Madrid First Night - 1st Time in Madrid

Old Feb 10th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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Madrid First Night - 1st Time in Madrid

Help please with planning our first night in Madrid. Our family of 4 including 2 teenage girls arrives from Chicago at the Madrid airport 5:45pm Mon March 24. Staying @Room Mate Mario near Plaza Mayor. We will be jetlagged & I would like to have a dinner destination -even just a casual tapas bar nearby. We always eat very casually when we travel. Also is there is an easy orientation walk that would help us get our bearings? This board has been so helpful in our planning -thanks so much to all of you!
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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There are many places to eat on and near the Plaza Mayor. The expensive ones are directly on the Plaza and numerous spots from the small streets that feed into the Plaza.

What we often do is walk around a little and see where the tourists are not eating and the locals are.

Ask at the desk for Don Paco or their recommendations.

There are many excellent guide books, personally I like Time Out for the major cities.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Room Mate Mario is also close to The Opera area, and not far from tha Royal Palace. As Auduchamp said Plaza Mayor is a short walk as well but perhaps more expensive there.

Room Mate Mario is close to calle Vergara, walking towards the Royal Palace.

There we ate several times at a small cafe called Cafe Vergara.
Calle Vergara 1 tel 91 559 1172
They always have a poster board sign out front with the prices of the specials. It is not too expensive but you will get a nicer meal. It is kind of cramped but cute and they cater to alot of tourists so the menu is Eng & Span Most importantly for yout 1st night you may be hungry earlier. They were usually open at any hour. Since Americans consider dinner time between 6 and 7 and Spaniards as you may know know eat a big lunch then a very late dinner 10ish, the first night is an adjustment.

It was a nice little place & a decent value, (not cheap cheap)
If you get the menu del dia it includes several courses & desert, water/refrescos (sodas) or a glass of wine. In our case we were two people and they always brought us a whole bottle for the same price.

The walk to the Royal Palace from there is two minutes, and you can see it in the distance.

Have fun in Spain!
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Do NOT leave for Spain without the foldable map Streetwise Madrid. If you do not have it yet, you are seriously lacking a critical piece of travel gear. Get to Borders/Barnes & Noble anc check it out. Don't leave home without it! For a nice walk, Plaza Mayor towards the Royal Palace heading out to Plaza de Oriente, lovely square. Nice stroll for a first night.

I also like Calle de los Cuchilleros (Street of the Carvers). This is a street that radiates from Plaza Mayor and populated with great restaurants. In the 15th century, this was the street where meat traders came to have their game carved and then sell their product at Plaza Mayor. It has evolved into a restaurant-filled main street. Go figure.

I am sure the girls will love El Corte Ingles at Puerta del Sol. Whatever you do do NOT miss a pastry from La Mallorquina (pastry shop kitty-corner by Puerta del Sol) or chocolate con churros at Gines (late, late treat!). For the wife, get to Artesanias Reyes in Calle Preciados-- wonderful linens, including gorgeous Christmas handmade linens at great, great prices and NOT from China!

Have fun! Love, love, love Madrid!!
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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I would recommend Plaza Santa Ana. Very picturesque at night. Take the girls shopping at Zara's - Also Salamanca barrio for ritzy stuff and Chueca for shoes. And of course every Sunday there is the El Rastro flea market. Plenty of cheap, funky nic nacs. Get there in the morning. Be careful of pick pockets there though.
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