Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >
Jul 23, 2012 10:42 AM

2 nights in Madrid, top restaurant choices?

I'll be in Madrid in September and would like to know top choices for restaurants or casual places for tapas. Doesn't have to be a Michelin-starred restaurant

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is a lot of recent information here on Madrid, so I suggest a search here first.

    21 Replies
    1. re: erica

      Thanks. I did do a search first and was reasonably satisfied. Just looking for more focus.

      1. re: loriw1a

        You might get more help if you narrow down the focus, either by providing a budget, desired type of food, desired location, etc.

        Will this be your first trip and if not, what places have you enjoyed in the past?

        What places intrigued you in the reports that you read here on CH?

        Many first-time visitors, and also repeat visitors, head for the Latina area for tapas. We liked Casa Lucas.

        1. re: erica

          I've never been to Madrid before, only Barcelona. It's the tail end of a trip to Croatia, so we have very limited time. I was hoping one night would be more for tapas and the other night a more special restaurant. I collated a lot of the responses, and here were a few that intrigued me most:
          -- Casa Alberto on Calle Huertas
          -- If I have one night for tapas, I would head for Cava Baja and the streets around it. It has the best and most varied tapas places, including some serving pintxos
          -- I heartily second this Paco Meralgo recommendation for tapas
          -- 1) El Club Allard (the most mind-blowing meal of the trip).
          -- Arzabal - We went here for dinner. The tapas here are excellent, far better than what we had on Cava Baja
          -- Diverxo - My favorite meal of our entire trip (then someone else said they went and weren't impressed
          )-- del Casino can't be beat if you're dining on the terrace.

          Sooo, what do you think?

          1. re: loriw1a

            PacoMeralgo is in Barcelona.

            Diverxo reservations are hard to come by and there is an Asian influence.

            I liked Arzabal for dinner but I would not go there if I had such a limited time in the city.

            What I think is what I wrote need to offer some hints if you are to receive any meaningful information. Will your budget allow places in the range of Club Allard and Terraza del Casino? What kind of food do you want to eat? Meat? Seafood?
            Traditional? Cutting edge?

            What days of the week does your visit include? Not Sunday, I hope!

            I agree with the Cava Baja idea, as I wrote in my last post; the area is called La Latina.

            1. re: erica

              Thanks. Some Barcelona recommendations did get mixed in. Actually, I just looked at my itinerary and one night is Sunday. I realize that will make dining difficult. What do you suggest?
              My budget does allow for one splurge meal at a restaurant that has good seafood options. I really wanted to experience tapas as well, but now with my itinerary including a Sunday, I'm wondering if that will be difficult. I wasn't more specific on my preferences as I didn't want to be so limiting. I do like cutting-edge cuisine but didn't want to necessarily eliminate restaurants that are more traditional.
              Would Terraza, Club Allard or Diverxo even open on Sundays?

              1. re: erica

                I see that Casa Lucio and Botin are open on Sunday. Are they too touristy? Worth going to ?

                1. re: loriw1a

                  None of those three--Terraza, Diverxo, Allard-- will be open on Sunday. And the tapas place I mentioned is Casa Lucas, not Casa Lucio (confusing, I know!) .

                  I have not been to Botin in more years than I care to count, but while it is touristy, I've heard the food is still good.

                  Please search here for "Madrid open on Sunday" and come back with more questions..there are a few threads on that topic, but the bottom line is that you are severely limited in your choices on that day of the week. But there are places that will be open for Sunday lunch and not dinner, so you have more choice if you make the mid-day meal your big meal on that day.

                  Here are two threads to get you started; do not despair--you will find something!!

                  My own upcoming visit will begin on a Sunday and I will have the same problem!
                  My notes say to take a look at these two (in addition to the places on the other threads) which are open on Sundays, but I've not been:

                  Taberna Gaztelupe




                  1. re: erica

                    Thank you so much. I did do a search of my own for restaurants open on Sunday. I guess if I want to have the tapas experience, I should do that on Saturday, when I'm there as well. Well, if you land on a place for your own visit, do let me know what you end up choosing. Again, thanks for all your help.

                    1. re: loriw1a

                      If you can handle eating standing up, you can tapas hop around La Latina Sunday for lunch into the late afternoon (1-6pm-ish). Normally restaurants close after lunch around 4:00ish--and during the weekdays tapas aren't really a lunch thing in Madrid--but on Sunday places in La Latina stay open later, to accomodate the snack-happy post-Rastro crowd. There are spots that range from down-and-dirty holes in the wall (like the sardine spot on the Plaza del General Vara del Rey or many tostas places sprinkled around the Rastro) to higher concept spots. One off the beaten path place that I like is Taberna La Solana at the corner of Calle Mira el Sol and c/Peña de Francia.

                      You can also hit the nearby San Miguel Market, which is open on Sundays until midnight (though some stalls/bars close earlier, I believe).

                      If you are coming the first week or so of September, some places in La Latina may still be closed, since the neighborhood fiestas in mid August push back the closings a few weeks for many spots.

                    2. re: erica

                      Just curious, did you ever settle on a restaurant for your Sunday stay?

                      1. re: loriw1a

                        Lori if you are asking me, the answer is "Not yet!"

                        Another possibility for Sunday lunch is Cesta de Recoletos.

                        Any thoughts here on that restaurant?

                        1. re: erica

                          By the way, I looked at these two suggestions you posted, which looked good. I thought both were open for Sunday dinner, but I guess just one is, correct?

                          Taberna Gaztelupe


                          1. re: loriw1a

                            I thought they were both open for Sunday dinner--which one do you think is not open?

                            1. re: erica

                              This one:

                              When you try to reserve online for Sunday, it only offers times earlier in the day for all Sundays.I sent an email but so far no response. They could be closed in August.

                              1. re: loriw1a

                                Quite a few places seem to be closed this month, so give them more time...I do see why you mean about trying to reserve for Sunday dinner....

                                This is a seafood restaurant that was a favorite of a friend of mine who lived in Madrid for a few years. They seem to be open Sunday dinner.


                                1. re: erica

                                  Quick question, is it necessary to have a reservation for any of the tapas places in the Latina area?

                                  1. re: loriw1a

                                    Lori I do not believe you can reserve at most of these. Agree with poster below that Casa Lucas is excellent. If you arrive near opening times, you can often grab counter seats, or seats at those that have small tables.

                                    1. re: erica

                                      There is a crisis in Spain and 25% unemployment.

                                      The official language is Spanish. If you want to reserve a table at a restaurant, I have never had a problem, however, in Spanish as most Spaniards have more or less an Intermediate Level B1 OR B1 + EU level of English as in reality they studied the grammar which is very good in a grammar class activity. However, the verbal output is rustic.

                                      Best of luck on your trip and enjoy. Its a great city and easy on public transport, recently renovated.

                                      1. re: erica

                                        Thanks, that was my thinking (about arriving near opening since people dine so later for dinner).

            2. re: erica

              From a legal resident with professional commitments in Madrid Capital; here are my suggestions:

              1) Hotel Derby - Restaurant Europa Dëco - Chef Joaquin Felipe
              2) Chef Paco Roncero ( his Michelin Restaurant & / or his reasonably priced Gastro Bar : Estado Puro )
              3) Club Allard Restaurant ( evolutionary regional )
              4) ( Sardinian Regional with owner Ignazio Deías ) His new Caffé Poetti
              5) El Botín ( roast lamb or roast suckling piglet only ) - one of the oldest restaurants in Spain
              6) Brunch International: Hotel Intercontinental: Paseo de La Castellana 49 - there is no better brunch in the city
              7) CAFÉ ORIENTE for Wine and the gorgeous gardens and statues in front of Royal Palace - Ópera Barrio = neighborhood
              8) CASA JOSÉ - IN ARANJUEZ - In Rail, 40 mins. south; 1 street from the Aranjuez Palace - Michelin with Fernando del Cerro, this is unforgettable.
              9) MARIO SANDOVAL - Humanes, Madrid - Youngest chef to have ever rec´d a Michelin, and have his roast suckling piglet and the Taster´s Carte ... Fab wine cellar too.
              10) Casa Lucas is a small Wine and Tapas Bar on Cava Baja, on the even numbered side of the street ; good tapas and great wines.
              11) AVOID CASA LUCIO; it is a wrip off, and a dungeon ... It is a WAS.
              12) MATRITUM : FOR GREAT WINES AND TAPAS, on CAVA ALTA ... Barrio: La Latina

              1. re: foodeditormargaux

                Any of those recommended spots open for Sunday dinner?

            3. Also looking for a high end place in the central area, cooking classic Castilian food. Not interested in tapas or molecular type places, both of which we can happily experience elsewhere.

              Although we visit Spain almost every year, I have never been to Madrid - my partner spent a couple of days there, with work colleagues and is whisking me back for a couple of days to look at the Prado and Thyssen. She recalls eating at somewhere she enjoyed but can't recall the name - from the description I'm sure it must have been the Botin and we'll eat there one night - so somewhere that'll complement that experience.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters

                As for roast, La Posada de la Villa for cordero (roast lamb), La Taberna de Cascajares for cochinillo (roast suckling pig) and Extremadura for cabrito (roast goat kid).

              2. El Club Allard is my top choice. Ramon Freixa is also good if you want Calalonian style food. Casino is good for romantic dining but food is not a top class For my taste. Diverxo is also great but it's mixed Europien and Asian Cuisine if you don't like this type of cuisine just skip it. For tapas I recommend Maison de Champion near Plaza Mayor. Grilled mushroom and green chili are the bes. If you have time you should try Paella at La Baracca.