Cafes, bars and restaurants in Madrid

Jan 9th, 2004, 12:08 AM
Original Poster
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Cafes, bars and restaurants in Madrid

My partner and I are visiting Madrid for the first time next month. We would really appreaciate any recommendations for cafes, bars and restaurants, and why you liked them/found them special etc.

We like to try all kinds of places but avoid the very expensive or pretentious places. Good food an a good atmosphere and we are happy bunnies.

Please could someone email me the file on Madrid, to [email protected]

Many thanks.
bbib is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 01:22 AM
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My partner and I just came back from 5 days in Madrid. When choosing restaurants I worked with Maribel's Madrid file and the Time Out Madrid guide book to determine where we ate. (Time Out Madrid can be ordered on the Time Out website).

Spainfan is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 01:50 AM
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Thanks Spainfan, I will get Time Out Madrid. How do I get Maribel's Madrid File?
bbib is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 01:56 AM
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if you'll be doing the prado and/or the thyssen, i have a suggestion:

do half of either museum (they let you back in on the same ticket) then have lunch at my favorite cervezaria about a block and a half from either at the junction of calle cervantes and jesus.

it's called the cervezaria cervantes and is totally authentic. get there by one and don't be put off by the crowd of locals at the door. tables come available pretty regularly. don't wait to be seated. take the table that's just come vacant. they'll clean it for you later.

they have a wonderfull selection of tapas and rationes. the pulpos gallegas (octapus over spiced and coarse salted potaoes) is the best in the city. actually everything on the menu is outstanding. drink beer like everyone else.

this is no spot for a romantic interlude but if you want to put your finger on the vibrant pulse of madrid, this is the place.
subcon is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 07:44 AM
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we went to Madrid in May.I didnt like the food at all,most likely because we didnt fine the right spots,although all were suggested.Our favorite was the gay didtrict,the restaurant was something like La coquetta..very good,vegetables and salad!!! after a few days of trying to find some fresh things,not too heavy.Some of the other restaurants were very busy and looked very interesting..The Ritz hotel on the patio was also wonderful.There is a Phillipe Stark restaurant that looked spectacular,food supposed to tbe great too,but we couldnt get in.
kmoncrief is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Kmoncrief, I've read somewhere to avoid the gay district at night - did you see/sense any problems?

Thanks for the suggestions, please keep them coming.
bbib is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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I second Cervzeria Cervantes. My wife and I were there 2 months ago - recommended by our hotel concierge (we stayed at Gran Lope de Vega).

It's a mostly-locals and after-work tapas bar. It's quite noisy, crowded, but the ambiance is friendly. Try the tuna-salad dish and the shrimp/prawsn dish.
rcc is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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another suggestion i'll make is the restaurant roderigues(z?) somewhere off the plaza closest to the plaza del sol. you'll have to look it up in the phone book.

again this is a lunch spot. i generally relied on maribel for suppers and had no complaints. altho she doesn't specifically recommend botin,. i made a reservation (which we didn't keep). it looked intriguing but too many tourists.

anyhow as to roderigues, this is another hole in the wall one could easily bypass other than the omnipresent group of madrillenos standing outside waiting to be seated.

it's a white tablecloth outfit with a daily special for 8 euros!!! (that includes what they call a drink). here's what we had: two exceptional soups to start, a bonito and pollo plate, two deserts and a bottle of wine (the two "drinks") for 16 euros.

obviously the place is packed from noon on, but well worth the wait. you've got a bit of a problem with no spanish (no french or italian spoken either), but trust me: point to anything on la carta (whether you even know what it is) and you can't go wrong.
subcon is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 06:02 PM
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There are a lot of good restaurants in Chueca, the "gay Distict". In fact, most nights I ate dinner in that area. Most streets are quite bus, like Hells Kitchen (Clinton) in New York City.

Search this sight to find out how to get Maribel's files. Many posters have requested them They are a great resource.

If you can, go on an overnight to Toledo. Stay at Hostal del Cardinal.
Spainfan is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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message bbib,It was quite light out(7pm) when we got there. When we left it was very busy. The area is quite well lit and we felt that it was very safe. There was one street corner where everyone hung out..except us! There were cool stores open late as well.Overall it was our best dining experience..We stayed at the Hostel Del Cardinal as well.Great!!

kmoncrief is offline  
Jan 11th, 2004, 06:02 PM
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A nice, inexpensive place to eat is near Puerto del Sol in Madrid, a place called La Finca De Susana. My husband and I got engaged there in July of 2002, and I remember it fondly! The food wasn't bad, either!
irlandes is offline  
Jan 11th, 2004, 11:08 PM
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Thanks for keeping the suggestions coming, I appreaciate it. I have read Madrid is home the world's oldest restaurant, if this is true, has anyone been - I can't help but imagine that it is probably over hammed for the tourist?!
bbib is offline  
Jan 12th, 2004, 12:28 AM
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the restaurant you're referring to is botin just off the plaza major on the calle cuchilleros.

i made a reservation there but didn't keep it owing to the ammount of tourists. but i understand the food is still pretty good.
subcon is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 06:15 AM
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Madrid is SO much fun! My significant other and I were there in May 01.

Check out for a lively message board on Mardid and tons of info!
crispin46556 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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An area we liked a lot was in and around the Plaza Santa Ana. It's hard to remember specific places, but search for my trip report. One place I do remember well was Cervezaria Allemania, where I must have eaten 2 lbs. of olives (washed down w/ the local tinto).
mr_go is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2004, 12:03 PM
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casa botin is a very quaint restaurant with traditional food.
all very correct.
but this last time on business after our meal i stopped and mentioned to the maitre'd that at a restaurant of that caliber, with so many waiters waiting to clear you out of there for next group.. i expected our wine and water to be filled at least once and not have to do it ourselves.

waiters were attentive when called.. but just not up to par.

casa lucio is really THE place the madrileños go for lamb and suckling pig further down the same street.
reservations only.
(not the historic atmosphere at lucio compared to casa botin).

if you just want to stick your head into botin and look, they have no problem with that. they have a nice pamphlet also about the restaurant.

dont get me wrong.. i take people there every year.. but it IS very busy.. early dining is more pleasurable.. but the food is good.. so.. it is an experience.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2004, 02:09 PM
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My main meal in Spain is the midday meal. There's a Taberna across the street from the Ayuntamiento called la Argentina. The Cocinera is Asturiana. It's the kind of place with a chalkboard our front that tells us what the menu del dia is. It costs less than 8-Euros and includes salad and dessert and wine or beer.

About once a week she makes a Favada Asturiana.

You won't leave there hungry!
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Oct 14th, 2004, 06:39 AM
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Well as this request was not only for Spanish food I would recommend the mexican restaurant chain called La Panza es Primero. Most of the time I stopped in the little branch in Alonso Martinez (Av Campomar) but I also tried the one in Chueca a couple of times. You know it's real Mexican because there is no Chilli con Carne on the menu. I used to live between Alonso Martinez and Tribunal so my regular hang outs were in that area. Over in Noviciado there's a restaurant/bar called "Bluefish" that was nice to go to for a late bite. I generally stayed out of the centre but, if I was around Puerta del Sol I would stop at the "El Buscon" bar for tapas (the pate was my favourite). I worked in Madrid for 6 months this year and was there during the bombings. You can see a travelogue album of pics at

jasoncholt is offline  
Oct 14th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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when in madrid, barcelona, valencia and perhaps sevilla now too.. try the salad bar/pasta/dessert restaurant buffet for 7,40 euros called FRESCO. there is one not far from the plaza mayor.(madrid). ask for exact directions. off on side street.

excellent salad greens.. not your typical iceberg lettuce.every imaginable garnish to put on it..
very nice. includes one drink, unlimited buffets, fresh fruit and other desserts, ice cream, unlimited coffee/capuchino's..
i enjoy this place.

also has several pasta dishes and sometimes a stewed meat also.

i also like "séptimo".
cute restaurant near the american embassy in madrid..on the wide street that comes down into the front of embassy on serrano. (is it diego de leon?)

they have a nice mid-morning cake and coffee thing.. great apple strudel.
then a menu of the day from 1-3.
then evening a la carte meals.
nice atmosphere. cozy. not too bright. rustic but elegant. good to keep in mind if you go boutique shopping calle serrano.

"edleweiss", behind LAS CORTES, is an old tradtional authentic german restaurant if you get a feeling for that type of food. very large portions.
very popular.

try the CHURROS or PORRAS at some of the coffee shops in the morning.( fried doughnut dough) to accompany your coffee or thick chocolate..yum (chocolate a la española) . (i also like to sprinkle a little more sugar on them.)

and don't miss an evening snack or late drink at sidewalk café behind the teatro real looking at the royal palace lit up.
it is breathtaking. another one of my favorite quiet corners of madrid.

lincasanova is offline  
Oct 14th, 2004, 09:15 PM
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Ask at the tourist office if they still publish their special map indicating the cafes serving tapas.
hopscotch is offline  

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