After a turbulent start (and not just in the air), myself and Caitlin (not a joke) landed in Madrid to a government alert ping informing us of a flood threat, and asking us to remain indoors. What occurred next was a mild panic, and an amateur recreation of The Devil Wears Prada, us echoing the notorious Miranda Priestly standing in a stormy window re-arranging plans.
Nevertheless, after a rainy 24 hours, we were greeted with warm sunshine and resumed our plans for a food and drink tour around the city.
This amazing bakery is a small chain with a commitment to sustainable baking and using natural, raw ingredients.
We were drawn in by beautiful loaves of sourdough, artisan breads and cakes. We ended up picking mini muffins to try, with homemade hazelnut spread in the middle (reminiscent of a jellybean favourite, Nutella®) and topped off with chocolate orange chips. YUM!
- Best for artisan breads
La Mafia se Sienta a la Mesa
This beautiful Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is based in the north of the city. With an extensive menu of pastas, fish dishes and unique cocktails, this was a delightful dinner setting.
- Best for Burrata, Parma Ham and Pesto Focaccia (MORE PLEASE!)
Amicis came recommended from a friend who had lived in Madrid, so was high on our list of places to try!
With a refreshing Margarita and Sangria to start, we opted to share small plates choosing Patatas Bravas, Pekin Duck tacos and Iberico ham and cheese croquettes. Deceptively filling, every dish was delicious. I would love to return!
- Best Local Recommendation
Le Tavernier Gran Vía
Le Tavernier is a beautiful rooftop bar, right in the heart of the city centre. Alongside an extensive drinks menu, they have a huge range of Spanish hams to try through croquettes or unique burger combinations- for example, a Spicy Iberian with caramelized apple.
- Best for Golden-hour drinks
Castizo is a stone’s throw away from El Retiro Park, and after a tiring morning of rowing a boat (mainly in circles) on the lake, we deserved lunch.
I opted for the Iberian ham and beef stewed meatballs. Served with crusty bread and cubed potatoes; delicious with every bite! Caitlin chose a delicious beef sandwich, which came with a chilled potato salad and fries!
- Best for a post-walk lunch!
Mercado de San Miguel
Located in the heart of Madrid, this market is a monument to Spanish cuisine. A meeting point for food lovers, it attracts 10 million visitors every year. From fish stalls to Champagne bars with oysters, cakes to individual Tapas bites, this foodie hotspot was bustling with tourists and locals alike.
- Best for an afternoon sweet treat
The Big Mamma Group offers some of the most Instagrammable restaurants in London, and with their ever-growing expansion, we thought we’d try one out across the channel.
With beautiful décor, Villa Capri did not disappoint in setting. We opted for a Mammargherita Pizza (divine) and Pasta della Nonna. This hearty pasta with potato, parmesan and pancetta was huge, but incredibly tasty and very popular that night.
- Best for a dinner photoshoot!
Azotea del Círculo
A rooftop bar off Gran Vía. With a prime location, on top of Círculo de Belle Artes, one of Europe’s private cultural centres, Azotea offers almost 360 degrees of panoramic views over the capital.
I opted for a Mojito, and it was probably the best I’ve ever had. With ambient lighting and good music, this is a must-visit!
- Best for views over the city
We stopped at Tapa Tapa for lunch, and for a quick introduction to Spanish Tapas, this is the place to be. With an extensive menu full of fish, meat and veggie options, diners will not be leaving hungry!
Opting for Empanadillas de Pulled Pork (a crispy, fried dumpling), Pan con tomate, Beef with Padron peppers, and of course a Spanish omelette, we dove right in. I would again have loved to return and try out more of the menu having been impressed by everything we had ordered.
- Best for a quick and varied lunch offering
El Mercado de la Reina
Amongst our other choices of Chicken skewers and beef sirloin, we got Patatas Bravas of course! An interesting fact about Patatas Bravas we learnt whilst in Spain for you: the spicy sauce on top of the potatoes is not a set recipe! Restaurants serve up their own take, so we had everything from a Paprika chilli sauce to homemade chipotle!
- Best for people-watching
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