Dining in Madrid and toledo.
Foodie couple spending a week in Madrid and Toledo in May celebrating my 40th birthday in the country of my birth. I have not visited for 20 years. I am looking for some memorable dining suggestions for lunch and dinner. I have read some of the other posts but they seem to focus more on Barcelona.
My suggestions are:
A charming venue: Casino de Madrid at Calle Alcalá near the Puerta del Sol
Creative Spanish cuisine: Viridiana
Outstanding seafood: Combarro
Traditional Basque cuisine: Imanol specializes in Basque tapas (called pintxos) and 'chuleton' (large steak).
Small restaurant for having paella: Casa Benigna at Calle Benigno Soto 9. Reservations phone: 914 133 356
Dinner & flamenco show: Casa Patas
Traditional hot chocolate with 'churros' (fried dough) at San Ginés
Tapas restaurant in Toledo: La Abadía
Atmospheric venue & good cuisine in Toledo: Adolfo
Casual luncheon in Toledo: Alfileritos 24
Adolfo Munoz is the most celebrated chef in Toledo, and he has a number of restaurants there. I can't recommend the Adolfo Coleccion, for lunch, high enough. Get the tapas tasting menu. Incredible. If you're in any way interested in wine, ask if Javier, Adolfo's son and the wine director for his restaurants, is there. He's a Spanish wine expert and will talk Spanish wine all day.
For dinner, definitely hit Adolfo restaurante. Incredible menu and great looking restaurant space.
One word of warning about Toledo. This time of year, it completely empties out at night once the tour buses leave. Although some will say that is when the city's true charm shows, some people understate how empty it gets. Most restaurants will literally be empty while you eat at night, and we felt it ruined the atmopshere a bit (who wants to dine in an empty restaurant.
Thank you for the recommendations and responses. (fyi, I am new to blogging so forgive any etiquette errors and feel free to correct) I have checked out all of the restaurants and wish I could go to all of them. Ahh, if only I had more time. As is typical for me, I leave for Madrid in one month and I am just making dining reservations a priority and getting the itinerary squared away. We are definitely considering the Casino de Madrid, Adolfo's and another restaurant called Zalacain. One more question. Should I make reservations at these establishments for lunch and do more of a tapas/bar menu in the evening. Any suggestions you have would be helpful. Thanks
I think the lunch vs. dinner thing depends on your other objectives... If you want to do anything in the afternoon, then a long lunch might derail that. If you are less ambitious, lunch can be more relaxed than dinner (which is hardly a rushed affair here, in any case).
I would also suggest looking into Viridiana--it's a very personal, quirky take on the best Spanish ingredients. Quite different from the other, bigger restaurants on your list (the Casino with it's beautiful view/room; and the much more classic ambiance of Zalacaín).
You're probably still fine for reservations for any of them--unless you are trying for Semana Santa.
If you are a bit more specific about what your interests are, we could make more/better recs.