Eating & drinking, Madrid
Basically, The 'Gran Via' is not where you are going to find ecent Spanish food.
Food here is for tourists only, therefore expect overpriced Tapas and dodgy 'Tortilla Espanol'
Unique Suggestions: Go and eat in Vips if you are on this road and there are no other options.
Fun Alternatives: Pop over to 'Chueca'. its round the corner from 'Gran via' and there is great food there and great shopping.
Botin is in the Guinnes Book of World Records for being the oldest restaurant in the world. (Since 1725) And Hemingway visited it in The Sun also Rises.
I had a bad experience the first time I went here and vowed never to go back untill my boyfriends parents (from Bilbao) insisted on visiting a typical madrileño restaurant and they had already been to several others. I liked it, SO I´ve decided to update my tip.
The first time I was there felt like it was totally a touristy place with over-priced food and extreme disorganization. But the second time we went for lunch on a Saturday in January, it was full of Spanish people enjoying a good meal. And I have to admit, the service was great, the food good and the dining rooms have a lot of typical castilian Spanish "encanto" (charm).
The suckling pig is one of the specialties but both times I was there people I was with had it and said it was dry. The steak (solomillo), however, was excellent. (about 18 Euros) The scrambled eggs with salmon very good (8euro), the large salad "Botin" was great too(7euro). Oh, and I must say the icecream was really good too. So all in all, its a good place, and if you are just visiting Madrid and want a place that feels really Spanish and has a lot of history, go for it.
Unique Suggestions: If there is a line of confused tourists and you have a reservation just go up the stairs...Reservations recommended.
You may have a good experience and you can say you ate where Hemmingway did. Its near the Pl. Mayor down the steps on C/ Cuchilleros.
Fun Alternatives: Casa Lucio, La Bola, for typical Madrid fare. They are not cheap either but good.
it is very rare that you will see a madrileno in a cafe in the Plaza Mayor. There is a good reson for this-the food is generally horrible, it is totally over priced and the service is very slow (even by Spanish standards).
Unique Suggestions: However the setting is lovely so if you are going to the Plaza Mayor you should just order a coffee or a drink (though alcohol is also really expensive) and eat somewhere else.
Ok, so this may not be completely correct, please correct me. But when I was in Spain, several bartenders told me that mostly it was only tourists drinking Sangria. Locals who want a light drink, I was told, drink Tinto de Verrano, which is really refreshing -- red wine with soda water. Also good, sweeter, is Tinto de Verrano con Limon, made with Limonade instead.
On the other had, I've been in lots of really non-touristy bars that had great sangria. Go figure ...
If you are thirsty or hungry when passing by the Plaza Mayor, you better wait a bit. If you sit at any of the terraces inside the square, you will be charged about double price for the same drink/food.
Although the view is superb and the ambiance very nice...
Fun Alternatives: Buy a "Bocata de calamares" (squid sandwich) and a can of beer in any of the bars outside the square and sit by the central statue to enjoy the square life and people passing by.
Allthough the square itself is very beautifull, its very expensive to sit at the outdoor terraces. Apart from that, the service is slow and the food is not that interesting. There are no real tradinonal restaurants at the square such as you can find in La Latina.
Unique Suggestions: Go to La Latina, where they have the best tradinional restaurants and tapas bars. Also many pavement terraces can be found there at the Plaza de la Cebada. An alternative is Plaza San Ana
At the moment of writing, it is a disease spreading in Huertas: they put cheap head-ache causing alcahol in your mix drinks. In stead of getting the real brands you ask for in the mix, they put another cheap liquor in it. garrafón its called.
Unique Suggestions: Order at the bar and watch the bartender carefulllly.
Fun Alternatives: dont have mix drinks.
We were directed by our hotel to a seafood restaurant on the Plaza Mayor. We luckily checked the prices out first and decided to move on. It was definitely not typical Spanish prices. Just down the road on one of the quaint, little, connector streets, there were places that offered much better value.
Unique Suggestions: Just go to Plaza Mayor to walk around and admire the people/architecture/music etc. Go to another place (like the Plaza Real to eat).
Fun Alternatives: Plaza
When you are at the Plaza Mayor you may find it nice to have a bite at one of the many terraces they have, they all look so nice and you can be in the sun... beware however that these restaurants are VERY overpriced! They are mainly touristic, and although the food might be nice, there will be plenty other places in the area with excellent food and a more reasonable price.
Ouch! Every city has one and this is where it's at in Madrid!....Sitting outside at one of the cafes on Plaza Mayor is super expensive so watch out! It's great to people watch and look at the very talented musicians play in front of you whilst you savour the tapas and drink sangria... but then you are expected to tip them of course....so imagine the total cost of your night out....again...ouch! :)
Fun Alternatives: Try finding a cafe like I did in a little side street, it's just as entertaining trust me!
Palacio de Jamon. We were suckered into ordering th most expensive item on the menu (a slection of ham, pork, and cured cheese) for breakfast. We tried to order something different but were advised that our selection was no suitable for the morning. We were encoraged to go with something else and we unwittingly agreed without checking the price. It would up setting us back by 27 Euros.
Do not be influenced by all the hype surrounding this restaurant.
It does have a colorful historical past. Today it is surviving on its past laurels.
If you are interested in food and quality then this is not the place for you nor for me.
I took 4 people there for lunch April 8th 2012. Dinning room is elegant.
Bread and Butter was brought to the table at a cost of 20 Euros.
1 Salad with tuna was ordered at a cost of 20 Euros. It was canned tuna with
two small leaves of salad and two thin slices of under ripe tomatoes.
1 Suprema Lenguado (Sole) was ordered at a cost of 35 Euros. The plate presentation for this $45 entree looked similar to someone's vomit. It was returned to the kitchen immediately. At the end of a dreadful meal I must say that the wine
turned out to be the best of anything that was placed on the table and price correctly
as well. If you have lost all sensory taste you still can find a better place to eat in Madrid. In fact there are many wonderful possibilities. L' Hardy is not one of them.
Star rating is -1.
Unique Suggestions: Drink only the wine!
Fun Alternatives: Anywhere in Madrid.
Madrilenes are used to have the food more salty then we are used to. You better have food at non-typical madrlene taberna's.