Madrid | Top Food & Drank
Here are some of our favorite spots during our visit to Madrid, Spain:
Bakery and coffee shop - $
Calle Mayor, 2, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Anybody got any gwapes?
To preface this, Ewa has the sweet tooth in this relationship. I rarely ever consume anything sugary, and when I do, I usually just take one or two bites. That being said, when we got to La Mallorquina, I wanted to order the whole damn shop. Everything in here looked so fresh and the presentation was immaculate. Half of the shop is a bakery, with all of their goods exhibited in brightly lit display cases. The other half is a retail shop where you can purchase product on the go. We hit up the bakery end and I settled on a few bakeries (including a dish of flan) and an espresso.
When you dine-in at La Mallorquina, they serve you directly at the counter. You are expected to eat your confections and drank yo drank quickly then move on. I was totally on board with that. I don't know what it was -- maybe the summer heat, all of the walking around or the fact that I was stuck carrying both mine AND Ewa's luggage; but I had a serious craving for sugar. After we finished the first round, I ended up ordering a few more pieces to devour before I was content. Everything was rich, but you didn't get the overwhelming sweetness like that of most American pastries. Everything was all the more enjoyable with the bustling, jovial atmosphere in the shop. Anyways, safe to say that I am a #LaMallorquina #PastryAllStar now.
Sherry bar - $
Calle Echegaray, 7, 28014 Madrid, Spain
No photo here because we respect the No Photo policy
We discovered this gem while taking a stroll after our visit to Parque del Buen Retiro. Tucked away on an un-suspecting street, La Venencia drew us in with its energy. It was relatively early on in the night (around 8p) but the place was already springing to life. When we walked in, the bar staff was very friendly and asked us if we wanted a seat in the back. However, it looked way more fun to sit directly at the bar, so we went with that option.
There are only a few items on the menu -- their simple selection of in-house Sherry and a rotating list of snacks and tapas. The sherry itself came in 5 varieties, which we ordered a glass of each. They range from dark and full-bodied to lighter and sweeter. We liked them all. We ordered a bit of each tapas dish they offered, including fresh olives, bread, cheese and cured fish. We liked them all. They don't allow photography while you're in the spot, so we put the phones down and interacted with the people around us.
The interior itself looks like it hasn't changed a day in it's 70-year-plus lifespan. You could feel the history radiating from everything in here. As for the experience, the small touches — such as how the bar staff records your entire order directly onto the bar surface with a piece of chalk — will leave quite an impression. La Venencia isn't pretentious at all about this dope vibe; it's totally effortless and natural. If we lived in Madrid, we would definitely become regulars (and degenerates from drinking sherry and eating tapas all day) at this establishment.
After way too many pours and 100 or so olives, we stumbled out into the night...
Swanky cocktail bar - $$$
Calle Echegaray, 21, 28014 Madrid, Spain
No salmon in them, nor were they served by a guru; but damn fine cocktails nonetheless
...right into Salmon Guru. This spot — a sophisticated joint to get your cocktail hooked up right — is right down the block from La Venencia. When we got in, there were maybe 10 people in there. This proved to be a good thing.
We picked up the vibe that this is the kind of place that you took your time at. You might have 2 or 3 drinks over the course of a night there. We were seated at a big table in the middle of the main room. The decor was a unique blend of early 19th century swank mixed with 80s retro culture. It's hard to describe the literary-haunt-dripped-out-in-neon-lights swag; so just take a look at Google Images here.
We had like 3 drinks each, which I can't remember what they were (see: several glasses of sherry at La Venencia). They were all very distinct in flavor and very easy to drink. Our waitress dropped a bowl of fresh chicharrón before our first round arrived. By the time we paid our bill, she had refilled it 4 times. Them shits were so fire that I couldn't stop eating them. Shout out to the Salmon Guru chicharrón.
Before we knew it, it was already midnight. We popped out into the cool night air and headed back to the crib to sleep a great night off.
Mercado San Miguel
Market with multiple vendor stands - $-$$
Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spain
We went to Mercado San Miguel on the last day of our trip. The location couldn't have been better — it's just one block away from Plaza Mayor, the central square of Madrid.
The venue is not so much a true market, as it is a collective of vendor booths. Each booth is represented by a different Tapas purveyor. This bustling destination is dope due to the variety of options available. In one trip you could sample fresh seafood, seared steak, paella, a fresh glass of vermouth, dessert cakes and much more.
We went on a Thursday afternoon and the the place was packed. To me, it looked like the majority of the crowd was tourists (which we usually like to avoid), but the market had a great energy to it. Everyone was excited to sample as much as possible.
If you end up going to Mercado, make sure to bring an appetite. You'll want to hit up at least 4 or 5 stops before leaving. The smart decision is to order a small dish from each booth, so you don't ass out too early. Oh, and make sure you get 2 glasses of vermouth (one red, one white) to double fist as you bounce from spot to spot. This will make it hard to navigate through the crowd, but hey, at least you'll have 2 glasses of vermouth.
Chocolateria San Gines
Churros and chocolate - $
Pasadizo de San Gines, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Mah lil honey dip, dipping her snack in da choco
Here's another place that challenged my aversion to sweets. When we got to CSG, there was a fairly long line. To our surprise, it moved with incredible quickness and efficiency (something that we hadn't encountered on our Euro trip thus far). In no time, we were up at the counter, ordering 5 churros and a cup of chocolate to dip. I'm sure that there were other things on the menu, but why would you order any of them?
When you come to CSG, make sure to grab a seat outside so that you can take in the street life while snackin down. When we sat down at our table, there was a guy going from table to table selling his wares. When he finally touched down at our spot, he started demo-ing his product. His entire repertoire consisted of fruit-shaped wooden cut-outs that opened up into larger fruit bowls. Every time we rejected one fruit, he'd demo another. After we shot down 4 fruits, he finally got the hint and moved on to the next table. They were pretty cool, but we just didn't need em.
Anyways, the churros were perfectly crisp. I could tell that they were expertly made because they didn't soak up much oil during the cooking process. And the chocolate dip. Oh man, that damn chocolate dip. There was a bit of milk in it (to help liquefy), but you could tell that this was some high cacao shit. None of that BS Hershey's imposter shit. I was impressed. Ewa, on other the hand, was sawty... because I ate 4 out of the 5 churros. Oh well, she should have eaten faster. Two thumbs up for Chocolateria San Gines.