Madrid is a city to savour. The Spanish capital has many restaurants specially designed to enjoy an out of the ordinary lunch or dinner in a medium-priced restaurant or one with Michelin stars.
It’s no secret that we eat well in Spain and have excellent basic ingredients. Madrid is a great example, a city that offers an extensive gastronomic offer with food from all over the world to enjoy, whatever your tastes may be.
The Spanish capital of Spain has plenty of restaurants specially designed to enjoy an out of the ordinary lunch or dinner experience, whether in a medium-priced restaurant or one with Michelin stars.
Like any other sector, gastronomy bows to fashion demands with new restaurants and others that have been around longer becoming the object of desire for foodies.
We begin with a restaurant offering everybody’s favourite cuisine, Italian. Numa Pompilio offers classic Italian dishes and a fusion of international cuisine to create tasty dishes like its rocket salad, 30-month aged parmesan cheese, figs and red prawns. Located in the heart of the Salamanca district, it’s well-known for its tasteful, romantic and evocative décor that takes us back in time with cooking utensils and elements brought from Italy, New York and London on display in the open kitchen.
And from Italian elegance, we move on to Mexican flavours. The restaurant-taqueria Gracias Padre seeks to transport Mexico’s culinary traditions to the present day in Madrid. With one restaurant in Malasaña and another in the Salamanca district, it offers a specially designed menu for you to enjoy an interactive and shared gastronomic experience. Although it serves many different delicious starters and desserts, the tacos based on recipes from different regions in Mexico are the star dish.
Skull St. is also very much in demand and promises an authentic Madrid dirty experience, or as we say in the capital “canalla”. An alternative, underground restaurant that invites you to “wear out life” and not just live it. This quirky “dive bar” doesn’t show the menu on its website as it’s reinvented every day; instead, it invites customers to “to pop in and see how much we can surprise them”. An ideal spot for the more daring and “perfect for all ages”, so take a risk, and bring all the family.
The district of Chamberí is home to Pink Monkey, a restaurant with playful mix of edgy and chic décor, and a menu inspired by the chef’s travels in Southeast Asia and Latin America that combines an interesting mix of citrus fruits, chilli and spices to create remarkable dishes like the Indonesian kebab, red prawn dumplings or the passion fruit brioche for dessert.
We now take a gastronomic leap to Japan and head to 47 Ronin in the Velázquez area. This is not your typical Japanese as it serves a fusion of Japanese dishes that are constantly changing with season products and new techniques.
You could try some of the mouth-watering of art works like the royal crab cannelloni with sheep’s milk and kimchi sauce or scallops cured in kombu with spicy hollandaise roe sauce. Or enjoy a trip around Asia without leaving Madrid, by trying the tasting menu with 15 dishes and a pairing or wines or teas.
Angelita is a restaurant cum wine bar in the lively and colourful Chueca neighbourhood. The menu is not so extensive, but it’s cleverly crafted, with ingredients coming mainly from Zamora (where the owners are from). The menu, which changes daily is subject to seasonal products and the Angelita’s team’s creativity.
Returning to the Salamanca district, we find a restaurant with somewhat ‘pretentious’ feel to it that goes under the name Carbón Negro, serving simple dishes where flavour and quality take precedence in the form of vegetables, seafood, fish and grilled meats.
Gran Clavel is located in the heart of Gran Vía, a traditional eatery that takes you back to the 1950s, by creating an ‘old and young’ environment that’s divided into three unique spaces with three very different identities. You can enjoy the vermouth house with its fine selection of vermouth, artisan cold cults and preserves, or the try the wine bar with Madrid designation of origin wines and an assortment of dishes which masterly combine traditional flavours from Madrid with international cuisine. And, for those who want to sit at a table and eat to excess, there’s the restaurant which experiments with more creative techniques.
In the world of Michelin Stars, for those who like to see and be seen, we have Canalla Bistró, which is run by Ricard Camarena (3 Michelin Stars and 3 Repsol Suns). Seasonal produce and the finest ingredients create a menu with dishes designed to be shared, drawing on foods from all over the world. Notable dishes include the ‘Tempura Melosa’ and the roast onions with anchovy butter, fried almonds and nori seaweed. We promise it all tastes even better than it sounds!
El Invernadero de Salvador Bachiller is an excellent option if you’re after some more than just good food on an evening out in Madrid. This is a gastro bar covered from top to bottom with lush greenery that embraces the concept of a speakeasy as it’s located on the basement floor and can’t be seen from the street. It has a lunch menu from Monday to Friday that’s surprisingly good value for money and also serves brunch from 11am to 1pm, and there’s live music every Thursday night.
And from the lush greenery, we now take a trip to Havana. Habanera feels like one of those old colonial tea rooms, dimly lit with lots of plants. The menu is a mix of Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine.
For those of you looking for something more casual but with a touch of decadent sophistication, Sala Equis is your place. The name refers to the venue’s previous business, an adult entertainment cinema. This is more of a cultural space than just a restaurant and includes a cinema with seating for 55 people and a cool terrace where you can enjoy a drink while relaxing in a hammock or a swing.
Black rye bread rolls with calamari, pumpkin and stilton cheese quiche, fig and goats cheese coca flatbread and lime meringue tart are just some of the delicious treats on offer at Sala Equis.
If you are looking for something different as well as trendy, Banibanoo is your restaurant. The large windows make it really bright, and all the Persian dishes are on display at the bar. For just €14 you can choose three different dishes, which might be difficult as they all look really tempting.
Tongue-in-cheek, tacky and daring El Hortera won’t leave you feeling indifferent. A three-storey historic building with a cocktail bar and restaurant and several different rooms that offer a surreal touch to its dishes that may at first seem strange, but your taste buds will tell you different. It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner and also organises events on request (except stag and hen parties). A great option for those looking for a kitsch culinary experience.
This restaurant goes under the name of Sinatra Ya, a Japanese restaurant in the Retiro district that was opened by Jay Joden, who had a very close relationship with the great Hollywood star, hence the name.
Sinatra Ya specialises in authentic Kobe and Wagyu beef and is tastefully decorated and adorned with Japanese details.
Next up is a restaurant with a Thai-inspired ambience which is illustrated in its décor and gardens. Say hello to Bang Cook, a relaxed, playful restaurant serving traditional cuisine along with other personalised dishes.
The Bang Cook menu includes delicacies like Black&Roll (vegetable rolls wrapped in rice paste and sepia ink) or the Iberian Tartar (Iberian ham, pickles, mango and a touch of chilli pepper) for starters. And you’ll be happily surprised with their mains too, creations like the Hala Bala (stir-fried soy noodles and vegetables with Thai spices) or the Ithailian Job (a pizza with Thai spices and marinated chicken and salmon).
This is just a sample of the treats you can give your taste buds in Madrid but remember it’s important to book in advance to make sure you get a table. Now the only question is, which one are you going to try first?