The main reason to go here would be their terrific wine list, although the food is pretty good too - Spanish/Japanese fusion dishes.
        Congratulations by the way! If you have a few days, and you enjoy meat, you should take a trip to Segovia (an hour away). It's an amazing town and the food speciality is roast suckling pig - so tender they slice it with a plate!
        Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: arobmadrid

          Thank you! =) Speaking of suckling pig... we do want to try this. Is Botin just TOO touristy? I see much talk of this place being great.. but over run with tourists. We like to try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. Any particular restaurant in Segovia? We'll be in Madrid for 4 days... so we just may have time between the Tapas tours and markets visits to venture out to Segovia.

        2. I wouldn't put too much stock in rankings... If you like flavorful meat with a lot of texture, go for a chuletón de buey (it's huge and must be shared) at a Basque asador like Julián de Tolosa on the Cava Baja (also their pimientos del piquillo), Asador Ansorena, or Asador Imanol. The steaks in Spain are different--different cuts, different breeds, etc.

          5 Replies
          1. re: butterfly

            Thank you all! This is the feedback I was looking for... I had searched the boards and found some great stuff, but wanted something more recent. A lot of the stuff I found was pretty dated.

            1. re: butterfly

              Thanks! I see Asador Ansorena mentioned quite a bit... I'll add it to my list! And we look forward to trying all the different cuts/breeds. I'd like to think of us as being adventourous.. =)

              1. re: aknabe

                Casa Botin attracts tourists. But it also attracts locals. The food is suprisingly good. The suckling pig being a specialty and they do it very well.

                We really enjoy Taverna Goya for inexpensive eats it's on Lagasca between Hermosilla and Goya. I love their smashed eggs with jamon serrano. Ham croquettes are so good and creamy. However I highly recommend you get there before 8:10 PM <which seems to be the magic hour for these tavern types places>, after that it get's jammed packed with locals.

                If you go to Segovia and want to have lunch I would suggest the Parador that is right outside Segovia and overlooks the castle. Paradores, which are government owned hotels <many former castles, convents, monasteries or royal residences> make a point of serving food native to the area.

                Parador de Segovia:

                Parador de Segovia # 2:

                1. re: Quimbombo

                  Please do post the name.. that sounds like a pretty fun afternoon lunch. Taverna Goya.. on the list!

                  1. re: aknabe

                    Check my previous post for the first Segovia Parador.

                    Here is one a little further <11K> that recently opened up that was once a monastery:

            2. OP--you do not sound like you like tourist places. Botin is definitely that. But you may want to try it once. Their suckling pig is good but not like in many other places in Spain---starting with Segovia.