Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo Dining/Bar Questions
We're planning a trip in October to these destinations, and I am busily collecting restaurant and food recommendations. We're taking our almost-13yo daughter with us. She's a real foodie, and she loves the same dining experiences that we do - local cuisine, some high-end, some cheap, but mostly mid-range. And we customarily eat late here at home, about 9 pm or so, so that will work out fine.
I have some questions, though, involved our daughter that I haven't seen addressed:
After hearing of our previous trip to Barcelona (without her), she's eagerly looking forward to chocolate y churros every breakfast. I have names of places in Madrid, but not in the other cities. Is it easy to find good cafes that serve chocolate y churros for her and other Spanish breakfast items (such as a bikini sandwich, which I gather it's called a combinado in Madrid) for the grownups? Do most of them open at 9 am? That was our general experience in Barcelona.
Is it ok to take kids to tapas bars? When we were in Barcelona, with our then-12yo son, our tapas experiences were outside, so we didn't face this question. Is it like in the U.S., where (generally speaking) if a place serves food, they're technically a restaurant, and kids can go in?
Our experience in taking her to Italy and France has been that in many places, restaurants are ok with serving her some wine with dinner (which follows our family philosophy on introducing our kids to responsible drinking). In fact, at Mon Vieil Ami, in Paris, last year, they served her an entire glass (we helped her finish it) without even asking us. Will we find the same in Spain?
Suggested tapas experience in Madrid, standing at the counter as locals do. Timing: 1pm-3pm or 8pm onwards.
* Bacalao (battered cod) at Revuelta, Plaza Puerta Cerrada, subway Sol or Tirso de Molina.
* Bocadillo de calamares (Bread roll filled with squid) at Calle Botoneras, next to the Plaza Mayor. Subway Sol.
* Boquerones en vinagre (fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar) at La Villa del Pescadito --closed on Monday--, Calle Toledo 26, subway Sol or Tirso de Molina. Try also their 'vermut de grifo' (vermouth on tap).
* Cabrales (blue cheese) at 'El Ñeru', Calle de Bordadores 5, subway Sol.
* Callos (tripe) at Bodegas Ricla at Calle de los Cuchilleros 6, subway Sol.
* Gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic sauce) at 'La Casa del Abuelo', Calle de la Victoria 12, subway Sol.
* Jamón (cured ham) at 'Vinos' aka Casa Dani, Calle Calatrava 11, subway Puerta de Toledo or La Latina.
* Oreja a la plancha (grilled pig's ear) at 'La Oreja de Oro', Calle de la Victoria 9, subway Sol.
* Patatas bravas (potato with spicy sauce) at 'Las Bravas', at Calle Espoz y Mina 13, subway Sol.
* Pimientos de Padrón (green peppers --some are hot, some are not--) at 'Nueva Galicia', Calle de La Cruz 6, subway Sol.
* Pincho de tortilla (potato & onion omelet) at Juanalaloca, Plaza Puerta de Moros 4, subway La Latina.
* Pulpo a feira (boiled octopus with paprika) at 'La Panera', Calle Arenal 19, subway Opera.
* Tigres --literally tigers-- (stuffed mussels) at 'El Rocío', Pasaje Matheu, subway Sol.
Restaurant experiences in Madrid:
Zerain at Calle Quevedo near Plaza Santa Ana. Basque cider house serving traditional Basque dishes: chuletón (steak) or bacalao (cod) washed down with the famous cider from Guipúzcoa, which is served directly from the 'txotx', or barrel.
The cocido --traditional Madridian chickpea stew-- is a full meal. Try it at Taberna de la Daniela (Calle de Jesús 7).
La Barraca, traditional restaurant for a must-eat: paella.
Cochinillo (roast suckling pig) or cordero asado (roast lamb) are also a must-eat in Castile. I like best the roast lamb washed down with red wine. My suggestion is 'La Posada de la Villa'.
Andalusian-style fried fish washed down with Barbadillo (white wine) at Taberna Cazorla, Calle Castelló 99.
Enjoy the Michelin starred restaurant housed in the beautiful Casino de Madrid.
DiverXo serves the trendiest cuisine in town.
Thanks for the additional information; I spent some time over the weekend looking at the food info I'd gathered so far, so I'm very much looking forward to the dining part of our trip!
Question about Restaurante de la Terraza, in the Casino de Madrid - I know it's associated with Ferran Adria. My husband will be celebrating his birthday while we're in Spain, and he didn't like Ramon Freixa (the restaurant) because it looked "too weird" (my daughter and I would love to eat there). It looks like Restaurante de la Terraza serves molecular cuisine, in which case, dear hubby will definitely not be interested in going there for his birthday dinner.
Any place a little more traditional? (Or as I might say in a moment of annoyance, a little more boring?)
Goizeko Wellington at Hotel Wellington is a great restaurant for best traditional Basque cuisine.
Technically restaurants aren't supposed to serve alcohol to kids under 18 years of age. That said, if you order a bottle of wine and pour her a bit to try, I don't think anyone would bat an eye.
Cafe/bars and tapas bars are like informal community centers, everyone is welcome. There's really no concept here of kids not being welcome in establishments. The only place where kids don't go are swanky bares de copas (after dinner drinks spots that get rolling around 12pm), some music clubs, and discos.
A bikini is called a "sandwich mixto" in Madrid. Some churros places open early, others a bit later (I believe San Ginés opens at 10am on the days when it stays open all night until 7am). In Madrid, there's also a churro time at merienda, which is around 6pm.
I have been travelling extensively through Spain in general and Andalucia in particular for the past 40 years with 2 children growing (too fast) and now grand-children. Since the age of 2, the waiters were "flirting" with my daughter (she is now 30...) and we never had any problem taking the kids to any restaurant be it Michelin starred or the simplest tapas bar. And yes, a little wine is perfectly OK too. The only incident we had was 2 years ago when she was refused access to the bar of the Hacienda Benasuza (Ferran Adria's place near Sevilla) because the barman thought she was under 18... She was quite pleased actually, but the rule was the hotel policy to keep the bar quiet for guests.
Just relax about it, and enjoy a great holiday! Your daughter will be OK.
For Toledo I've read great things about madre Tierra ( it's vegetarian ) although I am not a vegetarian, I love what great flavors the food can have without meat!
It's a nice midprice restaurant the food is a bit more upscale if you will...it's not just salads and boring vegetarian food as someone would think if they are not used to these type of restaurants