Every journey has a flavour, every place a taste. At The Slow Road believe you can’t really call yourself a cultural adventurer if you don’t embrace the local food and drink. In the first of our three-part Insider’s Guide to Madrid, we recommend a few of our favourite Madrid restaurants where you can do just that.
Where to Eat + Drink: Madrid Restaurants
El Mentidero de la Villa
The Mentidero (“Gossip Shop” in English) is a true fusion experience. The owner describes the cuisine as “modern Spanish with Japanese influence and a French cooking technique.” That may sound confusing, but the result is an achievement; each ingredient manages to retain its distinct flavour. Calle Almagro 20. +34 913 08 12 85
El Qüenco de Pepa
At Pepa’s, fresh produce is provided daily from the restaurateur’s own gardens in nearby Ávila. Each day Pepa surprises her guests with a different plate featuring the best of the season. Fresh and simple cuisine, appreciating the natural flavours of the produce. Don’t miss trying her tomatoes! Ubicado en la Calle Henri Dunant 21-23, 28036 Madrid. +34 913 45 10 84
Tiny and charming, only five or six tables are available—so call ahead! Wonderful service and Mediterranean cuisine, they make their own (olive) oils for cooking. +34 914133356 Calle Benigno Soto 9, 28002 Madrid.
Tapas and Raciones
Mercado de la Reina
Plentiful and inexpensive tapas and succulent larger portions—think scrambled eggs with a variety of meats and vegetables, tasty local cheeses, and salads—make this large, tastefully decorated bar/restaurant a handy stop for people who want to refuel without having to sit through a long meal. And where else can you sip a beer standing next to an olive tree? Gran Vía 12, Chueca. +34 915 21 31 98
Renowned in town for the delicious fried eggs of Lucio himself as well as many other raciónes (typical plates to share). Situated in the most quintessential tapas area in the city. Calle Cava Baja 35, 28005, Madrid. +34 91 365 82 17
Cerveceria Santa Barbara
Founded in 1815, it’s not the beer that sets this place apart but the clientele and the tapas. It’s got the freshest seafood around, while its elegant ambiance makes it an all-time favourite. Alonso Martinez Square, +(011-34) 91-319-04-49