As you saw last month, I saw some fantastic sights in Spain. But when I wasn’t enjoying daytrips from Madrid, I was eating. Lots. 🙂 The Spanish capital is one of Europe’s gastronomic stops and in Spain it is second only to Basque Country food. Here’s some of the great food-inspired experiences I had while in Madrid.
Churros y Chocolat for Breakfast
Although Spain is known for flavourful, delicious, tapas-style food, the breakfast scene is a bit different. Most locals eat breakfast on the run, saving their time/energy for long afternoon lunches and very late, very long dinners. However, if you do stop for breakfast, beyond the cafe con leche the en vogue treat of choice is a the calorific indulgence of churros and chocolate. The churros are essentially fried dough, sometimes with cinnamon and sugar. You dip them in hot chocolate sauce which maximises the calorific effect (and is most certainly a rich wake up call!). This is not a snack to be had every day, but when in Madrid…. 🙂
Best places to have churros y chocolat are Chocolateria de San Gines (Pasadizo De San Gines 5, near Metro Sol) – one of the most famous chocolaterias in Madrid, or Cafe Commercial (Glorieta de Bilbao 7, near Metro Bilbao), a classic but touristy old world cafe.
Picnic Lunch in Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro was my favourite part of Madrid; skip the lame Botanical Gardens and head here. It’s free and it’s expansive – hence while you’ll find locals running, walking, and biking here from early afternoon until well after dark. There’s tons of green space to sit down and relax, so after you’ve spent time exploring the grounds and the various great architecture, find a comfortable spot and have a picnic. Cafes with sandwiches can be found dotted throughout but why not stop into Corte Engles or another supermarket and grab wine, cheese, and other snacks to get you through the afternoon? Don’t forget the corkscrew!
Afternoon Shopping at Mercado de San Miguel
Located just between my hotel and the Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel was one of those moments where you stroll off the beaten path and find heaven. (A travel more moment if I do say so myself.) This place is AMAZING. The building is an old wrought iron building opened in 1915. I understand that it has underwent recent refurbishments, and the result is an old world building with a distinctively modern flavour. From fruit stalls to glorious pastries, chocolates, and a wine bar, I think a real foodie could just camp out here for an entire week. (I tried but they close.) Be sure to pop in and check it out, as it really is a hidden gem I think. Hungry architecture buffs – this one is for you.
Evening Drinks at La Venenecia
Tapas in La Latina
Late Night Wine
Madrid is a late-night party town, but likely you knew that already. You’ll have no shortage of places to go and hang out – in fact one could stay in La Latina and continue to live it up. I’d like to suggest heading over to Plaza Santa Ana to enjoy the fresh evening air and a few classes of wine (and suspect our resident expert Alex Fayle would suggest a glass of Rioja wine). Some of the area bars have live music while others are a bit quieter, so walk around and see what strikes you fancy.
And that, my friends, is a belly-filling tour of Madrid. Salud!
Special thanks to Janelle Norman, a Madrid local who I met during my trip and who provided endless foodie inspiration. Travel more, my friend, travel more. Salud!