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Aug 5, 2014 07:25 AM

4 lunches in Madrid in mid-Sept; interesting food, 100-120 E a couple (w. wine)

I'm Paris and CH-FR based but visit Spain every two years (last 18 months ago).
My interest is interesting food in mostly new places for 100-120 E a couple, including wine at lunch. Decor, nappery & flowers are unimportant.
As examples of what I've found enjoyable are the two museum restaurants in Bilbao and the places run by El Bulli graduates around Girona.
I will be staying at the Miguel Angel (Metro: GREGORIO MARAÑÓN) but willing to travel by Metro up to 40 minutes.
In gratitude I'll award you a lifetime subscription to John Talbott's Paris.

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  1. The hottest spots in summer 2014 are:

    DiverXo by David Muñoz (3 Michelin stars), a must at new venue: Calle Padré Damián 23, NH Eurobuilding Hotel

    Lakasa by César Martín

    DSTAgE by Diego Guerrero (2 Michelin stars

    Arriba by Ramón Freixa (2 Michelin stars) at Platea Madrid, new trendy food court.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JuanDoe

      Thank you. With all those stars they still are reasonable?

      1. re: JuanDoe

        "Arriba by Ramón Freixa (2 Michelin stars) at Platea Madrid, new trendy food court."
        Thanks Juan, I was dazzled by the Food Court, awed by the big TV but underwhelmed by Ramón Freixa's cod cakes and sort-of-paella. I appreciated your help; keep it up.

      2. John,
        Knowing how useful your France posts are, I was hoping more people could help you here. I haven't been to Madrid for 5 years, so can't help specifically but, in my 'general' experience in Spain, I've found that the starred-type restos offer almost identical lunch choices to their evening menus (at the same prices). Mid-and lower-range 'may' also have the equivalent of the 'prix-fixe' lunch but sometimes(?often - particularly in the south) do not provide these 'lunch specials' in a formal menu, once you're inside. You just get the regular menu unless you specifically ask. However, these are usually posted at the entrance.
        Hopefully, I've moved this up so others can provide specific recommendations.

        5 Replies
        1. re: estufarian

          i'm also traveling to Madrid in about month, and would love recommendations from fellow travelers and locals. i'm responding to bump this string back up. thank you in advance for any help! if you ever need NYC or SF recs, i will return the favor!

          1. re: trapperkeeper

            I was just in Madrid, been many times. I was with a newbie.

            Took her to Botin (old school), O Pazo (best seafood) and Tiridiana ( new school). Wanted to cover all the bases.

            All were fantastic.

            There are so many choices in Madrid now.

            1. re: trapperkeeper

              Here are two of my standbys in Madrid:

              Taberna Laredo (cocina del autor--chef-driven, casual place)

              Casa Rafa (classic seafood; open Sunday lunch when many places are shuttered)

              1. re: erica

                Thanks so much erica, although I don't get in from Paris til late afternoon.

            2. re: estufarian

              That's most kind, thank you estufarian.

            3. John - heading to Madrid in late October, so please post back on where you ended up. This board isn't as robust on restaurant options as the Paris board is, was hoping I'd find more but maybe it's nice that it isn't - can't decide right now.

              15 Replies
              1. re: thimes

                Take a gander at John Talbott's Paris this week.
                Grest suckling pig at El Senador, less exciting stuff elsewhere.

                1. re: thimes

                  "John - heading to Madrid in late October, so please post back on where you ended up. This board isn't as robust on restaurant options as the Paris board is, was hoping I'd find more but maybe it's nice that it isn't - can't decide right now."
                  You know, I was thrown by the lack of responses and interactions here; in France we have a loyal bunch of French and American locals, expats & visitors; it's too bad Spain doesn't have the same.
                  Is it the food? Or passion?

                  1. re: John Talbott

                    Well, from reading your blog, it sounds like it wasn't a rousing experience overall. I'll have to keep doing some research before I go.

                    I have to wonder how CH "promotes" the international boards to get posters. You're right, France has a lot of contributors that have a lot of knowledge. If the Spain board has the same it is hard to see that.

                    But if you talk to a Spaniard, they certainly have passion about their food . . . so I don't know where the disconnect comes from - or why the Spain board doesn't have the same local interest as the France board.

                    I don't follow enough of the other international boards to know how they compare either . . .

                    Thanks for posting back.

                    1. re: thimes

                      I suspect it's the language barrier. Many of the regular posters on the France board are English-speaking expats, and generally I think the French are much more likely to be fluent in English than the Spaniards (I may be wrong, but it could explain the disparity).

                      1. re: rrems

                        I think it's more that the culture of eating in Spain is radically different. Visitors tend to be looking to eat in a way that's fairly foreign to those of us who live here longterm. It makes it harder to make suggestions. I try to drop in from time to time, because I have a soft spot for Chowhound, but I get almost all of my local food info from Spanish sources.

                        1. re: butterfly

                          Could you please share some of your sources? I have the hardest time finding anything food related in Spanish. All I know is Verema.

                          1. re: SnackHappy

                            I'd love to hear where people discuss food/dining in Spain - the blogs I find are pretty weak too. They don't have to be in English . . . .

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              Do you know this site? Some very knowledgable posters here.


                              1. re: erica

                                No, I don't know that one. Thanks! Will check it out today.

                              2. re: SnackHappy

                                Verema can be very good--particularly in remote areas and for places that have some longevity.

                                For the newspapers or online media: El Mundo/Metropoli's "dónde comer" column and El Mundo Vino, El País Gastronomía, Vanitatis, Directo al Paladar...

                                There are countless blogs that you can keep track of on Twitter:

                                In Madrid, there are lots of neighborhood-based sites, fb groups, journalists twitter accounts, etc.--I think these are the best way to find out about new places online. 11870 was Spain's "Yelp" at one time, but doesn't seem as active these days--though Jesús Encinar's profile is certainly worth a look--not sure how anyone eats that much--and their yearly round ups are interesting.

                                But really, word of mouth is a huge factor here. Food and travel are always in the top three topics of conversation...

                                If you have a particular place in mind, you can try to glean some info from the reviews at El Tenedor, Restalo, Atrápalo, etc. Every so often, when I'm desperate and far from home, I find a very far flung place in Minube's app. In my opinion, TripAdvisor and Yelp do far more harm than good.

                                1. re: butterfly

                                  Thank you so much for this. I was unaware of most of these blogs. I'm going to add them to my reading list. I've used 11870 a bit in the past, but had sort of forgotten about it because it seemed to not have many recent posts.

                                  I guess, now, I have no excuse not to start my research for my next trip.

                                  Thank you again!

                            2. re: rrems

                              I'm not so sure rrems; I speak sort-of French but little Spanish and I was impressed by the Madrileños' English, granted in Starbucks, restaurants, hotels and the Prado, etc. versus in Paris where I often find myself interpreting, at least in restaurants and on the street.

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                I agree, but the question was why there are more posters on the France board, and we know there are many who, like you, are expats, and there are also quite a few who are French but speak English well. I'm not sure there are as many of either of these in Spain. Yes, people who work in restaurants and hotels may be more likely to know some English, but they are not the people who would likely be posting on CH.

                                1. re: rrems

                                  I think it's a matter of numbers. There are far more US expats in Paris.

                                  Madrid really doesn't have a sizeable, established US expat community (around 7000 or less in the whole region). Those of us who are here long term tend to be fairly integrated, scattered, and not particularly organized into any sort of "presence."

                                  Spain's tourism industry is also more decentralized, meaning fewer visitors pass through the capital (4 million out of the 60 million foreign visitors to Spain-- half that of Barcelona, and less than a third that of Paris ). Madrid is different.

                              2. re: rrems

                                I agree about the French at least being more willing to try to speak English. But there is still an expat community in Madrid (again smaller than in Paris) . . . .

                                anyway - my knowledge of both languages is mediocre but I can get around most of the time (though I learned Spanish from Cuban and Mexican teachers - so the "food words" are sometimes challenging when traveling in Spain) . . .

                                I just found it funny that not only do I feel like you'll get less English in Spain in general - you'll also have a much harder time with Google translate in Spanish than in French. When in France if I use Chrome to translate websites I can pretty much read the pages with no problems, when doing that with Spanish sites . . . . not so much. (I was just going through the reviews on the site Erica recommended above)

                                Just one of those subtle difference that I guess you don't appreciate when you live in the most "touristed" cities in countries in the world . . .