Madrid 3 days

Anyone have recs for Madrid? We’ll be there for 3 days.

Looking for things in more of the causal range (such as things that have terrazzas) or taps bars but that still serve great food! We have a baby in tow.

We will be near plaza del Carmen but willing to travel around city.

Any and all recommendations appreciated

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Our best casual eats in the city was grazing round the various stalls at the Mercado San Miguel. Possibly overly crowded for you with the baby

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Some great tips on this thread

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Also here Madrid September Trip Planning

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I was in Madrid last September, amazing city but I didn’t have a baby in tow. I’m sure most places are baby friendly, but watch the heat during the day, 38 deg C today

@Hungryhungryhippos
I would avoid the Mercado de San Miguel with a baby, as it can be incredibly crowded with no place to sit. It’s become a major tourist magnet, I’m afraid, packed to the rafters at all times.

For market grazing, I´d head to the authentic and wonderful MERCADO DE LA PAZ in the Salamanca quarter to stroll around and have a tortilla at Casa Dani with outdoor table seating at the Lagasca street entrance.

The fine gastro bars of the Retiro district also get jam packed, especially on weekends, when reservations are absolutely essential.
Half of “foodie Madrid” was at La Catapa this weekend, and I’ve never seen children there, or at any of the others that I love there with outdoor terraces (La Montería, Laredo, La Monte, Castelados), so I can’t enthusiastically recommend a food crawl there with a small child. They just get too busy and usually couples only or groups of couples.

The 2 exceptions would be KULTO and MERCADO DE IBIZA on Calle Ibiza in the Retiro district. Calle Ibiza has a wide center walkway, with terraces with low tables and attracts families. KULTO excels in tuna dishes.

In the Salamanca district on restaurant lined Calle Jorge Juan there´s the Galician OCAFÚ, with outdoor terrace, moderate prices for this posh street and nice albariño wines by the glass.
We also see children at LA MÁQUINA on Jorge Juan with outdoor terrace.
The restaurants there do add a surcharge for terrace dining.
https://ocafu.com
https://lamaquinajorgejuan.es.

For large outdoor terraces with a casual atmosphere, low table seating instead of high tables and with a baby in tow, I’d also consider the informal space of Florida Park, inside Retiro Park.

The Real Jardín Botánico (botanical garden) now has a café, next to the Prado.

Behind the Prado, there´s the popular Murillo Café, that has a nice outdoor terrace. Ditto to el 17 Moreto around the corner… Again, to early when they open as they get very crowded.
https://murillocafe.com

In Letras/Huertas, there´s the lively Plaza Santa Ana with its playground and lined with a dozen casual eateries, but not many serving distinguished food, although Ana La Santa in the Hotel ME with terrace is a fairly safe bet.
https://grupotragaluz.com/en/restaurants/ana-la-santa/.

Near the Plaza del Carmen?
Are you staying at the new The Thompson or the old Liabeny?
If you´re staying at the former, they’ve just inaugurated their summer only rooftop terrace, El Cielo de Hijos de Tomás on the 8th floor, with terrific views. I just got a tour. Live music at night. If the concierge can provide baby sitting services for a few hours…
https://www.hijosdetomas.com/elcielodehijosdetomas/.

And as PedroPero says, it´s blazing hot in Madrid in July, so you´ll need shade and misters.

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I guess I was very lucky last September then, first time I went was mid afternoon, left immediately because it was so crowded. The next day I got there just before opening and it was much, much better.

I was hoping you’d chime in :slight_smile: MERCADO DE LA PAZ in the Salamanca and casa Dani are excellent suggestions, I went early 7-8 am because I was worried about the crowds and it was perfect.

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That’s a very good idea to go to Mercado de San Miguel right before it opens so that you can snag a seat at one of the high tables in the center. I do like Arzábal’s food.

Casa Dani’s tortilla…ymmmm! We sometimes buy a whole one to take home.
Watched the “Somebody Feed Phil” Madrid episode again last night when he took the owner of Casa Dani and and his wife to Oh, Dèlice Bistro inside the market for oysters. She had never eaten one.

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@Maribel thank you for all the recs! I will digest them and respond/report back!

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We are staying at Thompson so we’ll definitely be checking out the roof top there. We brought the grandparents so we might be able to get a night child free and do a crawl in retiro district.

I also found your San Sebastián travel guide super helpful!

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The Thompson is such a cool hotel. Lucky you!
And all the hotel catering is done by Nino Redruello of the esteemed La Ancha restaurant group.
I had a delicious breakfast there last month at its THE OMAR. Yummy eggs Benedict and great breads.

And the hotel’s basement speakeasy, Hijos de Tomás, is a lot of fun.

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Any recs in Madrid for good cochinillo or paella?

For paella, yes, a very definite recommendation, my favorite and one also of local foodies, not remotely tourist-centered as are some others:

BERLANGA in the Retiro district, on Avenida Menéndez Pelayo, facing Retiro Park.
The chef is the son of Spain’s famous film director, Luis García Berlanga from Valencia.
It´s a very comfortable, elegant space but not at all stuffy. The main dining room is lined with bookcases, and our favorite table is at the window overlooking the action of the park.
Delicious rice dishes, attentive service. You won’t find it in the travel guides, as it´s fairly new.

A. second, non-guide book option would be ST JAMES, with its new, sleek outpost inside the Galería Canalejas, downstairs (next to the Four Seasons). I had a very nice black rice dish there last month and baby clams in garlic sauce to start. The waiter did try to do some “upselling”, trying to convince us to order the iconic paella, but we stood firm in our desire for arroz negro.

La Barraca, from 1935, gets a much heavier tourist trade (in all the guide books) and fewer locals.
Others are found far afield in the northern business district.

As for cochinillo, Sobrinos de Botín or Casa Botín (“oldest restaurant in the world”) is very much a tourist-centered restaurant. It’s always packed with visitors, service can be rushed.
But many first timers to Madrid (including my friends who come to visit) consider it an absolute obligatory stop for roast suckling pig.
If you do go, request a table in the cave dining room, the most atmospheric. The menu never changes.

To make up for revenue lost during the pandemic, when they lost their tourist trade, they now have created a “Botín Experience”, a package with tour of the restaurant and kitchen and roasting oven followed by lunch or dinner.

I personally prefer to have cochinillo/tostón in Segovia and have it at José María.
Among the 3 roast suckling pig temples JM, Mesón Cándido, Casa Duque), it has the most varied menu and also the best wine list, as the owner is behind the esteemed winery, Pago de Caraovejas in Ribera del Duero.
All 3 have been given a Repsol sun. Cándido gets the most tourist trade in part because of its age and its location facing the Aqueduct.

In Madrid the other spot for cochinillo would be Los Galayos, but I’ve never had it there.

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About Berlanga,
I sometimes use this “top 50” list for my Madrid dining (but don’t usually dine at many of the Japanese, Peruvian, Mexican or Chinese listed here). It’s a subjective list, of course, but not a bad one.
Berlanga ranks at number 45.

https://www.lagastrolista.com/category/listas-de-restaurantes/top/

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Awesome we will definitely hit up berlanga! Thanks so much @maribel!

Great thread. I am new here and have not posted since the closure of CH.

It is good to see some ex CH’er’s like @Maribel here.

Am also heading to Madrid and was wondering if I can ask some questions here rather than start a separate thread (not to hijack the thread or anything).

What are the following like?

Restaurante El Pedrusco de Aldealcorvo - for suckling pig and lamb
Garcia De La Navarra
Las Tasquita de Enfrente
La Primera
Desde 1911

I just realised there is a branch of Estimar in Madrid - is going on a Sunday optimal since it is seafood?

Thanks

@mikey8811,
I’ve never dined at El Pedrusco de Aldealcorvo in the Chamberí district, but it gets solid reviews on The Fork and comes Michelin recommended. I would certainly try it out for suckling pig and lamb rather than settle for Botín if you don’t make it to Segovia.

In reports that I’ve read, this asador, brought to Madrid from the family’s village in the Segovia province, has been “reinvented” by the second generation of this family. The lamb comes from Riaza and the ponche segoviano for dessert, they bring from the pastry shop Alcázar, Segovia’s best. The sons are now in charge of the kitchen.
In addition to the signature, traditional dishes, they also offer a tasting menu with more creative dishes.

García de la Navarra, around the corner from the Palacio de Cibeles, I do know. It’s well known for its extensive wine list and its seasonal vegetable dishes. The quite plain décor is nothing to write home about, but when we go in for wine and tapas, it’s always packed (and with few tourists) and the bar bustling. It’s been blessed with one Repsol sun.

Erica1 can tell you all about her recent meal at La Tasquita de Enfrente. The chef, Juanjo López Bedmar, has now given the responsibility of the kitchen to his second in command but still maintains a daily presence there.

La Primera is the most distinguished of the restaurants owned by Paco Quirós and his Cañadío group, the most elegant, refined, creative. It would be an excellent choice for you if your stay includes a Sunday night, when fine dining options in the city are limited. The chef’s cooking is highly regarded by the professional food critics.

For the city’s finest seafood, the new “temples” these days are Estimar, brought by Rafa Zafra from Barcelona, and Desde 1911, where the recent OAD awards gala was held. I would go to either. Desde 1911 only offers tasting menus that change daily.

Estimar is rated number 5 by the Macarfi guide, Desde 1911, number 6. Little difference in quality.

The “hottest” table in town now is OSA and the most difficult table to book, as there are only 20 seats. This is the one all the critics are pretty much uniformly raving about.

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Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply. I already have a booking at Desde 1911 so would Estimar be too much of an overlap? Is seafood at Estimar optimal on a Sunday lunch slot, given that it is a Sunday?

I was recommended OSA but could not find much about it in the way of reviews so it wasn’t on my shortlist. What is the type of food like based on your experience or what you have read? I just looked at the Reservations section there but it seems the minimum number of people they have availability for is 3 whereas my party is only 2

I was recommended Garcia de la Navarra for its teardrop peas which is something I really like but I guess it may not be the season in late September, so I may give it a miss.

Any thoughts on Barrera? I was recommended that for home style cooking.

Thanks again

@mikey8811,
Whether Estimar would be too much of an overlap, I can’t say. It wouldn’t be for me because I’m a seafood lover…but I don’t order seafood on Monday (Sunday, yes).

OSA is very new and doesn’t yet have any international press. It’s much talked about in the local food press and is firmly on the radar of all the Madrid chefs. I haven’t yet been, as it’s a very hard table to book. It was one of the most. anticipated openings of the year from the team of Jorge Muñoz (ex Picones de María) and his partner Sara Peral. They spent two years planning this joint venture. They both trained at Mugaritz, so expect a meal more cutting edge, daring, say the critics. it’s tasting menus only and seasonal, and is housed in a chalet in the Ribera de Manzanares river area.

Tear peas (the “green caviar”) won’t be in season in September.
Their season is late winter/early spring and a short season, beginning the very end of February and going until March, weather depending. If the weather is too hot, the season can last just 3 weeks, if cooler, a few weeks longer. Manually harvested, between 4-5 am, always before sunrise.

Some very high end restaurants (DiverXo) during the season are able to serve the extremely pricey tear peas, guisantes lágrima, (this spring, 480/kilo) from a very few producers in the Basque Country around Getaria or Balmaseda, which get snapped up immediately by the Michelin starred chefs. Other restaurants (including Dos Cielos) will serve them sourced from the Maresme of Catalunya, from Sant Andreu de Llavaneres on the coast. These are less expensive, about 150 euros a kilo less, and the season can last a bit longer.

This early March I had them at my favorite Taberna in the Retiro district, but they were from the Maresme.