This was a very well known place to enjoy a Tertulia (informal chats and discussions held on a regular basis) at the beginning of the 20th century until the Spanish Civil War.
The style of Cafe Gijon remains as it was, decoration has not changed in the last 50 years
The outdoor terrace is very popular
Favorite Dish: We decided to meet here on our meeting of the 7th September 2003.
Normal coffe 2.40 Euros
Special coffes 4.20 Euros
Alcohol special coffees 6.60 Euros
coke or other drinks 2,40 Euros
Racion Jamon Serrano 26 Euros.
Cafe Gijon is world-famous for the literati crowd it attracted for over 100 years. Here are some reviews:
Favorite Dish: It's a nice place to hang out and talk, but the cappuccino is so-so and overpriced. If you want to sit and soak in the atmosphere where great writers and artists gathered, this is the place. But if you just want to sit and talk with your friends, there are cheaper places.
Great athmosphere and history. This cafeteria was founded 1888 and it has had lots of famous artist, actors and writers as guests and still today "tertualias" i.e. informal discussions groups are held.
Favorite Dish: Cafe con leche - Coffee with milk.
When we sat down, the elderly waiter started pushing expensive specials at us (probably the highest-profit items they had) and practically told me that what I wanted to order was no good, and I should get the special instead. I held firm, but my wife agreed to one of the specials: a big pork chop. It arrived, and when she cut into it she saw the center was RED! They took it back and cooked it enough so it wouldn't kill her, and it was good (as was my non-special filet). When it came time to pay, they tried to charge us for bread we didn't order or eat; after taking that off the bill after my protests, they took my money and then tried to short-change me by 10 euros! I got the 10 euros back, and didn't leave a tip.
After having money extracted from me in almost every situation I encountered in Madrid, I was not expecting this in the café Gijón which is recommended in most travel guides. It wasn't until I saw the tell tale signs of the staff behind the bar smugly grinning at each other (just after I had ordered a Caña at the bar) that I realized with almost certainty that I would be leaving the place with the staff congratulating each other triumphantly over yet another victory over ripping off and the humiliation of a foreigner.
Yes this is it, after asking for the bill it came to 2.40€ which was expensive for this small quantity of Beer, though I had been charged more in other places. It wasn't until I was outside the Café and checked my change, that I realized I had been short changed and had been charged 2.80€.
What makes it worse was the waiter who served me didn't charge me, he was what looked like the manager or owner of the café taking over the job of cheating the customer, probably showing off to his employees (this is what you do with foreigners attitude) and expecting praise and adoration from them.
Well, there is another literary café I visited and would recommend, “the café Comercial” with original features, friendly staff and reasonable prices.
Café Gijon has been a popular restaurant since it opened in 1888. It seems it is a gathering place of writers and journalists. In the past well known novelists and poets like Federico Garcia Lorca, Ruben Dario, Antonio Machado and Perez Galdo’s have all frequented the café. The café is open from 9.00am to 1.30am Monday to Sunday.
The restaurant serves an international cuisine but has many selections of regional Spanish dishes. I had my birthday dinner at the Café and it was fun being serenaded by the live entertainment nevermind joining them in a song or two.