Amazing views from the 9th floor in Gran Via. A variety of restaurants in the same trendy rooftop. Good for tapas, traditional food and fusion. Also a good place for just a coffee or a cocktail with panoramic views.
Calla Metro Station.
Just an hour's drive north-west of Madrid is the ancient city of Segovia, which stands proudly beneath its splendid cathedral. Nestled under the city's imposing roman aqueduct sits Meson de Candido, a family owned restaurant attracting food-lovers from far afield. Upon the recommendation of our local friends we dined, like everybody else that afternoon, or so it seemed, on the house's speciality, "cochinillo" or roast whole suckling pig. The waiters and chefs alike are proud of this dish, and so they should be. Cooked in vast, traditional ovens (ask nicely and you may get treated to a tour of the kitchen, as we did), the pork is a delight. Start with Granja, a local white bean soup, and savour the surprise "sorpresa" pudding, a gorgeous cakey, eggy, ice-creamy affair. If you're in Madrid and have a spare day, then Segovia is a glorious city of romance that you must visit, especially in late summer: potter, enjoy the sun and most importantly, make the most of what Meson de Candido has to offer. You won't regret it! Food and wine all in for around 35 euros.
While in Madrid you can take a train to Aranzuez, around an hour's trip on which they celebrate and eat strawberries each spring, served by staff in costume, stopping in Aranzuez, a charming town that was a royal residential palace. You can tour this, or if preferred go to the Aranzuez gardens, the place that inspired Rodrigos' 'In the Gardens of Aranzuez' classical piece. On the same line you can continue your day trip to Toledo, around 40 minutes train ride or so, a fascinating fortified citadel on a lovely hill with a beautiful blue river in the valley below. Toledo has a history dating back to the Visigoths. Both Aranzuez and Toledo offer lovely resaurants and caffes and children are always welcomed as is delightfully usual. The same train line will return you to Madrid central station via Aranzuez. Fares are low, a little higher on the specific strawberry train, with strawberries provided of course! Allow a longish day as the trip really is interesting for all tastes and preferences. Madrid will still be open and buzzing when you return, into the small hours.
This world famous Madrid institution has been serving its famous chocolate con churros since 1894 and trying it is a must do experience when you are in Madrid. Dip your churros in the hot chocolate. Chocolate con churros is served all day and night (including during the early hours of the morning as is traditional for the clubbers of Madrid). It is a great cure for a sore throat and cold symptoms. A chocolate con churros costs three euros 80 cents which is actually very cheap.
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 11, 28013 Madrid
+34 91 365 65 46
Google map: bit.ly/W6LQtW
A quieter and more peaceful version of the nearby Puerta del Sol. The cafes and restaurants around the square can get busy during the evening with locals popping in and having meals after seeing a play at the Teatro Español which is on the square. However the cafes and restaurants here are much cheaper than in the pricier Plaza Mayor. Just keep your wits about you at night and an eye on your wallet/purse as thieves do operate in this square and the surrounding streets as police do not patrol this area.
Nearest metro station: Sol
Plaza de Santa Ana is a 15 min walk from the Puerta del Sol and is best approached from calle Principe off Carrera de San Jerónimo
Google map: bit.ly/VBwr4A
This is a place that we very much recommend. Not perfect by any means but the prices are fantastic. Bottles of wine can be bought for €8!
The starters are brilliant and very large. The portion of mussels was huge and very good. The desserts are mouth watering.
The main weakness of this place is that some of the meat based mains are not as good as the rest of the menu. The fish based mains are good.
Staff are businesslike rather than friendly - food comes quickly but having said that there is no push to get you out if you are nursing your drinks.
One other note - bread is not free!
Plaza El Ángel 12, 28012 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 691 059
Google map: bit.ly/oODb9o
Really good food, vodkas and wines and excellent value. Set lunch at 15 euros includes drink. Evening meal a la carte 35-40 euros. Staff are eager to please and speak English. Relaxing, appetising, clean ambience! Convenient five-minute walk to Thyssen and Prado museums.
Calle del Prado 15, 28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 293 659
Google map: bit.ly/i6kmAy
Fabulous market, recently revamped, brimming with good vibes + interesting crowd + food/drink of all descriptions, from morning cafe con leche to long after midnight. Reasonably priced. Brilliant site for people watching round the clock, not to mention the food - one of the most amazing places in the entire city!
Just a minute off plaza mayor
Great food at a great price. No main was more than €10! Wine was about €8-€9 a bottle.
We don't normally go to the same restaurant twice when we are on holiday, but we came here three times when we were here in Madrid in summer 08.
There were queues into the place on some evenings.
Plaza El Ángel 12
28012 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 691 059
Slap bang in the centre of Madrid near to many of the major attractions, the old town, main shopping areas and a block from the Plaza Mayor is 100 Montaditos. It's your best bet for cheap lunch on the run in the city. Take a ticket and wait for your turn to order from the extensive menu of bocadillos (small Spanish sandwiches), starting from just a Euro, there's something for all tastes.
Calle Mayor 22, 5 mins from the Sol metro station
Amazing vegetarian food. It's buffet style and you pay by weight. Not the cheapest place but the best, most delicious, and filling food that we have eaten on our whole trip. Right near the big three art museums. Highly recommended. 100grams of deliciousness for 2euros.
Viva la Vida
c/ Huertas 57
Madrid isn't necessarily the cheapest city in the world in which to eat out, and if you're on a budget, and fancy hitting the town too but don't know how you can afford to do both, this is the answer: do as the Spanish do and drink and snack all evening in the multitudes of Tapas Bars throughout the city. Placa Santa Ana is one of the liveliest and most celebrated places in which to do this, though prices can be higher than in more up and coming districts such as Chueca or Lavapies - though both these areas have a wide range of trendy places serving quality food and drinks. Avoid the Placa Mayor and its immediate environs as you pay vastly inflated prices which don't equate to value for money. If you're not sure which bar to choose, just check out the menus and prices, ask one of the (usually friendly and helpful) locals or as a rule of thumb head for somewhere that looks busy. Not only are you eating and drinking for far less than a restaurant or cocktail bar, you are getting a real taste of what Madrid life is all about. Enjoy!
Across central Madrid
Calle Cuchilleros, is a beautiful old Madrid road next to the Plaza Mayor. It has lots of great underground mesones (inns), for when it's too cold to sit out on the terrazas.
The Meson de la Tortilla only has four things on the menu (tortilla, garlic mushrooms, cheese and ham) - order one of each and enjoy, occasionally with live music.
C/Cuchilleros, Leave the plaza mayor from the south-west corner.
The hotel Laura in Madrid is a great place for families in the very centre of this wonderful city. Modern and comfortable design, friendly staff and affordable. It's just a B&B so you have to explore the city for food. Go to the Latina district for tapas and avoid the Plaza Mayor for overpriced and badly cooked food.
Don't join the long line of people waiting to get in the Prado. If you are with your kids go to the Reina Sofia instead and see some marvellous contemporary and modern art paintings like Picasso's 'Guernica'.
After, go to the café/restaurant for some great food and of course a bottle of wine from the Ribera Del Duero region, superb.
Teatriz restaurant in Madrid is a fantastic restaurant designed by Philippe Starck, converted from an old theatre. I had lunch there on Christmas Day with my family to celebrate my wife's birthday and it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
Calle Hermosilla 15, Tel.91-577-53-79
If anyone feels like having a pleasant evening with candlelight and intimate ambiance, try 1917 Blinis & Vodkas. They have a good assortment of smoked fish (salmon, tuna, herring, etc) on top of freshly baked blinis and a choice of 30 different kinds of vodka from Estonia, Russia, Poland, France, Argentina, etc. And the location is perfect: next to the Teatro Real (Madrid's Opera House).
Calle de la Independencia 1, 911 429 800, Opera metro station, bar1917.com
Restaurant serving dishes from the País Vasco
(Basque) region of northern Spain.
Brilliant food, and that's why I am taken here by my hosts in Madrid who seek a change from the usual.
The most popular delicacies are patatas con bacalao, cocochas de merluza y centollo, zortziko de almejas, solomillo dantxari -al vapor, bacalao al pil-pil, con aceite de oliva virgen y pimiento, and tarta fina de manzana.
You could avoid these and try the more innovative dishes. I appreciated the excellent use of seasonal products and dishes such as 'pil pil' and their cod croquetas.
Ventura Rodríguez 8, 28008 Madrid
Tel: 915 423 524
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