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May 24, 2012 08:54 AM

Attire when fine dining in Madrid and Barcelona

I'm going to be visiting Madrid and Barcelona in late June. When I travel, I really hate bringing suits, so I generally like to go to places where I can wear a nice pair of jeans and maybe a leather jacket. But I also like the idea of trying one or two nice places for dinner (or probably lunch).

In Madrid, I'm thinking of making reservations at El Club Allard and Lua for lunch.

In Barcelona, (since Tickets is too hard to get a reservations at this late date) I was thinking of going to Gelonch.

Do any of you have any idea about weather there's a dress code for any of these places for men and whether I could get away with jeans and maybe no coat at these places? Especially since I'm guessing it might be warm in Spain in June. Thanks!

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  1. casual-fashion.

    My dress code in most restaurants :
    Clean jeans, nice real shoes, dressed shirt (I can add a jacket depending on the restaurant)

    Madrid can be "cold" at night (it's high in altitude), bring a nice sweater.


    1. You can definitely get away with jeans and no jacket. I wore sneakers to all of my nicer meals (in Barcelona) too which was no problem whatsoever. I wouldn't wear flip-flops though.

      1 Reply
      1. Yes just understand that you can be in a suit and be dressed sloppily. If you saw what I was wearing, I'm not sure you would say I was dressed sloppily (they were nice casual sneakers, nice jeans, and a nice button down). And I do care enough and am culturally sensitive. Even at Can Roca, there were a bunch of diners wearing nice jeans and sneakers who did not look out of place at all.

        I would say the general dress code is "neat casual" at most restaurants.

      2. Thanks Maximillen/Erha. But are these general observations or have you actually dined at the restaurants I named and wore "neat casual"?

        4 Replies
        1. re: singleguychef

          Of the restaurants you've mentioned, I've only dined at Tickets.

          1. re: singleguychef

            Maximilien, whose posts we know well here, is used to a wide range of dining, from the sublime to the sublime street food. You can't go wrong with his advice.
            And in the better restaurants from San Sebstian to Madrid to Barcelona, his dress code is spot on.

            1. re: Parigi

              Just speaking about my Barcelona experience as we dined in mostly casual restaurants in Madrid. Was there late Sep 2011 and it was a hot beginning of Autumn. I went in shorts, t & trainers to Can Roca and Sant Pau and it was fine. I had slacks on for Can Fabes as I don't think they allow shorts. Barcelona is very casual as is Tickets. I usually make the effort to put on something smarter but it was just too hot and I was already sweating profusely from the walking about all day.

              1. re: mikey8811

                Last trip to Europe was 4 years ago, but I'm pretty sure that I did not see any European men wearing trainers, shorts, or t-shirts in any restaurant. Nice jeans, decent shoes, dress shirt with rolled-up sleeves in hot weather seemed to be the norm.

          2. Folks, dress code topics are always controversial, so we'd ask that you keep the focus narrow. Please don't snark at each other over choice of clothing, or get into debates about whether one kind of attire or another is respectful or disrespectful. If you've eaten at the specific restaurants the original post mentions, please do go ahead and post what you know about whether they have a dress code.

            1. Until recently I lived in Madrid for a decade (now live on the coast). At virtually every high-level restaurant, some decent shoes (not trainers), slacks/decent jeans (no holes or tears) and a button-down shirt is dressed up enough. In the summer, swap the shirt for a polo. Jackets as required attire are virtually unheard of outside of a handful of restaurants.

              3 Replies
              1. re: avrv1

                Thanks, sounds like I'm good with leaving my jacket at home. I checked the weather and Madrid is already in the 90s during the days so I'm happy to not go with a jacket for a lunch reservation. I just made a reservation for lunch at El Club Allard so really looking forward to it!

                1. re: singleguychef

                  I envy you, I wanted to go there at the beginning of march but -only- called 2 weeks in advance. No luck. The place is getting incredible reviews

                  1. re: singleguychef

                    Yes, it will be very hot here from now until September (but it cools off at night). A jacket would definitely be overkill for all but the most formal spots (of which there are very few, especially compared to the US East Coast). Everything relaxes in the summer, but there's definitely a fine line between relaxed and frumpy that Spanish folks don't cross. Personally, as a woman, I wouldn't wear jeans to a very nice restaurant, but lots of people do (though a lot of people also press their jeans here, which is something I'm incapable of doing). Dresses are cooler, anyway!