Restaurants in Madrid
A melting pot of cultures and cuisines, many argue that cosmopolitan Madrid does not have its own distinct flavour of gastronomy, but the Spanish capital is highly influenced by the contributions of the immigrants who once settled here.
Madrileño fare can never be called dull or boring with such delicacies as tripe and sausage, or crispy pig's ears and sweetbread (bull's testicles), but plenty of other safer options exist for the less adventurous, such as gazpacho (chilled tomato and cucumber soup), Besugo al horno (baked bream), Cocido (beef, pork, chicken and vegetable stew) and the well-known tapas (savoury tidbits of appetisers). Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy barquillos (rolled wafers), buñuelos (type of fritter filled with custard and whipped cream) or bartolillos con crema (type of small pie with custard).
As in most Spanish cities, tapas restaurants can be found all over Madrid and some of the most popular and diverse eateries can be found in the area around Plaza Mayor and Sol. Visitors should bear in mind that lunch and dinner start much later than in many other countries. Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest evenings for eating out and it is advisable to make a booking in advance to be sure of securing a table.
Immortalised by Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, when Jake invites Brett to Botin for the Segovian speciality, the Restaurante Botin has been catering to guests since 1725. Botin is a family-run restaurant that has spanned three generations, offering friendly customer service. Much of the décor pertains to the original restaurant, from the charcoal hearth to hanging copper pots and an 18th century tile oven. The mixed fish casserole and the grilled filet mignon 'Botin' are excellent, a dessert favourite is strawberries with whipped cream. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations recommended.
Address: Calle de Cuchilleros 17
Telephone: +34 91 366 4217
This intimate and luxurious restaurant is decorated in deep shades of red and gold, and furnished in the finest dark wood. The menu offers and array of mouth-watering temptations which include lobster salad with sherry vinegar, followed by duck stewed in port. The chocolate blini with pineapple rounds the evening off nicely. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and dinner only on Saturday. Reservations essential.
Address: Alvarez de Baena 4
Telephone: +34 91 561 4840 or +34 91 561 1079
Hosting international celebrities and politicians, Jockey Restaurante serves gourmet French cuisine, an ideal restaurant for special occasions. Of modest size but great sophistication, Jockey is situated on two levels, decorated with rich wood panelling, white linen tablecloths and turquoise suede seating. House specialities include the sea bass, lamb a la Provencal and marinated partridge. The restaurant also boasts a wine list of over 600 wines from all over the world, and a decadent dessert menu. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, reservations recommended.
Address: Amador de los Ríos 6
Telephone: +34 91 319 2435
Taberna La Bola
La Bola is one of the last restaurants in the city to don a blood red façade, initially operating as a wine shop in 1802. This family-owned restaurant has been passed down over seven generations and continues charming visitors with its 'olde worlde' décor of velvet, Spanish tiles and lace curtains. La Bola guarantees affordable prices and homemade dishes, packed with flavour. House specialities include Madrileña-style stew and roast lamb. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for lunch only. Reservations recommended.
Address: Calle de la Bola 5
Telephone: +34 91 547 6930
A modern restaurant that offers cool interiors, tasty food and attentive service, Wagaboo is a good bet for lunch or dinner in Madrid. Specialising in pasta and noodles, Wagaboo has a great selection of contemporary Italian and Asain cuisine. The stylish industrial interior of exposed brick and piping is complimented with chic lighting, red leather seating and shiny dark wood tables. Contemporary art and photography adorn the walls, and the glassed-in kitchen allow patrons to see the pasta and noodles being made. Try an Asian stir-fry or the pizza with pesto, cherry tomatoes, arugula, feta and parma ham. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Calle Gravina 18, Chueca
Telephone: +34 915 316 567
With two Michelin stars and a white minimalist setting, designer cutlery and large windows looking onto the street, La Broche has been designed so that the only colour in the restaurant is the food. A perfect location for a special celebration, La Broche's menu offer a variety of haute cuisine, from freshly baked bread placed on the table with four different olive oils to a carpaccio of wild mushrooms or escargots and salmon risotto. Don't forget to look at the dessert menu! This fantastic restaurant in Madrid is open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner, dinner only on Monday and Saturday. Reservations recommended.
Address: Calle Miguel Angel 29-31
Telephone: +34 91 399 3437
Bazaar serves creative Mediterranean food in a trendy environment. Priding itself on fresh produce and modern cuisine, Bazaar offers dishes such as thinly sliced tuna with mango chutney, or tender ox with parmesan and rocket. With oils, wines and various fripperies on display, Bazaar has an initial delicatessen feel to it. Follow the large staircase to the dining area with cream leather banquettes, and windows overlooking the streets of Chueca - ideal for people watching. The menu is displayed as a list of dishes with no definition between starters, mains and desserts. There is a wide-ranging wine list. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, reservations recommended.
Address: Calle Libertad 21
Telephone: +34 91 523 3905
Situated oppostie the Royal Opera House, Chic serves seasonal cuisine with a daily menu featuring only fresh produce and innovative combinations. Set in a long, low-lit cellar, the restaurant is made of up three rooms - the cool bar area with fresh colours, the first dining area with cream walls and crimson tablecloths, and the second dining area with olive green walls, exposed brick and white linen tableclothes. To compliment the Iberian nouvelle cuisine, there is a selection of wines from the cellar and tapas snacks. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Calle Campomanes 5
Telephone: +34 91 541 8307
Maintaining its old world charm, quality dishes and unpretentious ambiance, Casa Paco has been a favourite of Madrilenos for over thirty years. A superb steak house, meat at this taverna is ordered by weight and the Casa Paco Solomilo (fillet steak) is a firm favourite. For those after something lighter, the sole and baby lamb are also first-rate dishes. The tiled dining room and traditional décor at Casa Paco add to the homely atmosphere, as does the old fashioned bar, natural sidra (cider) and conscientious service. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Address: Puerta Cerrada 11
Telephone: +34 91 366 3166
For the best paella and a quality selection of cavas (Catalan champagne-type wine) that compliment this traditional dish, Café Balear is the place. The elegant dining room is simply decorated with white linens and curtains, lifted by art prints and potted palms. Try the stuffed aubergines a la Mallorquina, or perhaps the vegetarian paella with fresh ginger. Attentive staff and a friendly atmosphere add to the appeal of this lovely restaurant. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Sagunto 18 near Plaza de Chamberi
Telephone: +34 914 47 9115
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