Posts Tagged ‘Madrid’

 
 

Looking for the best food in Madrid?

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

The real challenge in Madrid is not so much which restaurant do I dine at, it’s which food do I choose. Madrid has high quality restaurants at every price point, so choose your budget and have at it! Your first decision, however, is where to stay. Cheaprooms.com has plenty of hotels available and there aregood accommodation in Madrid for every budget. Look for places close to the heart of the city, and some of the smaller hotels in the side streets are truly excellent value for money.

Your considerations are closeness to the main attractions and a busy nightlife close by so that food and entertainment is an easy walk. Public transport is great, but confusing in a foreign language and the crowded streets make taxi fares expensive. The best entertainment in Madrid is in the old city – the areas of Los Austrias, La Latina and Sol. These places have that romantic old cobblestoned look you’re after and there aregood hotel deals for these areas.

What food should you choose when you’re happily ensconced with a glass of red and fine company by your side…? One of the best meals in Madrid, indeed Spain, is a plate of Iberico ham with fresh crusty bread, fresh olive oil and a couple of tomatoes. Peasant lunch it may be, but we guarantee satisfaction. Most bars will have something like this and would get run out of business for serving anything less. Stay away from a touristy-looking place and travel into the side streets.

The Spanish love eating out for breakfast and while churros and chocolate may sound like dessert, it’s common in Spain (particularly very early in the morning after a late night out!). Chocolateria San Gines has one specialty and that is Churros con Chocolate. The chocolate is thick, rich and pudding-like, and the churros are light and crispy. They’re open 24 hours a day and this is pretty much all they serve. (Handy when you don’t speak the language – you can’t go wrong.)

Dining is a different experience in Spain. The essential difference is in the timing of it all and an American digestive system may balk somewhat. But the best places to eat in Madrid will cater for the very specific meal times. El Desayuno – Breakfast (until 10 am), El Almuerzo – Mid-morning snack (10.30 am – noon), La Comida – Lunch (2 pm – 3 pm), La Merienda – Afternoon snack (around 5 pm), La Cena – Dinner (9 pm – 10.30 pm).

Of course, everyone thinks Tapas when they think Spanish food, and you do have to try it when you’re in Madrid. The best tapas in Madrid is mostly found in the La Latina area in central Madrid not far from Plaza Mayor. One of the most famous is Casa Lucio at Cava Baja, 35. The rich and not so rich, royalty and locals all eat here so the prices are decent and the food done with a time-honoured twist. It looks very traditional and many of the waiters and chefs have been here for years. It’s simple and not in the slightest bit fussy and the decor won’t bowl you over. But the food will…

Even robots need to get down and boogie…

 

Madrid – one of the best-looking cities in Europe!

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

Madrid is an explosion of sights and sounds, glorious experiences and food on a par with the best in the world. This beautiful city is so chock-full of things to see and do I hope you have at least a week up your sleeve!

Start your journey in a late night flamenco bar; listen to the castanets, watch the swirling silk and drink in the rhythms of the guitars – you’ll be hooked! It’s much better live and Madrid abounds in Flamenco Bars. Some are better quality than most and the one to watch out for is Casa Patas (C/Cañizares 10, Lavapiés). Every night is party night in Madrid and flamenco will start you off as you should continue – stamp and clap like a local, consume vast quantities of sangria and enjoy yourself!

Enjoy some local vermouth (not as you know it) alongside tapas on a Sunday afternoon. The Madrid version of vermouth is made from sweet white wine blended with herbs, flowers, fruit peel, seeds and plants, with ice and a slice and is drunk as an aperitif.

Are you a shoe fanatic? Blessed be the gods – Madrid is a world-class manufacturer of women’s shoes. Search out the best of the seconds shops in Augusto Figueroa, in the heart of Chueca and spend up large for more things your wardrobe doesn’t need.

The museums of Madrid are in every guidebook but for our money you simply can’t miss Guernica, in the Museo Reina Sofía. It’s one of Picasso’s finest works and is stunning on a visual sense, a context sense and a historical sense. It is a ‘must see’ in Madrid.

 

If it’s the magic of Europe you’re after…

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

…then Madrid is your town. Many visitors to Europe do the big 3 – Rome, Paris and London, but in our humble opinion, Spain offers a vastly exciting experience that covers not only history, but culture and food.

Just an afternoon’s walk in front of the Royal Palace (in the equally beautiful Plaza de Oriente square) will convince you that European history is alive and well (as it were). It’s the largest palace in Western Europe and was designed to accommodate more than 3000 courtiers in the court of Filipe V in 1737. The palace itself contains furniture, tapestries, paintings and ceramics as well as other important works of art and frescos by Tiépolo. Velázquez, Goya, Giordano and more and is open almost year round except for official ceremony days.

You must see the Madrid Cathedral (started in 1883 and only completed in 1993) and conveniently, it’s close to the Royal Palace. And after a day of history, we recommend a bit culture, Madrid style! Flamenco rules here and you’ll find it in street bars and restaurants. Normally you would go for an evening meal to one of these places, and listen to the music afterwards.

The best flamenco in Madrid can be seen at the Corral de la Moreria “tablao” flamenco restaurant. The food is great as well and you’ll see Madrid at its best. If that’s not your style, look out for tapas – a Spanish staple and found almost everywhere. After a day’s walk, a cold beer and selection of tapas is one of life’s great pleasures!
Madrid is cool, Madrid is fun, Madrid is magic!