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Madrid 2023


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We just returned from a lovely 2-week jaunt to Europe. Our final few nights were spent in Madrid. We went to both the Museo del Prado and the Reina Sofia, as we wanted/needed to (re)see certain works of art, and there were also a few specific exhibitions that made those choices a no-brainer. We also ate.


Since we were in Madrid for only 3 nights, we weren't about to just toss the dice on where to eat, so we took two recommendations from a good friend: La Buena Vida and Saddle. As we were staying in the Cheuca district (or is it called Justicia?), that meant we could walk both to and from our dinner reservations, perhaps even stopping off for a preprandial cocktail each night. Perhaps. 


As mentioned, on our way to dinner:




A stop off at Del Diego Cocktail Bar.




For a Martini and a Manhattan. Obligatory crisps and crackers, in this case. Then on to dinner.




Sig Eater started with the classic Iberian ham croquettes, while her partner wanted 'shrooms...




And got 'em. Our main courses don't appear on the menu above, as they were both specials. Chef came out to chat about what he was cooking, and that made the decision easier.




Fantastic red mullet served atop its bisque. This was great. 




As was my knockout wild duck dish, with some creamy potatoes.  I had asked chef about the broad beans on the menu, and he was nice enough to send out a small ramekin for us to taste - tasting straight out of Florence, meaning delicious.  Fine meal - lovely service...I think we ended with a couple of sherries, because I don't see dessert on our bill.  La Buena Vida.


On our way to dinner at Saddle the following night, it just so happens that Saddle is located across the street from the Ministerio del Interior, and some other important stuff on the block, as there were policia et al. everywhere, toting their machine guns. Which either makes you feel safe...or maybe not. But it also means there is generally a divey bar nearby, because those public servants don't make a lot of dough. At least, not legit dough...




I kid, I kid. But it works out just great for the two of us - we love the dive bars. On to Saddle (menu here).




Yes, we were an early res at 9 PM, but that's how it goes, after a light lunch and a couple of hours walking around in a museum, a nap, and hunger. The food here was great, and the service was...omnipresent.  From the Martini cart at the start (we demurred), to the bread, oil, and butter service:




Lotta butter. Olio. Great bread. Amuse me...




Re amuse - fantastic brodo.




Fabulous paté en croute...




Full portion, split tableside for us. It's great that Saddle also offers "1/2" portions on many of their dishes, which enabled us to try more. And more...




Boletus w/grilled, wild rabbit, whitefish and paprika crumbs "El Sequero." Holy shit, this was good.




Wood Pigeon Tortellini - Game consommé, chestnut infusion and wild eel. Also quite good. 


Those were the starters! For my main course...




Mont Royal Pigeon - Potato gnocchi and inside meatballs (inside here meaning the innards). Another fucking winner.


Here's where things got interesting. Significant Eater did not like her main...at all. From the first bite.  But...they noticed, came right over, and basically forced her to choose something else. She did, and was quite happy with the wild sea bass (which was on every menu around, from San Sebastian on down), done fairly simply. Kudos to the staff for that. 


Another tidbit..I spilled some wine drops onto our tablecloth...




They came over with dots to cover it up! Then this came...




And we'd almost had enough. But No - we didn't, so queso was consumed. Nice petit fours to send us on our way. Oh - one more interesting tidbit. Saddle was the first place, after two weeks in France and Spain, where my Cap One card would not go through. Sig Eater's Cap One card would not go through either. So they said let's go outside, maybe the connection will be better. It wasn't. But there were like 6 people there with us, watching the credit card transaction...I felt like Anna Sorokin. A different card was proffered, and off we stumbled into the night.


We had an early flight Saturday, and wanted to stay close. And eat early. That's easy, in Chueca,. Our apartment was directly above:




Which our airbnb host practically insisted we try. Scoff if you must, but...




The wings were fucking great. And on a Friday night, around 7:30 PM, they were turning people away. We'd reserved. As should you...https://celsoymanolo.es/

The Madrid portion of our trip was way too short; gotta do a week next time...this city is great.


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, EnriqueB said:

I’m from Madrid, and both places were excellent choices! Nice you liked them.


Thanks, @EnriqueB...we really like your city, and are looking forward to another visit.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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