I am always a little uneasy about frequenting places that are mentioned in guidebooks for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has been my experience that some places, having "secured their position" in one or more of them (there is one very well-known name in the travel guide industry which I will not name here but everyone knows to which this applies particularly) who then simply stop trying. They reckon they have made it and don't need to bother too much, bump the prices up and just live off their "rep". The second problem is that everyone is reading the same guidebooks so you go to a supposedly authentic local restaurant to find it is full of travellers with the same guidebooks sitting on the table beside them and not a local to be seen.
I hope the reader will have already seen my tips on the excellent Vina P Taberna and the equally excellent Mercado de San Miguel where I had eaten considerable amounts that evening in what I was coming to dub "The Night of a Thousand Tapas". It really was getting that serious, delightful as it was. When I was taken to the Casa del Abuelo for even more food I was wondering where I was actually going to put it! However, off we went and found the delightful little place a very short walk from the Plaza del Sol.
Firstly, a technical point. La Casa del Abuelo is not actually one bar but two, situated on opposite sides of a pedestrianised street. It is probably just as well that it is pedestrianised as the toilets are in the slightly larger bar as you walk up from Plaza del Sol so you may have to walk across the street to use them which could be tricky if you have been enjoying some of the excellent local wine or beer. We chose the smaller bar on the left which was not so much small as tiny as I hope the image indicates. Yes, it was a Monday evening on a very chilly November evening but the two of us constituted the entire clientele with an elderly (I am not being unkind here) barman, who proved to be an absolute delight. In fairness, the marginally larger sister bar across the road wasn't much busier.
If you do decide to visit here, you will be stepping in famous footsteps. Apparently, Andy Warhol was a regular here. I could paraphrase or plagiarise the excellent website attached at this point but I do not intend to regarding the whole long and interesting history of this establishment. I do recommend the site (in English) which explains why prawns are served here despite Abuelo having started as a montaditos (sandwich) restaurant. I'll give you a clue, it is to do with the Spanish Civil War.
I may be totally mistaken in this as I frequently am, but in my short time in Madrid I formed the impression that whilst most tapas bars do most things, some are known for one particular type of tapa. The tapa of choice here, as mentioned even on the tissues provided and above, is prawn. Prawn served apparently in exactly the same way it has been since the place was opened in 1906, another thing proudly proclaimed on the tissue.
Casa del Abuelo is predominantly a standing only place, although 20 people standing in here would constitute a crush, as I hope the images show. There were, however a couple, and I mean two, high stools which we took and sat at one of the small high marble topped tables which are obviously designed for glasses rather than plates. This was no problem for the charming barman, however, who did no more than find a low stool and used it as a table. Top man. The results of his labours you can see in one of the images.
My friend had ordered both the Gambas al Ajillo (prawns in garlic) and a plate of the freshly cut ham. The food is actually brought across the road from the other place as there is not enough room for a kitchen here but was still sizzling hot as you can see in this video. The ham was very skillfully hand cut as you can see in this video. It was a delight to watch this man at work, demonstrating a skill that he has obviously practiced for years and which generations of his forebears have practiced for centuries. I really did feel like I was experiencing a bit of old Spanish culture. Never mind the theatre, the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating and the eating was extremely tasty.
Although I was drinking beer I did try a little of my friend's house red wine which was excellent. Well, there I was, completely full of of wonderful food but it wasn't over yet, the finale was still to come. My friend insisted we had Banderillas de Langostinas which are effectively battered and deep-fried langoustine pieces on skewers and served with a delicious salsa (sauce). I hope the image does it credit. Well, full as I understandably was, I just had to finish my portion of this final delicacy and I have to say they were magnificent. Beautifully succulent and with a totally crisp and dry batter, it was a delight to dip them into the slightly spicy, but not hot, salsa. A wonderful ending to a great evening.
Despite the fact that this is a bit of a guidebook favourite, it still manages to maintain standards and serve wonderful food and drink. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
Favorite Dish: It is so difficult to choose. The garlic prawns were gorgeous as was the hand-cut ham and bothe recommended but, if pressed to pick a favourite it would have to be the Banderillas de Langostinas. the best really was kept till last.
On my first night in Madrid and literally a few hours after I had landed, a friend sait that we should go downtown for something to eat and raved about several places that we should try. I was a little taken aback by the concept of "several" places to go for dinner but all was soon to become apparent and this was to be my introduction to the eating concept of tapas, hence the title of this tip.
I should say that I had an idea of tapas and there was a time in London in the 1990's when every third restaurant was a tapas bar, usually an excuse for serving tiny portions of average food at hugely inflated prices purely because it was the trendy thing and very much "this years fashion". Having had proper tapas in proper Spanish bars in the capital city, I am now totally sold on the idea, it suits me down to the ground. Whilst I am quite happy with the occasional huge meal I am much happier "grazing", tending to the concept of eating little and often and this style of dining is ideal for me. I love the idea of wandering from bar to bar and having a snack here and a snack there. I deal with the whole tapas eating concept in another tip on this page.
My friend insisted that I must try the pimientos, basically small green peppers served hot and they were completely delicious. I had been warned that this was somewhat gastronomic Russian roulette as, whilst the majority of the peppers are prety mild, there is the occasional rogue one that will blow your head off with the heat. Although that would not have been a problem for me as I like hot food, I didn't actually encounter one.
Not content with that my friend also insisted on a tapa of squid which came with a sizeable potato on the top and the whole issue smothered in paprika. Again, this was delectable. The food was prepared in a semi-open kitchen which is always a good sign in my book.
There is a seating area in the bar but we opted to stand at the bar eating and drinking in the traditional manner. The seating area was quite secluded, being seperated from the hoi polloi like us by large screens. Just a small point here if you are watching the pennies, you will generally be charged more for sitting at a table and being served than you will for standing at the bar and eating / drinking. Makes sense I suppose.
The staff here were efficient and friendly with English spoken and credit cards are accepted. Although early week (Monday) in late November it was busy enough and is obviously popular with locals as we appeared to be the only foreigners in there. Certainly, you can eat food of similar quality cheaper elsewhere but this is right in the heart of town and is certainly worth the extra few cents for the ambience and service.
Note. The attached website appears to only be available in Spanish.
Favorite Dish: The squid was very good but my vote for favourite dish would have to be the pimientos.
Casa Lucio on cava baja. We ended up here by mistake. We had booked for casa lucas next door but they shared the same address and we screwed up. Service was rude and incredibly rushed trying to take our plates before we had finished. We had croquettes, pork cheek and steak. The steak was rare instead of medium but still pretty good. Not good value for money though as it was 64 Euro in total incl a bottle red.
Casa Lucas on cava baja. Went in here for lunch. Good friendly service. We had 5 tapas dishes. Croquettes, tuna, sausage mixed with scrambled egg, pork and onion, spinach....all of these on bread. Plus a small glass of red each. Was 40 Euro.
Lachulapa restaurant-shut service. We had tapas. A mix of some weird stuff. The best was the heuvo con patatas y Chicago which we didn't actually order. It was fried egg, potatoes and little sausage. Bill was 38 Euro incl two beers. Not great.
When travelling abroad, we use to dine at Italian restaurants because we like their food - always fresh and tasty. It was not the case for "Il Sorriso". It is the worst Italian restaurant we have ever been to!
Lacking atmosphere, with spotted table clothes, poor service and an uneatable food!
We left the place with a bitter taste that had nothing to do with the expected "sorriso"(smile)
This a restaurant born to take advantages from tourists.
Yes, because everything is very poor level, locals don't eat there.
I have been there twice and unfortunately both times turned to be a nightmare.
And these are the reasons:
1. Huge waiting time (40 minutes).
2. Ridicously small portions of every dish you order.
3. Very bad food (seems to be taken from a can, warmed inside a microwave)
4. Expensive prices compared to what you get
5. Waiter not courteous, in a hurry
Please don't eat there if you don't want to regret your time in Madrid!!!
This is the new upscale Asian restaurant at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium of Real Madrid FC. The concept comes in handy with the demands of today, but the ambiance is real, with the best from the region,and the food is terrific.
open 8h30 to 02h
I like it even if not my favorite food, but will come back for a more technical taste, hehehe this time it was at the bar.
Favorite Dish: fried rice with shrimps, and white whine from Rueda ,just there for a quick view of the place as it is new in the stadium.
the wonderful experience of watching my favorite soccer/football team and great Castiliann food at Cafe Bernabeu at the stadium Santiago Bernabeu with the best views in the stadium lol!!!
Favorite Dish: tapas, menu of the day, mix platters, beer mahou, coffee the works
Another local Spanish meal we wanted to try was paella, a rice dish that is filled with meat and vegetables. Our VT friend Santi (redang) suggested La Barraca and we all headed over for Sunday lunch. We arrived a little early in the afternoon and didn’t have reservations but we didn’t have too much trouble getting a table.
We had a cheese plate and coquettes for starters – both were really fantastic – while we waited for our paella to be cooked (it takes about 20 minutes). We all shared a large pan of the rice dish mixed with chicken and rabbit. Very, very tasty – we all ate more than we probably should. But it was so good!
Unlike the day before, we didn’t have dessert since we were planning to stop later for chocolate and churros (I could get used to this kind of eating in Madrid!).
Overall, the service was very good at La Barraca and the food was excellent. I would not hesitate to recommend this restaurant to someone looking for a very good traditional Madrid experience.
We had a fabulous lunch at the Posada de la Villa with our friend Santi (VTer redang). At his suggestion before our trip, we wanted to trip the Madrid stew, cocido, which required a day’s preparation and thus reservations at the restaurant. Santi selected this restaurant and it was a great experience!
Cocido is a stew made with meat, vegetables, and chickpeas. It is served in two courses, the broth with noodles and then the rest of the stew (meat, vegetables and chickpeas). The meats in the stew we had included pork, chorizo, and blood sausage (morcilla) and the vegetables were cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in addition to an abundance of chickpeas.
Prior to our cocido, we were served some starters with our drinks: olives, bread, and croquettes. And after our meal we splurged on dessert with each of us getting something different to try (fried milk, cheesecake, and ice cream).
The stew was fantastic and we all ate a lot more than we probably should have…especially since we then ate dessert on top of all that stew. There was so much served and I felt bad that we didn’t/couldn’t eat it all.
The service at the restaurant was impeccable and I enjoyed the décor as well. Many famous people have eaten at Posada de la Villa; the really famous get their names carved onto the chairs they sat on. Santi sat in the King of Sweden’s seat while Hubby and I sat in chairs of people we didn’t recognize – although the chair right next to our table has been used by The Boss, singer Bruce Springsteen.
We had a wonderful meal and experience at this restaurant and it was great to try a local Madrid traditional meal with Santi. I’d definitely go back to this restaurant again.
An excellent place to enjoy typical "comida madrileña" (food from Madrid).
Favorite Dish: Posada de la Villa means City Inn, and it was built in 1.642, and it was a lodge until 1.980. In 1.982, it was reopened as a restaurant.
Just like Museo del Jamon, this deli chain is all around Madrid with reasonable appetizers and beer. For a few Euros, you can enjoy some ham sandwiches and beer. In between our museum visits, we always had something to bite in this deli chain. You just order the food and wait for your name to be announced for getting your order.
Favorite Dish: Try the sandwiches...
Here you can engage in your love for chocolate. They have assorted types of bars, bonbons etc of all different flavors. good place to take a date:) The place is always crowded and with good reason, the chocolate is excellent (I did sacrifice and try some). Great place to sit down and have a cup of chocolate, get the churros and just savor!
Favorite Dish: chocolate con churros- not recommended if you are on a diet but so delicious its worth breaking any diet for:)
An effort from the Torres wine family and a very good wine bar right at Terminal 4 of Barajas, Madrid airport.
This is the second time eat here,and finally a photo, nice place, friendly service, they remember what you like and order lol!
nice relaxed ambiance for getting early to the airport which comes handy nowdays. You have a bar counter, and a sitting table space across it.
recommend it to spend your time before your flight, a nice excuse to be there early.
you have them in Terminal 4 at
Terminal T4. Floor 1. Departures. Boarding Area J
and Terminal 4S at
Terminal T4S. Floor 1. Departures. Boarding Area S
Favorite Dish: montaditos of chorizo mini sandwiches, potato omelettes, good cruzcampo beer ,and great coffee with milk or expresso.
A surprising find walking on on calle doctor Esquerdo with a friend and by chance we decided to come in here. The experience was superb. Great service ,friendly and fast, nice decorations, and the food was excellent. Near Manuel Becerra and Alcala Str
Later , came back to the office to work as was there on business, and the collegues there suggested to come here as well in the evening and told them already been ::) we went to try another one lol!!!
Came back to Madrid and saw it again by menendez pelayo just across from Retiro park, is a chain, very nice all over, its becoming my favorite hangout, huge merluza fish with almonds and garlic, with great coffee and mahou beers of Madrid superb. See the webpage for locations all over Madrid and elsewhere.
Favorite Dish: codfish dishes, croquettes of ham, omelette of potatos and chorizos; great beer and coffee all very nice to start the day lol!!!
merluza fish platter huge with mahou Madrid beers fantastic!!!
Located underneath one corner of the Plaza Mayor, this is one of my favourite restaurants. There are a number of small dining areas on different levels.
Favorite Dish: Roast baby lamb. Tender meat with cripsy skin and a fantastic flavour.
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