I’ve never really thought of Madrid as a foodies haven, just lots of tapas until I read a review of Madrid restaurants in the Daily Telegraph and got quite excited. Then coincidentally I read three tips in a Lonely Planet guide about Madrid that got me thinking about top end restaurants.
Three months before: Reserve your hotel as early as you can (tourism is on the up in Madrid.)
One month before: Book a table at the popular high-end restaurants.
One week before: Book one-line entry to the Museo del Prado to avoid queues (this art museum is the equivalent to the Louve on Paris.)
All three bits of advice proved excellent.
There is great food to be had in Madrid but good restaurants do need to be booked in advance. (All the food we ate in Madrid was reasonably priced compared to an equivalent standard in NZ.)
Ten Con Ten –casual, high-end
I can’t talk highly enough of this elegant and trendy bar and restaurant where the beautiful people of Madrid hang out… and us! Not once but twice we went to Ten Con Ten during our short stay. I have a phobia about having a great meal on our last night when leaving a town so it was no surprise we went back for seconds.
We were greeted at the door, by beautiful, young, immaculately dressed people. The cocktail barmen was so incredible it was like watching a show and the culinary skills of the chef was off this planet.
The orzo truffle risotto was sensational with grains perfectly cooked la dente with the richness of the truffle. Both oil and shavings touched every sense.
Not that I’m a truffle hog but there is something about the fungi. I couldn’t resist the penne with morel mushrooms.
Otto- casual, high-end
Sitting at the front end of the restaurant you could be forgiven for thinking we were in the library in someone’s home. The delicious food was full of surprises.
The squid was not only tender but had been cut to resemble fish scales. A nice touch rather than the criss-cross incisions we are used to with calamari.
Having thought I had ordered a steak, I got a pie dish with slow cooked beef and a creamy cheesy sauce. I obviously missed something in the menu interpretation but none the less it was delicious even if it was a little like a steak and cheese pie.
Captain Alatriste – good Spanish fare
This restaurant was recommended by our local guide Santiago and was typically Spanish. Sitting outside on a beautiful barmy evening we gorged ourselves on complimentary nibbles, so generous and delicious I felt I’d had a meal before I’d ordered. They were small morsel of warm, crispy pork belly and deliciously flavoursome green olives.
The pork was succulent and flavoursome although the presentation was a little primal for my liking.
Lateral- local tapas
Lateral serves tapas in a casual and relaxed environment under umbrellas outside in the Plaza San Ana with jets of cool mist descending from the arms of the umbrella.
Here we enjoyed artichokes, cheese and jamon croquettes, mini hamburgers in a sherry sauce and mozzarella with jamon. Hard to beat for a relaxed lunch or evening tapas.
Makila – local tapas
After a morning visiting museums with Santiago he took us to Makila, a tapas bar well off the tourist beat so we could sample the real oil. Not exactly my kind of food but it was a good experience. As well as the soup and pinchos we had another typical dish – hot chips, jamon and a fried egg on top… oh no!
Mercado de San Miguel – local tapas
Mercado de San Miguel is one of several markets in Madrid where excellent tapas are served. When you are note sure what’s what, it’s great to go where you can see and point.
We feasted on the best jamon I have ever had, cut straight from the bone with olives, bread and cheese.
These markets are busy, fun and a visual- gasto delights. Once you have purchased your food it can be a challenge finding somewhere it sit but patience makes it worthwhile.
I’d go back to Madrid in a heart beat… great food is easy to find.