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May 11, 2012 01:45 PM

Madrid - great food without romance ?

Dear all

Off to Madrid at the end of the month , but with a friend as opposed to other half, hence no need for romance - just great food !

Am open to any cuisine suggestions, though price bracket more towards moderate than high end. Prefer a locals vibe rather than touristy though lamentably I speak little Spanish so nowhere unfriendly or intimidating, please !

No particular cuisine preferences but tending toward the more authentic Spanish or other European than any asian/fusion stuff unless it is outstanding.

We are staying at
Calle de San Sebastián, 2
28012 Madrid,

which I think is pretty central so places near there would be cool. We do have four nights though so if somewhere is a 'must eat' would be happy to commute.

Also wonder if there is anywhere which is the equivalent of La Paradeta in Barcelona ? - great value no frills seafood that you choose what you want and how you want it cooking in almost a market kind of setting ( poor description but if you have been hopefully you will know what I mean - if you haven't been you should go ! )

If there is no similar nirvana in Barcelona, where to go for great squid or decent seafood ?

Finally any decent bars with live music suitable for two blokes in early 40's i.e not full of students - indie through bluegrass a preference !

Thanks in advance

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  1. Some tips near Calle de San Sebastián, 2 (google map)

    1. I've never seen anything like Barcelona's La Paradeta in Madrid. You could try Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid. It's a big food market just off the Plaza Mayor. It's neat because you can get your wine, wonder around, and sample dishes from around Spain. The Galician stalls are probably the best. There's a nice oyster stand. It's touristy but last time I was there Spanish was the dominant language I heard. It's a cool, casual night out. Food isn't 'top notch' but it keeps in line with the atmosphere of the place.

      I just had a look on the map that JuanDoe posted. You'll be staying right near Calle de Las Huertas. If you're after great seafood there's a Galician restaurant called Maceiras. Very casual, very loud, very close to your hotel. Seafood is amazing, octopus and clams in particular.

      Also, if your not doing the romance thing you can do the macho thing and have a drink at Cervecería Alemana, just off Plaza Santa Ana, just a short walk from your hotel. This is where Hemingway used to hang out with the matadors back in the day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pjammer


        Thanks both for these posts - Maceiras looks exactly like the kind of place we are after.

        A friend of mine has suggested a night out in the Malasana or Chueca barrio.

        Any top places for food & beers up there ?

        Thanks again

      2. Near your hotel there's another Galician place called O'Barquiño in calle Torecilla del Leal. Try their lunch prix-fix menu (9 euros weekdays, 12,50 euros weekends) for typical home cooking fare. Do not order their paella, however. Galicians are great for seafood, but don't know how to do rice - that's a mediterranian speciality. Can't go wrong with any fish they cook. Their "raciones" (portions which are ordered to share)are also excellent: octopuss, scallops on the half-shell, croquetas (bechammel fritters)...

        On calle Lavapies their's a place called Mano a Mano: great rice dishes, both in paella form and "calderetas", a soupier rice dish served in a pot. Other items on their menu are more eclectic, also very good. With wine, a shared starter and dessert (their fruit lasagna is legendary) will come to about 30 euros a pop.

        A nice down and dirty place for lunch: shrimp and razor clams on the griddle (and deep fried baby squid - "chopitos") is Bar La Cruz on Plaza Cascorro.

        Don't know any places in Malasaña: night life age range is more people in their 20's, 30's, tending towards counter-culture. Chueca is the gay neighbourhood. Lots of fashionable restaurants, but I suspect the price/quality ratio is out of line.

        Can't help you with the live music scene, I'm afraid!

        1. Orio is a very good place in Malasaña. A pintxo bar downstairs and dining room up.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Steve

            Hey all

            Just wanted to say thanks for your posts. JuanDoe's ,map was particularly helpful, though La Ancha seemed to be closed - even at 9pm on a Saturday night.

            We couldn't get into Lamucca without a reservation ( again on a Saturday night ). We loved Casa Alberto ,Casa Gonzalez and Maceiras in particular. The sherry place was an 'experience' for a none Spanish speaker - a fairly rude experience it has to be said but, hey, they don't want tourists in there in the first place.

            We also got great Tapas and marvelous 20cl glasses of Mahou at several tiny bars - thus meaning that I will not be able to face eating at another overpriced and poor quality Spanish restaurant in the UK again for quite some time !

            Thanks again

            1. re: willowan

              "thus meaning that I will not be able to face eating at another overpriced and poor quality Spanish restaurant in the UK again for quite some time !"

              A year ago a hilarious spoof message from Cesc Fabregas was making the rounds, where the about-to-transfer-back-home-to-Barcelona Arsenal player said that he had decided never to leave London because he had discovered the fabulous tapas there.

          2. Don't know if you're still here, but we've just put together a great list of restaurants we like in the form of a blog! Our blog highlights the restaurants that are good for vegetarians, but most of them have plenty of meat, fish and seafood on their menus too - as in they're not actually vegetarian only restaurants... Here it is!

            Hope you have an excellent trip!