Markets are back in fashion

By | 15 April, 2015 | 0 comments

mercado san miguelAt first sight, it is somewhat unglamorous but it has slowly introduced stalls with character that, added to its attractive location on the central Calle San Isabel, make Antón Martín market an interesting place to drop by. After its recent facelift, it has a hipster touch to it next to the traditional fruit stalls and butcher’s thanks to shops like dondeSánchez, Cosas Ricas or Cutzamala, that sells Mexican food. The market also has original shops like La Mar de Algas, where you can buy products related to algae to cook.

Outside, the area is worthy of a visit, especially around Calle Santa Isabel, which is surrounded by many bars and terraces such as Tomates Verdes Fritos, famous for its speciality in green fried tomatoes that is also the name of a film.

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Haute cuisine in Madrid: treat yourself

By | 15 March, 2015 | 0 comments

DiverxoA human being in the Western world lives an average of 25.000 days in his life. So why don’t you give a special touch to every one of them and go, for example, to a restaurant with a Michelin star. You will be surprised to find out that they are not as expensive as you thought they were.

One of the most popular ones at the moment is DiverXo. Some of its main features are the charisma of its chef, David Muñoz and the audacity and quality of its culinary proposals, so much so that many people are asking for it to be awarded more Michelin stars than the three it already has. Others believe its price, around 150-200€, to be very interesting, since a restaurant of similar characteristics in Paris or London would cost double that. They offer an extensive menu of 11 dishes so you can enjoy an evening without rushing and with plenty of sensations, textures and surprises. The wine list, unlike those of other restaurants of this type, includes sensible prices (with an eccentricity or two). You can find the restaurant in the Cuzco area, in Castellana.

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A Thai experience

By | 13 February, 2015 | 0 comments

thai food

Asian food is much more than the typical Chinese restaurant or the omnipresent Japanese ones. Thai food offers many different novelties, such as flavours that range from hot to sweet, going from one to the other with ease. A good place to enjoy some excellent Thai food is Oam Thong, on Calle Corazón de María, 7. It is considered the best Thai restaurant in the Spanish capital, famous for its hot dishes. It opened in 2005 and on its menu you will find a dish whose name says it all: buey del infierno, the ox from hell. They also offer less spicy dishes such as pad thai or the classic noodles.

Known by Thai residents in Madrid despite its recent opening, Thai Orchid is a small trip to exotic Asia. Waitresses dressed in traditional attire and dishes such as chicken satay or green curry with prawns are some of this restaurant’s characteristics, where you can also get a lunchtime menu for 14.50€, highly recommended during weekdays.

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Madrid’s Seafood Route

By | 1 February, 2015 | 0 comments

mariscada madridWe start this seafood route in a very popular and traditional spot, with plenty of flavour, popular prices and very close to our hotel in the center of Madrid. We are talking about Ribeira de Miño, on Calle Santa Brígida, 1 (Metro Tribunal), which offers a generous mariscada (seafood platter) for two people for just 30 euros, accompanied of course by the Ribeiro house wine (8 euros per bottle). It includes lobsters, prawns, crab, crayfish and langoustines, and you can spend almost two hours eating all of this.

Something more luxurious can be found at El Gran Barril, on Calle Goya, 107, in a clean and modern atmosphere where you can enjoy large crabs, crayfish and goose barnacles, as well as tiger prawns from Huelva. It also has a large variety of rice and fish dishes, ideal to enjoy with one of its many white wines from its select cellar. You can also enjoy all of this at the bar, without having to book at table. The menu per person costs approximately 70 euros.

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The Barrio de las Letras is in fashion

By | 27 January, 2015 | 0 comments

barrio letrasThis last January 24th, a small cultural milestone happened when they discovered the tomb of Miguel de Cervantes in the crypt of the Convent of Las Trinitarias, in the heart of the Barrio de Las Letras district, very close to the Church of San Sebastián, the resting place of Lope de Vega. With the enigmatic yet conclusive inscription of his initials “M.C.”, now they have to check whether they really are the remains of the author of El Quijote, which would give this district an even bigger literary aura.

This district was the heart of literary life back in the Siglo de Oro, Spain’s “Golden Century” back in the 16th and 17th centuries. You can see this in the plaque at the end of Calle León, a spot where the literary managers and candidates used to gather in order to know first hand the news of the world of literature.

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Madrid goes Italian

By | 23 December, 2014 | 0 comments

comida italianaOn Santa Engracia 143 you can find Mercato Ballaró, a part of Sicily in Madrid that, unlike many other Italian restaurants, does not have traditional or folkloric decoration. All the opposite: soft, grey and pleasant tones come together to offer an excellent gastronomic experience with two proposals: the one on the ground floor (Mercato Abajo), where you can order half portions at affordable prices; or the upper floor (Mercato Arriba) for more formal dinners. Dishes like the tagliolini with Sicilian juice or maccheroncini with zucchini and fish define a menu that it shares with another restaurant run by the same owners, La Tavernetta, on Calle Orellana, 17, which is also worth a visit.

While on the subject of Italian restaurants that do not seem Italian because of their decoration, we come to Ouh… Babbo!, on Calle Caños del Peral, 2 (Ópera area, close to our hotel by the Gran Vía). Owned by the Spanish actor of Italian origin Bruno Squarcia, it offers a wide range of Italian products such as the tartufone (not on the menu), a delicious recipe made with pasta, eggs, Parmesan cheese and the fundamental twist of white truffle (20 euros). On Thursdays, Bruno himself plays a guitar recital of traditional Italian songs, so make sure you book in advance (and book a table on the ground floor).

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A route around hipster Madrid

By | 5 December, 2014 | 0 comments

Plaza de San IldefonsoIt is the trendiest word… or is it not trendy anymore? In any case, hipsters are there and they materialise in some of the places or spaces in this article. We start at La Realidad (Bar Mítico), a bar that opened its doors some four years ago at Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 51. Famous for its different kinds of G&Ts, all the colours they come in and the little bits inside of it, it has as many lovers as it has detractors.

The bar’s success came soon after the owners of La Bicicleta Café tried their luck in the adjacent square of Plaza San Ildefonso, and since its inauguration it has become one of the area’s trendiest spaces. They boast about loving everything with their soul and caring for all the little details, as well as having homemade pastries and healthy food in a setting that pays tribute to cycling culture.

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The Railway Museum

By | 27 November, 2014 | 0 comments

estacion deliciasYou do not have to get onto any moving train to soak in the old spirit of the railway world. All you need to do is go to the Museo de Ferrocarril (Railway Museum) in the Delicias district to experience these sensations from up close, in what used to be the old Delicias Station, reminiscent of Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris and those that have been immortalised in artworks on so many occasions. So, what can we find in the museum? An attractive collection of old locomotives, such as the steam locomotive called Confederación, which back in its day was the most technically advanced one in the world, reaching speeds of up to 87 mph. There are also more modern train engines, electric and diesel-powered, and parts of the legendary Spanish train Talgo.

Lovers of the railway world will also enjoy the Clock Room (Sala de Relojes), a room filled with clocks that used to be a synonym of extreme punctuality back in the days when trains were of more widespread use and that used to be checked by nearby neighbours when they wanted to know the exact time.

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A taste of Russia in Madrid

By | 15 November, 2014 | 0 comments

blini ruso

Geographically, there is no place further from Madrid inside Europe than Russia. Luckily, we have many restaurants that shorten that distance and, for a few hours at least, make us feel like we are in Dostoyevsky’s country. One of them is Rasputin, a mixture of decadent, romantic and 19th century decor on Calle Yeseros, 2, very close to Calle Bailén.

Its decor takes us back to pre-communist Russia, reminiscent of the times of Anna Karenina. It has an à la carte menu but also set menus, with delicious dishes such as blinis with caviar, stroganoff sirloin steak and duck and salmon recipes. Despite it being in the “20 euros or more per person” range, it is excellent value for money if we go by the generous reviews left on the internet by satisfied customers.

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Circulo de Bellas Artes: cultural centrifuge

By | 2 November, 2014 | 0 comments

Circulo Bellas ArtesBuilt in 1926, the building that holds the Círculo de Bellas Artes, also known as CBA, is one of the most outstanding ones in Madrid. Although the CBA itself was founded in 1880, it was not until when it moved to its current home that it started to gain its character, especially in the 80s of the last century, when it was consolidated as a cultural focus of reference.

Its exhibitions are always stimulating for curious spectators, as is the one you can currently visit called ‘Experimental writing in Spain, 1965-1983’. It includes creative artists such as Isidoro Valcárcel, Jorge Oteiza, Antoni Tàpies or Esther Ferrer although in their more literary version as writers who are more or less important, who launch themselves to write “without the obstacles from atavisms of the past”. It is open until January 11th.

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