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Madrid Trip Report -- hits and near-misses

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We just came back from 8 days in Madrid (after 9 in Portugal -- will post that separately)...loved the city and food madly, even in sleepiest August...here are some impressions...

Favorites:

-- Rafa (seafood-focused somewhat upscale place, east of Retiro park)...wow...one of the best meals of my life...the outdoor patio was full, so we ate at the bar (and charming owner Rafael later offered us to move to a free outdoor table, but we were happily ensconced)...seafood salad so fresh and full of shrimp roe...the top dish was the "one-minute-cooked" sea bream slices w/ chili and garlic...simply amazing...(and even in August, all locals)

-- Casa Dani...opposite type of place: working man's diner in the back of the Mercado de la Paz in north part of Salamanca...yummy albondigas, chicken stew, and cauliflower...all washed down w/ white wine...great staff...

-- El Senador (got the rec from here)...lechazo (suckling lamb) and a bottle of Ribera Del Duero in old school room overlooking the Senate...fantastic asparagus too...

-- Taberna de Daniela (the one by Arco de Cuchilleros -- NOT the other one we tried)...we ate there on a late afternoon and the only other customers were 4 diff Spanish familes (parties of 8 or so, of all ages -- possibly from other parts of Spain? -- all feasting on tripe stew and calamares or lingering over brandies)...yummy cod liver and cod canapes, gazpacho, and more...surprisingly nice vibe for a zone w/ lots of sketchy-looking touristy places)

-- Cerveceria Cervantes...huge prawns, crowded, awesome, casual

-- Dolores...down the block from Cervantes...nice go-to tapas bar that's open earlier than most...

-- La Venencia...hallowed sherry bar...national treasure?...

-- Taberna de los Huevos Lucio...great namesake egg dish, fried eggplant, friendly bartenders, nice crowd, free chorizo: a great night!

Good:

-- Terra Mundi...Galician food in Las Letras...fine pulpo gallego...fine soup...

Fine But Wouldn't Rush Back:

-- Taberna Puerto in northeastern Salamanca...upscale-ish seafood place...decent but unmemorable...

-- Carmencita...in Chueca close to Salamanca...eh...maybe we ordered wrong...not a great rapport qualite-prix (i.e. a bit pricey for what we got)...bluefish meatballs tasty, but can't really recommend the place for a short visit with so many other outstanding options, but if i lived there maybe worth trying again...

Disappointing:

-- the Taberna de Daniela branch next to Cerveceria Cervantes...old-tasting and overpriced scallop empanada...empty of customers...a letdown after the great meal we had at the other branch...

I'm surely forgetting some places...loved Madrid so much...will be back again asap (hopefully not in August, and hopefully for an extended stay)...

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  1. Thanks for the report. We've begun our last few visits with late lunch at Casa Rafa. Charming traditional restaurant, open Sunday lunch, which is not the norm for the capital.

    Madrid one of the unsung food capitals of Europe.