Madrid is a cultural melting pot combining modern with age-old traditions. Whatever your craze, you’ll certainly never go bored trying new foods here which is why you must enjoy it all. Nothing cures an adventurous palate like a tasting tour of Madrid.
When visiting Madrid, choose restaurants and “tabernas” which are full of locals, that’s a guarantee of good food for the right price. Some personal recommendations include a selection of vegetal tapas, patatas bravas, Jamon Iberico (dried pork leg), pigs’ cheeks in wine. The Spanish cuisine also has some delicious seafood: pulpo (octopus) and gambas (shrimps) are among the best you’ll find in the entire Mediterranean area.
Don’t be afraid to taste the “huevos rotos” which are more than fried eggs. Probably with more calories than you’d like, they are a mix of eggs, topped with Jamon, all served on delicious French fries. A complete meal for more than breakfast. My recommendation for these is Les Huevos de Lucio, on Cava Baja, a street filled with fantastic eating places.
Wine & Sherry
Spain is famous for its wines and fortified wines, called sherry; an English word derived from the name of the city Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia, a western region near the ocean.
The reds are robust, tannic and expressive, usually aged for at least three years in oak barrels. The must-try include Rioja, Tinto de Toro, and Ribera del Duero.
The whites are light, fresh, citric, zesty, excellent companions for seafood or poultry. Be sure to try the Albarinho and Verdeho, the latter with very low alcohol and sometimes a bit sparkling.
If you want to taste something genuinely unique and Spanish head out to a sherry bar, we heartily recommend La Venencia (the name of the tool used to get the sherry out of the cask). Be prepared for a drink like no other. First, forget about the misconception that sherry is only sweet. The dry styles are excellent for food pairings, including olives, crackers, nuts, and more tapas. Try different styles to find your favorite.
Mercado de San Miguel
Located in the Centro district, you can find the famous Mercado de San Miguel, a culinary landmark for the Iberic culture. Take the opportunity and try some paella, local fish, but also overseas delights like sushi.
While you are here be sure to visit The Sherry Corner. This is a sort of small taste museum. They even have audio guides to take you on a trip with 6 glasses of sherry and 6 tapas of your choice from the entire market.
Mercado San Antonio
Located in the flamboyant and LGBTQ friendly neighborhood of Chueca, the
San Antonio marketplace has more local flavor. It is quite impressive, occupying three floors. At the ground floor, it is like a regular farmer’s market. You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and cheeses. The upper floors have stalls with local and international cuisine, while the top level also offers a terrace to enjoy a glass of wine or gin.
El Rastro- Sunday Market
A temporary marketplace, El Rastro springs to life every Sunday. You can find more than tasty food here. It’s not so much about the items you can buy as it is about the atmosphere. You only need a cup of coffee to enjoy the show. If you feel you want to practice your Spanish, you can haggle for a sweet nothing.
Even if it has nothing to do with food, Flamenc0 is so much part of Madrid’s culture that it would be unfair not to mention it as a local flavor and thing to do. Even if this sounds cheesy and you might think
If you’re trying to avoid the typical touristy things, don’t be afraid, this is an act of culture and a way to feel the real vibe of the people. The dance is performed as it was centuries ago and you can feel the vibrations fro the floor right in your heart.
I am already in love with Madrid, and every time I experience it, I grow fonder. This city always has new adventures and teases for the visitor. It is chic, vibrant, you can never get bored, but you can get a bit chubby if you insist on tasting every delicious meal you find in your way.
*Photo courtesy of Lashes of Lifestyle”