For an unexplainable reason I had not been to this European hot spot and I could kick myself, as I truly loved discovering the Spanish soul in this authentic and yet modern capital. People are kind, friendly and generous – uncomplicated I guess is how I felt the city was. Easy to pop around and discover cultural heritage and enjoy the scenery of locals parading in their finest get-up full of colour; ready to relax and enjoy each others company over wine and tapas.
I had very little free time but I did find it worth to stand in line for 30 minutes to visit the Museo Nacional Del Prado – seeing some of the amazing masterpieces under one roof: Memling, Brueghel, Rafael, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.
Yes, it has to be said the Spanish lunch and dinner schedule takes a little getting used to but after a few days I got the hang of it; eating lunch at 14H and dinner at 22H.
I discovered some GREAT foodie spots, here my top 6 :
Bosco de Lobos – a peaceful hide-away off the busy Gran Via shopping street, tucked behind the walls of the impressive College of Architects. Pass the courtyard and keep left and an open kitchen welcomes you. The lounge is stocked with architecture books and plenty of different type of seating is spread around in this stand-alone glass box.
The food is Italian from pizzas to pasta but I fell for some fresh ceviche of cod and an amazing grilled steak. I discovered this place on my last day at early lunchtime (for them) and regret missing it at night. A place to return to Madrid for!
Lateral – bright, in and outdoor spaces with super fast service. I fell in love with their outdoor seating, mostly their cooling mist every few seconds, so refreshing. We ate there several times as it was close to our hotel but also the tapas were great.
I highly recommend the ham croquettes, the vegetable fries and the duck. The pisco sour with passion fruit were delish too!
La Gabinoteca – regardless of not being a Gin lover, it came highly recommended so I had to try it. They love their gimmicks: the lobster Carpaccio was steamed at the table with an iron, the home made brownie came with a pimp-it-yourself tray and their signature dish of mash potatoes, raw egg and truffle required you to mix it all before eating. Normally gimmicks are not my thing but despite the imposed show, I truly loved their food – the raiser clams with grilled cheese was to die for, so i went back for those again. They had a great red wine selection too, i tried them all!
Taberna La Carmencita – a traditional Spanish tavern with the typical colourful tiles on the wall and a very authentic menu. But a modern and fresh air blew thru this little gem of eatery and only Spanish seem to fin their way to it. The best paella with clams, monkfish and mussels EVER! It was simply mind blowing. A must!
Cannibal Raw bar – the black and white well balanced interior design almost transported me to New York City but the raw food was divinely European: a most pretty ceviche of scallops as a starter and of course a beef Carpaccio to follow, were my choices. They also had a great wine list.
Platea – an old cinema turned into food mecca over several floors with live music at night. You can go for fine dinning, tapas, a few fresh oysters or just a drink at the bar. Truly a great spot for people watching and soaking up energy from spontaneous live music and dance. And when in Madrid, have some ham …