I am finally making my first trip to Spain. The theme of my 2023 tracel is cities and countries I have never been before. I am also taking advantage of work trips and scheduling time off around those trips. Spain will be my first big one of 2023.
I know almost nothing about Toledo and Madrid. I know Spain takes food seriously, so that is going to be something I am going to enjoy learning about, but I have no idea where to go. I was hoping DiverXO was a possibility, but they do not seat tables of 1 (though is there a website where you can find dining companions?).
Well, I don’t “know” you, or your tastes, at all, but I just returned from Madrid and for my money, it is one of the world’s top eating cities. The creativity is just mind-blowing.
I (personally) would not worry about not getting a table at DiverXO; maybe try StreetXO which does not take bookings but for which you can certainly get a seat if you line up. (Forgive me, as I’ve not been to Munoz’ restaurants and know almost nothing about them…I think his style might be a little too fusion-ey for me).
Since it will be your first time in Spain, and if you truly want to learn about the country’s food culture, my advice would be to concentrate on the classics or, better the classics and the places that do modern twists on the classics, with a few super-contemporary spots thrown in. And by classics I do not mean the ones on the well-trampled tourist trail, although there are tourists everywhere, of course, like me!!
The quality bar in Madrid is so high and there are so, so many great places, I was going crazy trying to narrow down my choices for a short, 4 night stay last week. One factor is: When are you visiting the city? And how long will you be there?
Do you want super-high-end white-tablecloth places, or bar/restaurants? Do you mind eating dinner early, like 9pm, or even 8pm?
So, I go to Toledo first for 4 nights. While there, I am going to do the day trip to Segovia rather than losing a day in Madrid there. I am staying at the Eugenia de Montijo. Then I have 6 nights in Madrid. Will be staying at the Edition, which is new and seems to be pretty central.
I am open for anything.
Have you thought about how you are going from Toledo (south of Madrid) to Segovia (north)? I’m not a logistics expert and this is not a travel site but unless I am mistaken, the train from Toledo to Segovia takes about 4 hours each way, via Madrid, where you may have to change rail stations. So that sounds like about 8-9 hours travel time, long for a day trip. But do check, I may be wrong.
In order to offer you some advice on eating in Madrid (and there are others here with a lot more time there than I’ve had), I would need to know when you are going (what time of year). Since your budget is ample enough to allow for DiverXO (365euro per person without alcohol; paid in advance of arrival), you have the possibility of almost any restaurant in the city, if you can find a table. Have you asked your hotel to book you a single seat at DiverXO? Just saying you are open to anything does not really help us, though, with so many places to choose from.
Good to know about Toledo/Segovia. I will have to look more into it. I am just now starting to plan.
I am in Madrid in June. Budget is not an option. Ultimately, I am looking for reservations, places that people adore and think are great experiences. I like a mixture of fine dining and holes in the wall. Ultimately, I want to go to places that are more local and less touristy, though I am a sucker for historic restaurants.
So for instance, even though I know it is a bit of a tourist trap, I do want to try Botin just for the history of it all.
Other places I have noted are:
Carral de la Moreira (though I want to be in the restaurant, not the large cavernous space, so I am going to reach out to my hotel Concierge to see if that can happen, then I can go to the show after).
I think most of those I have heard people on here talk about. Again, I want amazing food and a great experience.
You are most welcome!!
Would you mind sharing your home city and which restaurants you like best there? Maybe then we could get a better idea of your taste. When you say “budget is not an option,” do you mean that you have a generous budget? (I am thinking maybe there is a language barrier here (???)
BRUTALISTA specializes in escabeches. If that sounds good, it does get great reviews, but i have not been.
You might want to look into dSTAGE and COQUE. Those both sound like they might suit. And, of course, DiverXO.
I’ve not been to SOBRINOS DE BOTIN in many, many years but its reputation seems solid.
For me, in Segovia, JOSE MARIA is a favorite, for both suckling pig and for lamb. And there are some newer asadores that sound promising but that I have never been. It is a lovely and interesting city.
Once you get your plans settled, perhaps you might return here with your list. Personally I think I am more fixated on food than on experience so not sure if I am the best one to help you. But we have a resident gastronome and all-around Spain expert who posts here often (Maribel) when she is not busy traveling. Hopefully she will add more to this thread. She also can arrange a private food and wine tour for you, which might be an option since this will be your first visit to Spain.
Here is one more for you; under the helm of the chef with the most Michelin stars in all of Spain, and new to Madrid:
According to Google, this is permanently closed (although there is still a restaurant there):
SLVJ (by Fermin Azkue)
You should check out Ivan Cerdeno at Cigarral del Angel - VERY formal - to see if it is to your taste. For me, the highlight was the wine list but I note that (from DiverXo) you will be dining alone, so not sure whether that makes sense. They hustle the wine pairings - but I found those expensive (compared to the list). Food was very good - but no better than in Madrid - but the wines haven’t (yet) been picked over by tourists. BUT the list I saw (in 2022) was about 1 1/2 inches thick - and that was only Vol 1 (the Spanish) - Vol 2 was International - and I can’t find it online.
Martin is now the chef at Club Allard. Definitely thinking I will do that.
Saw Ciggaral del Angel, and it is on my initial long list. When I plan, I put a long list together of everything that seems amazing, then start whittling it down.
Sacha 100% Casa Dani for delicious and cheap Tortilla Espanola, Casa Tony for good eats and a fun vibe ,early morning at San Miguel market for vermut and banderillas. Also had a great meal at Taberna La Carmencita , a charming restaurant with great classic dishes and excellent music. I hope you’ll be taking in a Flamenco show or two.
Estufarian…Good to see you here (from CH). Sorry, ETXEKO did not last long, I guess!
Have you been to Madrid lately? Would love to hear your experiences!! Just got back from 4 ravishing nights in the city…mainly just eating and food shopping!
Casa Dani is currently closed for renovations but owner told me they plan to open in next week or so…so check. My hotel made such a fabulous tortilla that i was not too disappointed about Casa Dani. Recommend visit to Mercado de la Paz anyway, for their oyster bars and other eating place, and for food shopping.
Is Martin actually cooking at Allard?
I loved LUA when it first opened; from reports, it is still prime.
Made a huge deadline at work, and a month out, and I am really starting to plan.
Thanks for all the recommendations and thoughts. I scoured this board and another board I belong to and came up with a list. I am now narrowing that list down as it is ridiculously long.
Trying to plan some, but keep significant flexibility in case I just want to chill for an afternoon on the rooftop pool.
I think I have narrowed everything down, so will try and get reservations booked as soon as places open up. Going to try and fit in:
Bodega de la Ardosa
Corral de la Moreira (going to do the tasting menu and the show)
And then all manner of markets and other stuff.
Please share with us the markets and any casual spots you are going to!
So here are the plans thus far. I tend to play fast and loose, but I try and plan for an activity in the AM and an activity in the afternoon. And that is it. Then I try and pick lunches and dinners somewhat close at hand, but sometimes, I do have to go out of my way.
So as of now, I arrive in Madrid from Toledo (I have not even started planning Toledo yet) and hit my hotel. I am staying at the Edition, so I probably will actually spend a little more time at the hotel than I usually do given its amazing rooftop pool and some great restaurants/bars with great pedigrees.
The first day, becuase I get in early afternoon, I am going to hit the Mercado de San Miguel for some light snacks, and then hit Plaza Mayor. Dinner that first night will be at Sacha.
Second day, I will spend the morning at the Prado. My tolerance for large art museums is about 4 hours max. I love art, but I am not a big fan of crowds. I will do with the Prado what I do with the Louvre when I go. Plan a route, and hit the things I absolutely want to see, and enjoy the items on the way. After a morning at the Prado, will walk through Retiro to Restaurant Castelados. Originally, the plan was to go to La Castela based on the advice of a friend. But they do not take reservations for tables of one. However, Castelados is their sister restaurant right down the street which does take a reservation for a party of one. So, will be doing there. Afterwards, will probably spend the afternoon exploring Retiro OR will head back to the hotel for reading and pool time. Then for dinner, plan on making my own Tapas crawl along Cava Baja in La Latina. The places I have noted to try are:
Diaz y Larrouy
Taberna La Concha
and if I have over embibed that evening, Los Huevos de Lucio
Wednesday, the plan is to hit the Museo de Traje in the AM. Then hit Bodega de la Ardosa for drinks and lunch. I have a Vintage Shopping tour booked for the afternoon (I love fashion and have started really getting into vintage designer clothing…hoping I can score some vintage Loewe or Balenciaga). Dinner that night will be at Lua.
That is as far as I have made it. I am still debating heading out to Segovia for a day. I might not this trip as I am loathe to give up a day in Madrid.
La Posada de Villa: # 9 Cava Baja - for lunch ( Casa Lucio was famous in its time however, it has changed hands ).
For Tapas: Casa Lucas is a marvel - exceptional tapas and highly varied wines by the glass
Basque & Navarran: Julian Tolosa - Cava Baja 14 - 16 (renowned for their Basque Beef / Steak Cuts ). A true jewel.
Have a wonderful and safe trip.
No, Martín isn’t actually cooking at Club Allard. His chef there is José María Goñi, whom he trained.
Martín has also opened a casual Basque taberna at the corner of Ferraz and Ventura Rodríguez, called Madrí Madre.
Yes, Lúa is still prime, but the bar is no longer there. The bar area has been made into the upstairs dining room.