[Madrid, Granada] trip report [April 2024]

I wonder if they’d serve the tasting menu at the bar?

I don’t think so but there are a few low tables now in the extension of the bar area, to the right, and perhaps there? You could email them to ask.
We sat upstairs.

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Thanks! I tend to gravitate to the bar when I travel solo, but I’ll email them and ask. If not i can just graze from the bar menu :slight_smile:

Our mornings in Madrid were generally spent at a major museum, so it was nice to be able to book a late lunch (this is a problem in North America). After the Prado, we returned to the basement of the Mercado Antón Martín, to eat at Sincio (another @Maribel recommendation). The place is tiny.

That’s the chef, Jorge Gonzalés. You can see how many places are available in the space of a market stall. The remaining tables (four or five, including ours) were in the passageway.

I took that photo quickly but I don’t think the guy in front appreciated my doing so. I was seated right at the corner of a vegetable seller. If someone had wanted that particular kind of tomato, they would have had to reach over me.

I wouldn’t normally post a photo of tomato tapenade and olives, but there are two reasons. First, you can see that my phone couldn’t deal with the lighting from the vegetable stall. Before our first dish arrived, the metal shutter slammed down inches from my right shoulder, and the rest of the photos are better. Second, my partner is a wonderful woman, but she has a few minor flaws, and one of them is that she doesn’t care for olives. She did initiate a move to Lisbon, though, so she has been trying one every couple of weeks. She thought the manzanilla olives in Seville were better, so she took a bite of one of these, and her eyes lit up. “I actually like this!” she said. Of course, we had to find out what variety they were. When Jorge brought us a dish, we asked, and he told us he had gotten them at the stall at the end of the passageway, but he only said “Fennel” for the type. The stall had closed, but we went back the next day and asked the vendor what olives he sold to Sincio, and he pointed. They were Hechizos del Sur. We bought a bulk container, and then went back for some cans to take back to Lisbon (which required us to check our bags, so we tossed in a couple of bottles of PX sherry for her also).

The one regret in this meal is that they came bottom in the agua del grifo ranking. When we asked for it, the server, an otherwise very friendly and chatty Phillipina, used their smallest glass, and only one, for my partner (I had ordered a glass of wine). It was maybe 100ml of liquid, and she can drink more than a litre at a meal. It was not refilled, despite our asking. To be fair, she and Jorge were working all the tables, and he had to cook; they were constantly in motion. After that, we took our small thermoses with us to each meal, just in case.

Back to the positives. We ordered two dishes, the first being fideuà with monkfish and squid. It was really good. Unlike paella, I don’t have much luck cooking this at home.

But the second was even better: pork shank stewed in salsa del chiles, with warm tortillas and accompaniments. I could eat this every week.

As with their neighbour La Lopez in the next passageway over, Sincio makes this market a destination.


I left getting reservations too late, and could not book at any of the La Castela group, except for a terrace table on Saturday night. The weather was too variable to make that appealing (I know they probably have propane heaters, but I don’t like that either). I could book at La Lloreria, though. We were there for the tortilla, and it was indeed good.

l liked the thin cut potatoes, and while I am generally not a fan of runny omelettes, the ones in Madrid worked for me. It was a large serving, though, and we had to leave a quarter of it, because we had also ordered skate.

But this was just okay. We hadn’t had skate in a while, but it needed something. Maybe acid; I found myself eating all the capers on the plate (my partner doesn’t like those either).

Our service and pacing were fine, but the American couple next to us, who were eating a dish when we arrived, were still waiting for their next dish when we left. When the skate arrived, they called the server over, and said it had been half an hour, what was happening? He simply said, “I will serve it”. I don’t know what was going on.


I should put Sincio on my list for future…the fideua and , especially, that pork look superb! Thanks so much for taking time to post all this helpful info, and the photos!!

How would you compare the Mercado Anton Martin to MERCADO DE LA PAZ? (I’ve never been to the former. In fact I’m not sure I’ve been to any market other than San Miguel (no thanks) and La Paz. Besides the places to eat, is there a good reason to visit a different market (I won’t be cooking in my own apartment–yet!)

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@Maribel is probably the right person to do the comparison, but I can give my impression based on two visits to each (plus the olive expedition to Antón Martín). de la Paz is larger, busier and more upscale. Also way more tourists. I’ll write about my visit to Casa Dani later in this thread, but there are several locations within the market, including an outdoor terrace. But there are also many other restaurants that are not just tiny kiosks. Antón Martín felt like it was mostly for locals. I did hear some English spoken by people at a Mexican-themed place near La Lopez. Our Airbnb literally had a view of Plaza Antón Martin, and our host (a bilingual American with a Spanish passport by birth, who had been in Spain nine years, though I don’t know how long at this location) goes to that market weekly, yet didn’t know about La Lopez and Sincio. “Places come and go,” he said. “Where are you getting your information?” I gave him the URL for Hungry Onion so hopefully he registers and adds to the discussion here.

In Lisbon, also, there is a mix of markets, some “gentrified” (notably the Mercado da Ribeira, which Time Out has turned into a fairly horrible mall food court) and some still successful in their original function (notably the Mercado de Benfica, which is packed to the gills on Saturdays, and it is rare to hear a language other than Portuguese).

In Madrid, we happened to walk by the Mercado de San Miguel, so thought we’d stick our heads in. But it is being renovated, so it is completely covered outside with temporary wrap of the kind associated with major work, and when I walked a few metres into it, I realized that the roof of the corridor was also similarly covered, at a low level (like five metres) so it was impossible to see any of the ironwork at all, and the corridor was completely crammed with people shuffling slowly along. Those few seconds were our only experience of San Miguel.

We also dropped in at the Mercato de San Francesco, which was quite sparse, with most of the stalls closed or vacant, and the Mercato de la Cebada, which is an expansive space with probably the lowest ratio of food to non-food stalls we saw. These were late morning or early afternoon visits; they might have been more lively at night. I read about and decided not to visit the Mercato de San Ildefonso, which seems to be another mini-TimeOut, more hype than substance, but I could be wrong about that.

Some of these markets have non-food businesses catering to locals; for example, there is a small laundromat in la Cebada, which looks funny in an upper-floor glass-fronted stall. I like visiting places like this in other cities even if I don’t engage in commerce, but I wouldn’t say they are essential for the tourist.


Thank you again! I’ll put Hechizos del Sur (I’d never heard that name) on my list to sample, as I’m trying to educate myself about Spanish olives…

I’m now finishing up a trip report on the Fodor’s site about my recent 5 day-stay in Madrid (after 5 nights in Cordoba, and about 2 weeks near Vejer de la Frontera, in Andalucia) and I hope to write one here as well…

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Sunday is a difficult day for dining in Madrid. One certainly isn’t going to starve, but the kind of places we talk about here tend to be closed. The thing to do seems to be to go to the Rastro, the flea market that takes up the street going south from Plaza de Cascorro and several streets branching off from it. We managed a block of it, shuffling at a tenth our usual walking speed or less in a packed crowd moving slowly past utterly unremarkable souvenir and clothing stalls. My partner had names and presumed locations of several stalls from research into ceramics and antiques, but we could not find any of them. Later at lunch our server asked us if we’d been and enthused about it. “I don’t buy anything, but I go for the people…!” Perhaps I am too much of a misanthrope. Anyway, there are no shortage of tapas bars and restaurants open in this area to serve the hordes.

We had a lunch reservation at Barmitón, the younger sibling of Marmitón, which is on the sibling street of the famed Calle de la Cava Baja. I had imagined this to be a narrow alley crammed with little establishments, but in fact it is a street of reasonable width, which cars can go down without endangering pedestrians on either side, and the restaurants are more upscale than I expected. I guess it’s been gentrified. I recognized several names from elsewhere in the city. I had also expected Barmitón, on the Calle de la Cava Alta, to be more rustic, but it is well-appointed, though small.

This is the view from our two-top, just to the left of the door and in the front window; there were one or two more two-tops by the front window, a niche to the right of the door that one could squeeze five or six into, and you can get a hint of the communal bar table at far right of the photo. Not large. But pretty attractive.

I was not expecting this meal to be as good as it was; it was in our top tier.

We started with oysters and steak tartare from the “aperitivos” section of the menu. (By the way, make sure your phone is charged and you have cell connectivity, because not only here but just about everywhere we ate, menus are QR codes. I saw people being brought iPads at other places, mostly older people.)

The oysters were stunning. Yuzu granita and candied orange peel, 4,50€ each. The steak tartare, a modest portion but just right for a starter, on an oat crisp, for 4€.

The croquettes (2,50€ each) were filled with a smooth purée of eggplant (roasted, from the taste) and 24-month Parmagiano. “How do they make these?” asked my partner, because the filling was not as thick as a typical croquette. I confessed that I did not know.

Piparras, perfectly done, were 6€. Contrast this with the smaller portion at La Canibal (above) for about two and a half times the price.

And finally, thistle mushrooms atop a porcini-truffle emulsion, with panko and scallions (14,50€). Quality maintained across a diverse selection at prices that are a bargain for what is delivered. The best meal we had in Madrid? Wait, there is a late contender to come.


I am so enjoying these reports, thank you!!


Mondays are also problematic for eating. Bourdain said that he regretted the persistence of his “no seafood on Mondays” advice, things having changed somewhat since, and it’s also the case that shellfish don’t have to be harvested that morning. But a larger issue is that so many places are closed. We decided to go to Casa Dani in the Mercado de la Paz for lunch. There are actually four possibilities served by the same kitchen: the narrow bar, the small dining room, a takeout window, and a modest outdoor terrace at one of the entrances. There was only one person waiting for the dining room when we arrived at around 1:30pm, so we stood behind him.

There were a number of locals having the menu of the day, which seemed like a lot of food for the price, and a few tourists. We ordered media raciónes of tortilla and torreznos.

The tortilla was quite good, probably better than at La Lorenza. The torreznos were very crisp, no softness to them at all. We could not finish all of them (and that was a half portion!). Service was brisk but not unfriendly. We were brought the bill quickly on request and asked to pay at the bar, which was still full of people (I presume one queues for this on the other side, I don’t know).

There was more of a queue for the dining room when we left, but not terrible.


For our Monday dinner, we reserved at Tatema, which is open daily continuously from 13:00 to 23:00 (21:00 on Sundays and Mondays). We were alone in the dining room at 19:00 (there were a few people in the bar). Lighting was subdued and tables were spaced apart.

Unusually in our limited Spanish experience, the menu was printed on our disposable paper placemat.

The cocktails looked quite interesting but I stuck to a draught beer. We ordered three dishes, and the young server advised us to only get half-portions of two of them, which turned out to be exactly the right choice.

This is the dish that everyone talks about, deep-fried broccoli with sesame dressing and cheese. Everyone is right.

Asparagus with cured egg yolk, Brie, and Spanish pancetta. A fairly rich dish.

Deep-fried small squid, tomato sauce, pesto, nduja, Taleggio cream, and housemade chips. This was very tasty, but perhaps a bit too busy. As with the previous dish, maybe one less ingredient would have worked better for me.

We ate better on Monday than I would have expected!


Since we had an early afternoon train to Granada, we thought we’d return to La Canibal, which is close to the train station, for their menu of the day, which we had seen others eating on our last visit. That didn’t quite work out. The dining room was closed and they didn’t start serving the menu of the day until dangerously close to our departure time. We sat in the bar area (on curious high chairs that rocked alarmingly) and ordered starters. This time we had to repeatedly ask for water. But I got to try two more of their tap wines!

I don’t tend to order burrata, because I find them too rich and filling, but this was billed as artisanal, from Valladolid, and it was lighter, more like a fresh mozzarella.

Bocartes (fresh anchovies) with pickled peppers and garlic. These could have used a squeeze of lemon.

Everything was a bit more expensive than warranted, but it’s still a good choice if you’re at the Reina Sofia or the train station, I think.


I’m going back to Casa Dani for sure, it’s very close to my hotel and I’ll get there just after opening so as to avoid the crowds. Thanks for your updates, I’m getting stoked about my trip!


Prabakhar: Terrific! I’ve added Barmiton to my Madrid list…open on Sunday night!!! Agree that Sunday nights are truly a big problem in Madrid…I can’t count the hours I’ve spent over the years checking horarios to see what’s open then…Your photos and descriptions are right on target…mil gracias!

Where do you live in Portugal??

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We live in Lisbon, in Campo de Ourique.

That’s wonderful!!!

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It is imprudent to draw conclusions from visits of a few days, but Madrid seems able to absorb its tourists, like Paris. Yes, there are concentrations of them in the museums and major plazas, and presumably by the palace. But it is pretty easy to walk a few blocks and be surrounded by locals going about their business. We were more affected by school outings than tour groups.

Granada is another matter. It is smaller, and quite striking, so easy to appreciate. Apart from our arrival at and departure from the train station, we spent nearly all of our time in the historic centre, the Alhambra, and the Albaicín district. This would be like being in Chiado and the Alfama in Lisbon, places we visited as tourists but almost never go to as residents. We walked everywhere and took no public transit or taxis. We had a glimpse of the modern city surrounding the centro when we walked into Realejo to get our PX sherry at the El Corté Ingles. But tourism has distorted the parts of the city we frequented.

Because we had a light lunch, and had to get up early for our 8:30am timed entrance to the Alhambra, we wanted to eat on the early side, soon after arrival. Our Madrid host had recommended the original Los Diamantes, on Calle Navas (a narrow, meandering, crowded lane like what I had expected of Cava Baja in Madrid); @Maribel had recommended Los Diamantes II, a bit further south. But they did not open until 20:30. There were two other locations, in Plaza Nueva and Plaza de Bib Rambla, that were open continuously, and the latter was closest to us.

The interior, like several others on this picturesque square, was gleaming, modern, and somewhat soulless. Also empty. There were tables set up along the window, but down one of the side streets, with a tacky souvenir shop on the other side. No matter, we were there for the food, which was mostly fried, with some items “a la plancha”.

The chipirones could have been a little crisper, and the navajas were a bit scorched, but generally this was tasty food (full ración of the razor clams, half for the other two). The bread was pretty basic. We were fortunate in Madrid; most of our meals came with good bread.

Because our Alhambra tickets were so early, we were back in the centre in time to try to get in at La Tana when it opened. My heart sank when we came upon it and the four 4-tops set up outside had “reservado” signs on them. I looked into the small, dark interior; there was one couple at a high-top. “Can I get a table… any time?” I said tentatively. “Inside or outside?” the server said. We opted for outside, and she asked us to choose, and then whisked the sign away. Same routine with the people who came later. I guess this avoids people just sitting down at empty tables.

The menu, as far as I can tell, is not linked from their main website, so here is what the QR code yielded up.

Make sure you click through on that to look at their list of wines by the glass, which is fantastic. That alone is a reason to visit… but the food is excellent.

We asked for recommendations, and from the list chose three dishes, two full and one half.

Tomate aliñado, but more than a simple tomato salad. Also the good bread was back!

Smoked sardines in salmorejo. Really good texture and flavour on these.

Believe it or not, this is a media ración (8€) of morcilla! I was expecting a few dark sausage rounds on toothpicks. This was clearly homemade, slightly warm, no rice or grain filler, but shredded pork instead, warmly spiced. Utterly fantastic.

This was the best meal we had in Granada, and if you visit the city, you must go.


Living in Lisbon presents a number of logistical challenges that one usually avoids as a visitor. But day to day, life is pretty pleasant. Yesterday morning, we went to our usual supermarket to restock the fridge, and the seafood counter had live sea urchins! We had to buy a couple (about 2€ each) and watch some videos to learn how to deal with them at home. (There were also percebes, a 500g container for 16€.)


For dinner on our first full day in Granada, I wanted to have arroz negro (which I keep calling arròs negre, but people seem to understand), which I hadn’t managed in Madrid. The choices seemed to be Oliver or Los Manueles. We opted for the slightly more casual and downmarket second choice (the food prices were nearly identical at both). There are multiple locations of Los Manueles, but the cathedral location got the best reviews on Google Maps and was closest to our Airbnb.

We opted to sit inside, and were given a two-top just behind the wall at dead centre of the above photo, with a view of the bar and, for my partner, the kitchen. (I always appreciate these glimpses of infrastructure.)

Just one glass of wine (I ordered a second one, but it never came) and the dish (17,50€/person, minimum 2 people).

This was good, not as good as the best ones from Barcelona, in my memory, but I haven’t been there in a while. (In theory I should be able to make this dish, which I have done in the past, but I have no idea where to get squid ink in Lisbon. Should be possible, but my Portuguese is still too rudimentary…) Topping it with deep-fried squid instead of squid or shrimp that had been steamed on top (there were whole shrimp, overcooked, in the rice) is a bit of a cheat, but I didn’t mind too much. “Not first date food,” my partner commented, as our lips and teeth turned black. Our toothbrushes were a short walk away.

The next day was just walking around, trying for areas we had not seen. In mid-morning, we headed up to the lookouts behind the Albaicín, and then headed for an early lunch. We had some addresses from our Airbnb host, who provided more detail than usual. The Albaicín feels as if Cordoba’s Juderia neighbourhood, with its maze of narrow buildings, all whitewashed, was smeared over a steep hillside. Somehow they have managed to concentrate the tourist tat into a few streets lower down, but every small plaza with a decent view has one or more restaurants with tourists perched on cheap plastic chairs. How does one eat reasonably under these circumstances?

We headed for La Entraiya, no terrace, no view, just a low-key doorway on the Calle Pagés, so low-key that we missed it on our descent and had to double back. It was empty when we arrived about 12:30, but when we left, a few older men were eating and drinking at the bar. There was a menu board outside, designed by someone’s grandson, and we were handed plastic menus sort of folded into three but not quite, so they relaxed into triangular prisms. No matter, I had done enough research to know what we were there for, which was the menú del diá at 15€.

Behind me was a reasonable-sized dining room, empty and dark. We both started the same way: salmorejo, then the pescaito de la plancha, on that day calamares.

But we tried two different desserts, tiramisù and flan.

A humble meal, but well done, reminiscent of the small restaurants in our Lisbon neighbourhood popular with locals. I would rather eat like this than have something more generic on a terrace with a lot of English and French in my ears. Even with a view of the Alhambra.

Our flight out of Madrid was the next day, and of the two trains back that didn’t require a change at Cordoba, the earliest one (at 7am) was the only one that worked. So we needed an early meal, and didn’t want to eat too much. Almost literally downstairs from our Airbnb was a Turkish place called La Turquesa, which got praise from our host and Google Maps. We went and had the mezze platter for two for 13€. Being kind of vegetable-starved at this point, this was really the right thing to do.

I have no idea if their mains live up to the initial promise (sometimes an issue with restaurants like this) but this is an address to keep in mind.