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robert brown

Madrid Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

217 posts in this topic

Ooooh... I live for places like this! Drooooool....

Then you should check out La Venencia, address: Echegaray, 7. It's an old sherry bar that's been around for something like 98 years. Looks like it hasn't been painted since it opened. The walls have a great patina from all that smoke over the years! Fun place for a quick drink.

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Ambience and schtick aside, I have to say that I find the wine at La Casa del Abuelo to be inexcusably foul (especially given the plethora of great wine by the glass in Madrid).

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Ambience and schtick aside, I have to say that I find the wine at La Casa del Abuelo to be inexcusably foul (especially given the plethora of great wine by the glass in Madrid).

I agree with you, that sweet wine sucks.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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Ambience and schtick aside, I have to say that I find the wine at La Casa del Abuelo to be inexcusably foul (especially given the plethora of great wine by the glass in Madrid).

I agree with you, that sweet wine sucks.

Good to know, thanks for the warning, wine, as you can imagine from my Username, is important to me. Heck, this is a wine buying trip!

I leave tonight and will report back with pics on my blog and reviews both here and on my blog.

Cheers and muchas gracias! :cool:

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Madrid was fantastic, had some great meals and some nice wines. I will post a full report with pics soon but I wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted advice on where (and where not) to visit.

Cheers! :cool:

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Just the slightest correction: calling grenache a "more international variety" is stretching it a bit. Garnacha is of course a native Spanish grape variety (one of the main three red ones here), and the largest grenache surface of grenache vineyards anywhere in the world is in Spain. Of course, grenache was adopted a long time ago by the French and (as cannonau) the Italians, and later by many others, but it remains a quintessential Spanish variety - and the dominant one in Vinos de Madrid.


Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Just the slightest correction: calling grenache a "more international variety" is stretching it a bit. Garnacha is of course a native Spanish grape variety (one of the main three red ones here), and the largest grenache surface of grenache vineyards anywhere in the world is in Spain. Of course, grenache was adopted a long time ago by the French and (as cannonau) the Italians, and later by many others, but it remains a quintessential Spanish variety - and the dominant one in Vinos de Madrid.

Really? I didn't know it originated in Spain. My bad, I always thought it came from the South of France (I am of course biased in that direction, as you can imagine... :wink: ).

Cheers! :cool:

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Of the old classic tapas places, those that do just a couple of things and do them very well, don't miss La Casa del Abuelo (not far from Puerta del Sol). It is an old bar (in 2006 they celebrated their 100 year anniversary), traditional, with wine stored in wooden barrels and almost no where to sit. The specialty: gambas al ajillo, shrimp cooked in a small clay dish with olive oil, garlic, and a chili. To drink: small glasses of the sweet house red wine. You dip bread in the bread into the burning oil and spear out the shrimp with tiny forks. The shells, the napkins, everything is tossed to the floor. It's hard not to gorge yourself on these… but move on! The city is full of such tapas places.

La Casa del Abuelo

C./ de la Victoria, 12

We also went there when we were in Madrid. The wine was, well, different -- but the shrimp were great. Our photos are here:

http://www.kitchenchick.com/2007/08/la-casa-del-abu.html

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I've booked a couple of nights in Madrid at the end of January, staying very centrally (nearest metro Atocha) and planning to wander round the galleries and do a little light shopping during the days. My query is this - where, as a woman on my own, should I try eating in the evenings? I love food at all levels - so I'd quite like something at the higher end one night - or would I be better going somewhere like that for lunch? And more casual the other night. I do love tapas, but I'm not terribly comfortable with tapas bars on my own - perhaps I should be more adventurous? I'd love to try cocido - any recommendations?

Helen

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In the area where you're staying you can try Viridiana and Europa Decó, and both are fine for dining alone.

Reserve the lunch times for cocido: Taberna de Buenaventura and la daniela are two nice options.

Eating tapas alone is not the best way to taste them, but you can try to head yourself to Cava Baja St and do some convivial at any bar with the other patrons around.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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Eating alone in the tapas bars is a bit intimidating, I must admit. I brought along a magazine and some work and would read while eating/drinking whenever I was at a bar with seats. In the end, I found if I just barged my way into tapas bars and began ordering small dishes on my own I was fine. I found a very friendly tapas bar near where you are staying, but the name escapes me, sorry. I just remember it was something "Gonzalez".

My report is here: www.vinotas.blogspot.com

BTW, you are close to Bar Venencia, the oldest Sherry bar in Madrid, on Calle Echegaray. Stop in early and get a glass with some almonds or Jamon, it's delicious.

Cheers! :cool:

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We also went there when we were in Madrid.  The wine was, well, different -- but the shrimp were great. 

Just saw that you made it to La Casa del Abuelo. Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for the update.

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Quick note from a 5 day visit (may expand later, may not).

Based on recommendations on this thread or another, we visited Gloria de Montera. A local businessman told us that it was good, but its sister restaurant Finca de Susana was better.

No reservations in either. You queue up outside like everybody else, get given a time and eat. We had a half hour wait so went snacking at the sushi belt next door (it's pink). In many ways the sushi was much better.

GdM is cheap, I guess, but the food is salty. They charge a euro for bread that wouldn't be out of place in a school canteen. The crab and avocado salad with red berries sauce was tasty if somewhat filling. The kebabs in Pedro Ximenez were too sweet (well I guess that's the point of using PX). The desert was a typical Spanish sponge/cream square with rasberry sauce. I liked the sauce, not so much the cake (mainly because it was served every day, break, lunch etc. at the conference I was attending). Price was fair - maybe 15-20 euros per person? We didn't have wine, but the wine was (for this London soul) extremely good value! Bottles between 5-20 euros, and considering it's not Britain, they might have tasted decent.

Overall, disappointing though. I expected "amazing" and I got an average meal even if good value. The bread was definitely a let down.

The Spanish guy did say FdS was better, so we went there for lunch the next day. Again, 20 min wait (for lunch!). The food was better, although nowhere near "worth the detour" (although considering we were next door, it wasn't much of a detour). We were recommended the "rice with the ink, good but it make your mouth black!" There were 2 pieces of squid the size of a finger, the rest was paella rice with ink. Tasty, but I could have made it myself at 1/10th of the price. I guess it's rare to see a restaurant that serves simple, decent food these days. But in the capital of a country renowned for (some of) its food, it was disappointing to see the "most popular" restaurants were not that brilliant. Furthermore, we waited longer for our bill at FdS than we spent eating 3 courses. Don't have the dessert with the kiwi and chocolate sauce and ice cream (Timbaon's? one of the XXX's dessert), it's revolting.

Three days before, we had lunch in a place called "Ginger" next to a big 5* hotel. That was what FdS and GdM were trying to be. Simple, clean, fresh, tasty. Lunch was 9 euros for 3 courses, with wine or a half litre of mineral water, and free bread. Although the coffee was terrible (I miss Portugal!)

Finally, our hotel was 2m from Casa del Abuelo. Based on this thread, we decided to go visit, but charging 9 euros for a bunch of prawns deep fried in oil, no matter how fresh the prawns and tasty the garlic, is theft, especially considering Ginger was 100m away and served you a filling three course lunch with wine for that amount. Maybe the prawns were exceptional - I'll never know. There's also Casa del AbuelA, 10m away, with same prices and same menu, but distinctly less friendly atmosphere.

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Also, if you are planning on organising a conference there, do NOT use Florida Park for your gala dinner.

The food is atrocious. I have had better food in my College's Buttery (Clare) which is the standard by which we cantabs judge bad food. There was a (not so great) flamenco show to justify the 100 euros price tag per person (!) but I felt the canapes were distincly more satisfying than the actual meal.

Just a warning for those of you who may be tempted by the history and the surroundings...


Edited by Roger le goéland (log)

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