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Jun 11, 2010 12:44 PM

Madrid: where can one eat well with food friendly kids in tow

I will be in Madrid with my 7 and 11 year old super eaters and would like some ideas. I know kids are well loved in Spain, but not everyone wants to see children in restuarants and I'd rather go somewhere where I don't have to worry.

For the most part I'd like to keep the budget in the reasonable range, but I'm up for a splurge.

Here are my questions:

Which asador would be our best bet?
Any molecular, inventive places where kids can be seen?
Any good tapas NOT on Cava Baja (great stuff, but been there, done that)
Any reasonable traditional places?

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  1. Kids are welcome in just about any place in Madrid. It more depends on your children and their attention span.
    1. asador is no problem as one will find family eating in them. Search this board as there are recent posts on them.
    2. Molecular: one will find very few children NOT because they are not welcome. The meal can be long, generally expensive and ambience more subdued. Is 3 hours too long for your children to sit or will they eat this type of food . I am sure most kitchen will prepare something your children will enjoy but keep in mind that the kitchen might not be as flexible as some.
    3. There are tapas places in just about every neighborhood in Madrid. Near the center is Huertas; across Gran Via is Cheuca and Malasana; east of the Retiro on c/Menorca and c/Dr. Castelo are some very good places; a little further out in Chamberi are good places around c/Ponzano
    4. Reasonable traditional places: what is reasonable? we all have different concept of cost. Arce is inventive/traditional Basque; food is serious but service and ambience are very informal; always families there. Dantzar is also good.

    1. Tips for "super eaters-boys":
      Churros for breakfast at "Casa Manolo" on Calle Jovellanos 7. The best churros in town. Also, excellent croquetas at lunchtime.
      "La Cueva de 1900" on Plaza de los Cubos --at the beginning of Calle Pricesa, close to Plaza España-- Tapas and cured ham.
      "La Casa del Abuelo" on Calle Victoria near Puerta del Sol. Gambas al ajillo (fried shrimp).
      "Las Bravas" on Calle Espoz y Mina 13. Patatas bravas (fried potato with spicy tomato sauce).
      "Asador Fronton" on Plaza Tirso de Molina 7. Grilled steaks.
      "El Asador de Aranda" on Calle Preciados near Plaza Santo Domingo. Delicious cordero asado (roast lamb).
      "La Sanabresa" on Calle Amor de Dios 12 near Metro Anton Martin. Spanish home cooking.
      Would you dare to try pulpo? (slices of boiled octopus with paprika). Do it at "La Panera" on Calle Arenal 19.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JuanDoe

        Dare to try pulpo? We love it and eat it with abandon. When I said that the kids were super eaters I meant it. My son and I live for eating callos Madrileños.

        By the way, who makes delicious callos in Madrid? Looking for a new place for that.

        Love your ideas Juan. Gracias.

        Hadn't calculated the time factor for finer dining. The older boy would love it and pray to the food gods but the little guy would be squirmy and tedious after two hours. Love traveling alone with my kids but sometimes It's hard when you are in food land without the chance of enjoying a grown up meal with another adult.

        1. re: españaolé

          What about having well-cooked callos while overviewing the Real Madrid pitch?
          Restaurant: El Asador de la Esquina.
          Adress: Real Madrid Soccer Stadium, Gate 46. Subway stop: Santiago Bernabeu

          Real Madrid Stadium Tour:

          1. re: españaolé

            I can see you know the stuff. Here's a brief tour through Spanish regional cuisines.
            Madrilenian cocido (typical chickpea stew) at MALACATÍN on Calle de la Ruda 5. Nearest Metro: La Latina.

            Don't miss a great value for money Basque restaurant in Madrid: DANTXARI. Highly recs: Almejas en salsa verde to share (clams with parsley sauce), Alubias de Tolosa (Basque dark beans stew), bacalao al pil-pil (codfish cooked with garlic and a bit of chili), txangurro (spider crab stuffed, then baked). Desserts: leche frita --literally fried milk--, arroz con leche (sweet rice pudding) or Idiazabal cheese.

            Not only paella. Try also the arroz negro con ali-oli (rice cooked with squid) in LA BARRACA

            … or arroz con bogavante (soupy rice with lobster) and fried fish Andalusian-style in LA GIRALDA II on Calle Hartzenbusch 12. Nearest Metro: Bilbao.

            A Mecca for shellfish fans: CASA RAFA on Calle Narvaez 68. Nearest Metro: Ibiza. Top quality shellfish. They also serve excellent jamón and ensaladilla rusa.

            1. re: JuanDoe

              JuanDoe! Now we're talkin'!

              Totally sold on Dantxari. Will go!

              I lived with a Bilbaino for 5 years and it has been a long time since the mamas and abuelas cooked me alubias de Tolosa or bacalao pil pil. I have such nostalgia for those foods! I will try not to weep into my chipirones en su tinta.

              Digging the idea of having my callos at the stadium.

              So short on time in Madrid, so many things to eat.

              Say JuanDoe, you seem very knowledgable. Can you tell me how I might do well in Sevilla. Taking the boys there after Madrid...

              1. re: españaolé

                You & your sons might spend a whole month in Madrid enjoying foods! Here's a few last minute clues:
                It is said that the best callos in town are cooked at SAN MAMES on Calle Bravo Murillo 88, subway: Cuatro Caminos. They are really good but HIGH PRICED too. The best chipirones en su tinta, maybe, at a humble restaurant called EL BOCHO on Calle San Roque 18, nearest subway: Callao or Tribunal.
                I think that your sons would like to see the Royal Armoury in the Royal Palace:
                … the changing of the Guard (only on Wed
                … visit the Railway museum and hop on the mini-train
                … or rowing in El Retiro Park

                I'm not an expert about Seville but like its atmospheric tapas bars. Search in this forum for updated info.

                * Jamón! & lomo embuchado! (cured pork loin)
                * Pringá: bread topped with stewed pork meat --a poor definition--, just try it
                * Flamenquines: pork and ham rolls.
                * Bienmesabe: marinated fish, then fried
                * Pescaíto frito: fish fried in olive oil
                * Gambas (shrimp) and langostinos (crawfish)
                * Coquinas: clams of the southern coast fried with parsley
                * Choco con habas: small cuttlefish with broad beans
                * Lomo de orza: marinated pork loin
                * Gazpacho: refreshing tomato soup or Salmorejo (thick gazpacho)
                * Alcauciles: artichoke
                * Manzanilla: chilled sherry-like white wine

                1. re: JuanDoe

                  Dantxari looks amazing - I'm especially impressed by their dessert menu; no mention of prices that I could see on the website - could you give me an approximate idea?

                  1. re: JuanDoe


                    You've gone above and beyond. Many many thanks to you for all your thoughtful ideas!

          2. One of the best, cheapest, and kid-friendliest places I know in Madrid is the Cafe Mas Que Cafe, a lunch counter in the Mercado Anton Martin. It´s got working-mens menu items (and prices) as well as traditional homemade Peruvian food; friendly service, and your dining companions are often the talent from the flamenco-dancing school upstairs!

            1. Espanaole, I hope your trip was fabulous. I'm heading to Madrid with my kids in February - were there any stand-outs in your trip. In particular, any fish (not shellfish) recommendations. Thanks