Recently I was lucky enough to take some time off work to go on a holiday, and eat some absolutely amazing meals. If you are anything like me, when you are going on holidays, you ask people you know who have been there what they recommend… So I thought that I would share some of my favourites, as it is always nice to have some ideas before you go!
Today we are starting with Madrid!
I found Madrid to have a similar feeling to it to Sydney – busy, fast, eclectic, and a whole lot of fun. We stayed in Malasanya, an area close to touristy areas, but with a more local vibe. Lots of cool cafes and bars, and great to sit and while the hours away people watching.
Long lunches whilst on holidays are possibly one of my great loves. Madrid certainly did not disappoint! Whilst there, two local high end restaurants, Diver XO and Cascabel, had pop-up restaurants. Succulent slow roasted beef rib with coriander, and Pekinese dumplings with pigs ear and strawberry hoisin were the orders of the day. My mouth is watering remembering these meals! Another stand out was La Candela – described to us by some fellow diners as as good as any Michelin star restaurant, but without the hefty price tag. The food was interesting, with the standout what looked like a mini magnum, but was filled with foie gras, or a tiny lamb dumpling on a crust, served in a martini glass.
There is a a street called Calle de Pez in Malasanya, and if you follow it all the way up from Calle San Bernardo to the end, turn left or right, there is a variety of cool bars and restaurants. We particularly liked 1862 Dry Bar, or right around the corner from a café called La Bicicleta there is a tavern with tapas to die for. Some favourites for breakfast (or an afternoon cake stop) were La Bicicleta, for the fruit, yoghurt and croissants, or Café Toma, for the coffee and carrot cake. If you are catching the metro the stop is Noviciado.
A little further away (approx. 30min walk) from Malasanya was The Little Big Café – great breakfast along with my standard short black!
Markets are another great place to eat. There is the very touristy San Miguel (with amazing fish noodles, burrata or anchovies), whilst on Calle Fuencarral there is a market called San Ildefonso Market, which is 3 levels of street food and drinks.
There is nothing like a picnic whilst you are on holidays… Luckily parks are not hard to find in Madrid! Retiro park is great for chilling out and people watching, or the parks around the palace are nice and central.
A couple of other fun tips… Bikes are available for hire all over the city, making it easier to get around. They’re electric too so if you get tired you don’t have to try too hard! We rode/motored our bikes to Matadero, which used to be a slaughterhouse and has been turned into a museum/art exhibition area, with a market on the weekend. The exhibitions there were interesting, particularly one about the history of tapas and cooking in Spain, and it’s influence on the rest of the world.
Another tid-bit – for more up to date happenings in Madrid, I came across this blog nakedmadrid.com and found it useful for finding places to eat/go to.