I’ve never really thought of Madrid as a foodies haven, just lots of tapas until I read a review about teh food of Madrid in the Daily Telegraph. Then coincidentally, I read three tips in a Lonely Planet guide … moe about teh Food of Madrid and it got me thinking.
Three months before you leave home: Reserve your hotel as early as you can (tourism is on the up in Madrid.)
One month before: Get excited about the food of Madrid and book a table at – Ten Con Ten and OTTO.
One week before: Book one-line entry to the Museo del Prado to avoid queues (this art museum is the equivalent to the Louve in Paris.)
All three bits of advice proved excellent.
Ten Con Ten Restaurante and Bar –casual, but high-end restaurant
I can’t talk highly enough about this elegant and trendy bar/restaurant where the beautiful people of Madrid hang out… and us! Not once, but twice we dined at Ten Con Ten during our short stay. I have a thing about having a great meal on our last night in a town, so it was no surprise we went back to Ten Con Ten for seconds.
We were greeted at the door by beautiful young, immaculately dressed people. The cocktail barmen that was so incredible, it was like watching a show as were the culinary skills of the chef.
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 Madrid – casual, but high-end restaurant
Sitting at the front end of the restaurant you could be forgiven for thinking we were in the library in someone’s home. The food of Madrid 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 it was delicious even if it was a little like a steak and cheese pie.
Captain Alatriste – good Spanish fare in a beautiful outdoor setting
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. They were small morsels of warm, crisp 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 outside on the street
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, but very Spanish
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 in a beautiful market. This is a must for lunch.
Mercado de San Miguel is one of several markets in Madrid where excellent tapas are served. If you are note sure what’s what, walk around and point.
We feasted on the best jamon I have ever had, cut straight from the bone with olives, bread and cheese.
The market is busy, fun and a is visually taxing with the ‘eyes are bigger than the stomach’ syndrome! Once you have purchased your food find somewhere it sit, but patience may be required.
I’d go back to Madrid in a heart beat… great food is easy to find.