Madrid, España

I’m beginning a new thread for Madrid-specific recommendations.

I’ll be there with my eighteen year old daughter. Hotel and dining recommendations are most appreciated. We are foodies and prefer interesting and genuine over fancy. Wine-related travel is not a specific focus this time, but I would very much appreciate restaurants with good wine programs, and maybe even a wine shop or two for interesting wines unavailable here in the U.S.

We would also appreciate recommendations for cool neighborhoods, shopping and activities.

Muchas gracias.

The old quarter in the center of Madrid is so great.
I love to walk there and just enjoy. Great shops.
Fabulous food and drink.

So many great restaurants.

My favorite higher end restaurant is El Club Allard.
Great wine list and service.

A pub crawl in the old town would be fun.

The San Miguel market is really fun.

The Prado and Reina Sophia museums are incredible.

I will start off with probably my most favorite restaurant experience ever. Not sure how you don’t go here on a trip to Madrid.

I will also add it can be difficult to get reservations for but if you stay in the hotel it helps a great deal, almost guarantees if you plan ahead. The hotel is excellent service on their red level is amazing.


I would recommend checking out Angelita and Manolo y Celso in the Chueca neighborhood. I couldn’t secure a reservation at DiverXo but did go to their casual sister restaurant, StreetXO, for lunch; there are no reservations so I would recommend arriving minimum of 45minutes prior to opening for lunch seating. Lots of cool spots on Calle Doctor Castelo east of the Parque Retiro with some highlights being La Raquetista (there is a bar as well as restaurant seating upstairs), Taberna Laredo, and La Castela (old school). Sala de Despiece was fantastic (the community table in the butcher room was great if a bit unusual as far as a setting) and for something completely different you may want to check out Gofio for cuisine from the Canary Islands

We were Madrid in November last year and my wife and I enjoyed La Tasqueria in the nice Barrio Salamanca neighborhood. Vibrant casual restaurant with diners at all ages.

NOTE: the offerings includes everything from nose to tail, but they’re all described well in the menu.

Incidentally, Salamanca is the city’s main shopping neighborhood, similar to Soho/WestBroadway, for arts and fashion/designer stuff.
Essentially, Serrano, Ortega and Gasset streets.

Secon Taberna Laredo, great Burgundy selection at very friendly pricing

For high end seafood

O Pazo

I stayed in Hotel Europa at Puerta del Sol many years ago. I like the location and the hotel was perfectly adequate.

There’s an old school sherry bar called La Venencia not too far from Puerta del Sol that does a few simple tapas to go with the sherry. It’s more about the experience than the wine or the food.
I find a lot of simple food pleasures in Madrid. The calamari bocadillo and caña is a bit of a Madrid. I think I used to go to Bar Postas for that. I’ll second the San Miguel market too. You could always do one of the food tours. I did a tapas tour one time and have been back to most of the places we went. I know how to find them, even if I don’t remember the names of the places. There are lots of fun ones around that serve decent wines and good tapas. If they have morcilla, that’s always a good start for me.
I guess if you haven’t been, you should go to the Churros place - Choclateria San Gines. You won’t have an trouble finding it open, but it does get busy. I’ve had more luck fairly early in the morning for breakfast

The Museums that have been mentioned are great. I liked the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum right next to the Prado too.

You could do day trips on the train out to Toledo, Avila or Segovia. They don’t take long on the train. Segovia was my favorite, although each has their charms. All are worth spending a night in too.

Love the anchovies at La Venezia.

If you do a tapas crawl , you can get 6oz cervezas as opposed to full pours so you can go to a bunch of places without getting sloshed.

I like the Palace hotel, right by the museums and part of Marriott if you have points or stays. A couple of excellent tapas places there too, for smoked salmon and octopus. Can look them up later if you are interested.

Avoid 1) abandoned sidewalk tree planters, and 2) prescriptions for Nolotil.

And the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum was our clear favorite.

This is so timely. I’ll be there for 3 days in March, staying at the Westin Palace with my wife and two kids. Keep the recommendations coming!

Ok, within a block or two if the Palace

Cervezeria Cervantes for the Octopus
Cervezeria Dolores for the smoked salmon, and anchovies.

If you aren’t getting breakfast at the hotel, then the smoked salmon is perfect for it.

I know it sounds crazy but Enoteca Barolo has among the best Italian wine selections I’ve run across; up there with the better shops in Rome, Milan, and Alba. The guy that runs the store is the Spanish importer/distributor for many top Italian domaines and stuff that is highly allocated or gouged in the US just sits there. Apparently there is not a lot of demand for Italian wine in Spain.

Great thread. Doing Madrid-(and Pamplona-San Sebastian) this summer with teens. Keep it coming.

For excellent traditional seafood: La Trainera in the Salamanca district. The rodaballo a la Trainera and carabineros a la plancha are two of my favourites there. Have some navajas a la plancha (if available) as well for good measure. Have a bottle or two of Pazo de San Mauro albariño while you’re at it.

Unless you go to Segovia, try the cochinillo in Horno de Juan - Goya Asador (Retiro district near Salamanca & Ibiza districts) - very good and traditional. If you do go to Segovia, most everyone will recommend Meson Cándido, which is very good; but, personally, I prefer the cochinillo of Restaurante José María.

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If you go to Segovia, this is great advice. I love those suckling pigs. The view at Meson Candido outside is amazing however. Right next to the ancient aqueduct.

I have enjoyed La Trainera as well. Percebes (goose barancles) is a must order dish if they have good ones (true for O Pazo too).

We just returned from 4 great days in Madrid. In regards to restaurants all 4 places we went to were great and I highly recommend them. I’ll rank them in order. Have a great trip!

  1. Restaurant Sacha - By far the best restaurant on our trip. It’s a bit far from the center of the city (we ubered) but it was well worth it. The steak tartare here was great.

  2. Street XO - Already mentioned in here so needs no further introduction. Really fun, fast paced environment but not rushed at all. All of the dishes we got were unique and very flavorful.

  3. Coque - Really cool dining experience but price is really up there and I am not sure the food met the expectations. My first grand cru burgundy experience though and that was very special and did meet expectations !

  4. Astor Gastro Place - could be 2nd or 3rd honestly. High end Spanish comfort food in a bistro setting.

Asher, (correct me if I am wrong) is not a seafood or pork eater.
He may do smoked salmon

Yes, the (Galician or Asturian) percebes; and, I include (the real deal) angulas, if available. I don’t normally recommend those to Americans unless I know them personally; as, in my experience, usually, either they don’t like them or find them too expensive. Well, when it comes to percebes, and also because they find them too much of a hassle to extract.

Actually, if one’s there in March, one would be in a good time to have the percebes.