Do you want a taste of what Madrid is really like? Don’t waste time visiting tasteless places. Follow our 6 Tips for a Tasty Trip to Madrid, you’ll be licking your lips and your taste buds will be screaming for “más”!
I recently enjoyed a short visit to Madrid. The last time I visited the city was almost ten years ago. That time I’d arranged a surprise trip for my mum’s 60th birthday. We enjoyed the more touristic side of Madrid. This time, I was visiting with my friend and travel companion, the lovely Annie B from Annie B’s Spanish kitchen. Needless to say, in addition to meeting up with some great people I’d met thanks to social media, it was a food-focused trip!
One of the advantages of having foodie friends is that you get to visit and sample the tastiest parts of a place. No hardship there!
So, here are my 6 Tips for a Tasty Trip to Madrid …
Tip 1. Take a Devour Madrid Food Tour
Seriously, if you want a real insight into the flavours of this majestic city, taking one of Devour Spain’s tours at the start of your visit will enhance your whole experience! Don’t leave it until your last day. If you do, you’ll be kicking yourself!
We were invited by the food-loving and very knowledgeable Lauren and James to take part in one of their Madrid food tours. After lots of deliberation, we decided on the Tapas, Taverns & History Tour. It’s an unbeatable combination of food and history– two tours packed into one fantastic evening!
We were guided by the fun loving Joy who plied us with as much historical information about the City as she did with delicious food and alcoholic beverages.
We visited 5 traditional tapas bars, trying a delicious assortment of homemade tapas including some of Spain’s best acorn-fed Iberian ham, Madrid’s most famous garlic & chilli prawns , and mouth-watering hot-off-the-grill stuffed mushrooms. At each tapas bar our food was paired with a delicious drink (Spanish wine, draught beer or vermouth).
At the end of the tour, everybody was suitably stuffed, in high spirit and grateful to Joy for a fantastic evening. As an added bonus, every guest receives a Devouring Madrid mini guide, packed with recommendations to keep eating well for the rest of your stay!
PS: Lauren & James, I’m looking forward to the opening of your Devour Malaga tours!
Tip 2. Visit the Food Markets
Like most places in Spain, food markets are popping up all over the place. From local traditional markets to gourmet foodie places, there are so many to choose from.
Following the guidance of my trusted foodie friend, these are the ones we enjoyed …
This is more a food court than a traditional market, located in the district of Chueca, known for its nightlife and shopping. Its 22 vendors sell everything from fresh produce and meats to cooked regional specialities.
The top floor restaurant has a terrace with views across the city, where we enjoyed a wee glass of cava.
Calle Augusto Figueroa 24. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm.
One of Madrid’s oldest markets. Mercado de la Paz was built in 1879 and is located in the smart Salamanca barrio. Despite its location, however, it is a very friendly, local neighbourhood market selling day to day foodstuffs. If you are in this neighbourhood, make sure you pop into Casa Dani for breakfast. If you order tortilla, you won’t be disappointed! Thanks for the tip @theSpainGuy
Calle de Ayala 28. Open Mon-Fri 9am-2.30pm and 5pm-8pm, Sat 9am-2.30pm
Recommended to us by Madrid expert, Annie Bennett, this delicatessen, bakery, restaurant and gourmet market rolled into one was a wonderful find.
This relatively new addition to the almost century-old chain Pastelería Mallorca offers touches of pure decadence. For myself, it was in the form of Turron con Mojito and Turron con Moet et Chandon!
A great spot to pick up some naughty treats or some freshly made snacks.
Calle de Génova 12. Open daily 9am-9pm
Located in Plaza Colón, this was originally the Carlos III cinema. I can only describe it as “spectacular”. There is a food market, a myriad of food counters serving a wide variety of fancy foods, overseen by three Spanish chefs with a total of six Michelin stars between them. If you get the timing right you will also enjoy live music and other forms of entertainment. There was a live DJ playing cool tunes whilst we were there.
Keep an eye out for live music concerts too. A great evening out!
Calle Goya 5-7. Open Sun-Wed noon-12.30am, Thurs-Sat noon-2.30am
The historic wrought-iron-and-glass Mercado de San Miguel, just off Plaza Mayor, has become one of the liveliest culinary spots in the city since it reopened in 2009 after a nearly six-year restoration. Alongside stalls selling fresh produce are tapas bars offering a wide variety of treats.
Prices are higher than Madrid’s more traditional markets, but neither the atmosphere nor the food at the market’s 33 stalls disappoints.
The market aims to become a Centre for Culinary Culture, where the product is the key. A place where people continue to do their daily shopping, as well as participate in activities, sample the products, or simply drop in for a drink and a bite to eat. A traditional market with all of the current-day advantages.
Plaza de San Miguel. Open Sun-Wed 10am-midnight, Thurs-Sat 10am-2am
Tip 3. Take a Cookery Course.
We enjoyed a morning’s cooking with Spanish Masterchef contestant Gonzalo Ribot. De Olla y Sarten offer a wide range of cookery classes, including for children. It was great fun, very good value for money and we enjoyed eating what we cooked!
For more details about the courses and workshops they offer, visit http://www.deollaysarten.com/
Tip 4. Eat Mushrooms at El Cisne Azul
Mushrooms, setas, champiñones …. you will find them all here, in various disguises and forms. As this understated shabby looking little establishment, nestled between gourmet bistros and bars, proudly boasts, they have “Fresh Wild Mushrooms all year round”.
Don’t be surprised if you have to queue either, tables are far and few between. But it will be worth the wait … especially if you like mushrooms, setas, champiñones 😉 Also, be careful not to be drawn to the fancy new restaurant with the same name, further down the street. The original place offers the original experience, for sure!
Calle de Gravina 19, 28004, Madrid Metro: Chueca Line +34 915 21 37 99
Tip 5. Go In Search of The Perfect Tortilla!
Seriously, I was so impressed with the tortillas ( Spanish potato omelette) we ate in Madrid! Like many people, I dislike undercooked runny eggs. However, the consistency of so many of the tortillas we tasted in Madrid was incredible. They are a lot less cooked that the tortilla we usually enjoy in Andalucía. They look runny and undercooked but are not. They are totally delicious.
And the winner of our favourite tortilla in Madrid was served at …. (drum roll please!!!) Casa Dani in Mercado de la Paz.
If you fancy making your own tortilla, here’s a great recipe.
Tip 6. Enjoy a Gin & Tonic at Sunset, on the Rooftop Terrace at the Círculo de Bellas Artes
Despite being impressed with Madrid, I did have that forever present feeling of slight claustrophobia that I often have in big cities. I had to keep looking up to see the sky and was constantly searching for open spaces. That was until we visited, what I must say was my favourite spot …
Once again, the excellent advice from our incredibly knowledgeable Madrid contacts meant that we saw the city at it’s best, from this wonderful viewpoint … as the sun set over the majestic city of Madrid.
The 4€ charge for taking the lift to the roof terrace is well worth it.
Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes https://twitter.com/Azoteacirculo Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28014 Madrid
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