Thursday, 2 October 2014

Oh food, glorious food! - Madrid

Council chambers in Madrid.

Hey everyone!

Here’s the second part of my short trip to Madrid.
Today’s post will be all about the food – the good, the great, and the awesome! (I’m not going to waste my breath, or in this case finger energy, on the bad.) 


Toma Café (find them here)

Okay, so technically we only went out for breakfast one morning, as there was a delicious buffet at the hotel available to us. I literally just googled “best coffee in Madrid” (the important stuff, ya know?), and most results pointed me in the direction of this cute little independent coffee shop. Lucky for us, it happened to be about 10 minutes walk from our hotel – it was just meant to be!

Bicycle-themed cafés seem to be very trendy at the moment – can anyone tell me why? I’m still trying to work it out.. They’re super cool though! The coffee was absolutely fantastic – by far the best I had in Spain in my whole time there. It tasted more like coffee should taste, rather than burnt liquid that vaguely resembles coffee (sorry Spain, you really need to pick up your coffee game).

Delicious granola with fresh apple and berry compote.
Tostada with olive oil, tomato and rock salt.
They had a fairly simple choice of breakfasts, one of which was granola, berry compote and yoghurt. The other option was a tostada, which is a very common Spanish breakfast, consisting of a toasted piece of bread with a choice of a few different toppings – either olive oil, tomato, cheese, jamón or a combination.
Overall, I’d most definitely recommend this cute place for a simple breakfast and great coffee. In saying that, I’d be prepared for a wee wait -  while we were sitting there, a queue formed almost out the door for coffee!


Bodega de la Ardosa (check these guys out here)

Consulting trusty Mr. Google once again, we found a fantastic, authentic tapas bar a few hundred metres off Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s main streets. Originally, we went here for their reputation for salmorejo (a cold tomato, bread, garlic and olive oil purée – similar to a soup and only MY FAVOURITE THING IN THE WORLD). It was good, but we actually found better (in our opinion) in the following lunch place I will write about.

It was still a great salmorejo here, but the Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish omelette with potatoes) definitely outshone it. They even had some sort of official looking certificate for their Tortilla de Patatas, and I then understood why! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Madrid.

El Azul de Fúcar (these guys don’t have a website but you can see their Yelp reviews here)

We discovered this adorable little café on our first day but only ate here for lunch on our last day and boy, was it worth the wait! The décor was super friendly and cute, the staff were attentive and the food was scrumptious! They have a very vegetarian-friendly menu, but also options for those meat lovers amongst us.

Marinated chicken salad.
Spinach salad.
Salmorejo round 2.
For lunch, we chose salmorejo, a marinated chicken salad and a spinach salad. The salmorejo was, to our surprise, out of this world! The salads were fantastic too – I’d have to say the spinach one really stood out for me. It consisted of fresh baby spinach leaves, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, walnuts and a subtly tangy dressing. The marinated chicken salad was pretty good too, containing some interesting ingredients such as apple and sesame.

Another foodie spot I have to recommend if you’re ever in Madrid – it was everything you could possibly want from a casual dining experience.


Calle 30 (you can find them here)

We came here not really knowing what to expect, but the outcome was really quite great. The waitress was very helpful and spoke good English, the portion sizes were humongous and the décor in the restaurant speaks for itself.

The menus were in an envelope like letters!
Chicken deliciousness.
HUGE steak. For two very hungry people, but I think more comfortably three.
The only slight downfall I felt was the lack of people (resulting in lack of atmosphere) in the restaurant. I guess it wasn’t a Friday or Saturday night but there were only 2 other groups of diners the whole time we were there, with another group arriving right as we left. A bit of funky music could’ve helped pick the place up too!

In saying all of that, it was a fantastic meal that left us full and satisfied. Another big thumbs up from Ellora!

A definite mention must also go to Aió, a bar/restaurant that we dined at on our last night. I didn’t take my camera with me that night so I have no photos but you can see their Trip Advisor reviews here - well worth it if you’re in the mood for some Italian style food and specialty Aperol drinks!

Snacks, drinks and coffee

Maricastaña (Facebook page here)

Ahhhh, the ever-important category of in between meals… The little hunger pang you feel when it’s been a few hours since lunch, the pick-me-up coffee you need in the late morning or the nightcap drink you’d rather not go without. Vital stuff.
This place was a random discovery while walking back into the centre of Madrid from the aforementioned Bodega de la Ardosa. Honestly though, when you walk past something that looks this cool, how could you possibly resist going in and having a look?!

The awesome decorated basement seating.
To be honest, it was the vibe and décor of this place that was really the highlight for me. The coffee wasn’t bad, but it was nothing really out of the ordinary for Spain. It was, however, full of people which gave it such a cool, fun atmosphere. Some were having meetings, some working alone on laptops, some reading and some with friends. Every little detail, from funky turquoise stools that matched the paint to candles in the bathrooms, was thought of. I was totally in love with the place, and would most definitely return.

La Bicicleta Cycling Café & Workplace (find them here)

Another bicycle themed café, what’d I tell you! We came to this place after dinner one night, in search of a cool place to have a drink before heading back to the hotel.

Can I just say that this café, the café I mentioned previously and Aió are all on the same street (Corredera Baja de San Pablo), with Calle 30 and Bodega de la Ardosa being super close by also. I think you could literally pick any place along this street and you’re guaranteed a good time – it has a very fresh, young, hipster-ish vibe to it.

Mojito lovin'.
This particular place seemed to be frequented by a younger crowd, but it was still friendly enough for anyone to go in and enjoy it. They offered a wide range of drinks and some basic food, plus there was a cute as waiter so double points for that! ;)

Mercado de San Miguel (info here)

Mercado de San Miguel from the outside.
This place was another we just sort of happened to stumble upon and I’m so glad we did! Mercado de San Miguel is a culinary heaven, where you can find almost every food you’d ever want or need! There were also a few stalls promoting non-foodie products, such as a beauty salt scrub thing which was really interesting.

Enthusiastically trying some sea salt beauty products.
Yoghurt bar <3 <3 <3
Whether you’re just after a quick bite or more of a meal, you have so many different stalls to pick from. There was everything from chocolate, to cocktails, to oysters, to cheeses, to fruits… (The list could go on for a loooong time).

Mozzarella, green pesto, sun-dried tomato and salami scroll.
Salmon and cream cheese stack.
Incredible fruit infused mojitos.
I think this would be a great place to come if you only have a short time in Madrid, as you are pulled into this whirlwind of so many different types of foods in one place – you really get a good overview of Spanish food, as well as lots of other cultures! Hmm, now I’m craving those delicious mozzarella rolls again…

Well, that brings us to the end of my super long food post (sorry, didn’t really intend it to be this long but hey, that’s what you get)! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and I strongly recommend you jump at any opportunity to go to Madrid and try some (or all) of these places!

Thanks for reading and talk soon,

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