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robert brown

Madrid Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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Whenever I'm in Madrid I generally eat lunch at "Casa Botin" at least several times a week.

I alternate between the Lamb and Suckling Pig always asking about the days special side dishes such as Fresh Fava Beans baked in fresh Tomato Sauce.

There are generally some Tourist but most of the business is locals.

Taking into consideration that there are very few Restaurants anywhere that have continued in business for so many years.

Irwin :biggrin:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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What do you consider moderately priced? I'm asking that because if someone asks me about Fronton, and certainly Combarro, I wouldn't include them under that category. Not in the most expensive category, but neither in the "moderately priced".

Just trying to get a better sense of what you'd be looking for to make better recs.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Pedro, Thanks for responding. We are planning to splurge on Combarro (how expensive is it? Can you give us an estimate of dinner for two?) & are therefore searching for other good restaurants that are relatively inexpensive. The kind of place that has delicious food and is a relative "bargain" for the quality of the meal. For example, we loved Senyor Parillada in Barcelona. Have read great things on Chowhound.com about Asador Fronton. What is your opinion? How expensive will it be? Also, we are wondering about Botin. Is it a good restaurant, or just a tourist attraction? Appreciate any help you can give us. This is our first time in Madrid.

We are also going to be in Avila, Segovia, Pedraza, Toledo, at the Parador in Jaen (on the way to Granada), and Nerja. Would love recommendations for restaurants in any of these places. In Granada we were planning on having dinner at the Parador, but if you think there is a better recommendation, let us know. We are not interested in the latest trendiest places, just really good food at reasonable prices with a friendly welcoming atmosphere (which is almost always the case in Spain!). Thank you!

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Oh, also, any good recommendations for tapas places in Madrid? Thanks!

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Hi, I am new in the forum but happen to live in Madrid, so maybe I can try to help you.

Combarro will vary depending on what you order. If you ask for seafood, it can go up pretty high, 100 - 150 euros per person with everything: wine, dessert, etc. A normal meal with fish could be somewhere in the 50-60 range per person.

You can also have excellent seafood in a not so luxurious dining room at "La Trainera". A bit cheaper than Combarro and very recomendable. "Riantxo" has a very good lobster and potato stew.

I have discovered an excellent Basque Asador called "Pelotari". The hake (merluza) grilled on top of the charcoal with olive oil, garlic and hot pepper is just unbeatable. They only buy fresh fish that morning, so it is better to ask what fish they recomend that day. The meat is also excellent. If they have it, "almejas a la marinera" are superior.

For starters, "Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de bacalao" and pastel de puerros are two incredible dishes at incredibly cheap prices.

If you can convince them to give you a sample plate of desserts just for two you will not forget. Otherwise ask for "Panchineta".

Total bill for 2 with wine and a long drink will be around 100-120 for both.

A good option for tapas is the street of "La Cava Baja": Casa Lucas, and El Almendro are good places, but the street is full of restaurants. And Spanish people go there (also some tourists)

A good paella place could be Saint James, waiters not too friendly but the best "arroz abanda" in town.

I have been at Fronton recently and it disapointed me. Plate of meat with a pool of blood, the ham was cut with the fish knife---no comment.

In Segovia, if you visit "La Granja de San Ildefonso" a good option for homemade cooking is Casa Zaca. try the "Patatas a la importancia" or the cocido. Great rasberries for dessert.

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Thanks, Paco. Do you have an address for Pelotari? It sounds delicious. And thanks for the tip about Asador Fronton. Do you have an opinion on Casa Botin?

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Do you have an address for Pelotari?

Pelotari

Recoletos 3

28001 Madrid

91 578 24 97

91 431 60 04

information@asador-pelotari.com

a la carte meals ran about 32 to 42 euros last year

all that according to the 2003 Michelin Guide


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I know it's a somewhat of a tourist trap (a tourist trap with delicious food!), but in Segovia, I had an excellent meal at Mesón de Cándido. It's easy to find, as it nestles up against one the walls of the aqueduct.

The cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig), although a house specialty, was pretty good but no great (almost all suckling pig I had in Portugal was better). They make a big show of cutting it with the side of a plate to prove its tenderness.

The real star of the meal, and for me the one must-have dish here, was the dish judiones de la Granja con oreja y pie de cerdo--a truly wonderful stew of large white beans, pig's ears and feet, chorizo, paprika, garlic, etc.


My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Hi CFW,

I have never been at Casa Botin, but I have friends from Turkey that have gone there and liked it very much. I believe the restaurant is interesting, 2 or 3 levels and correct me if I am wrong, but it holds the guiness record for the oldest restaurant in the world. Decoration should be interesting. By the way, walking from Plaza Mayor towards Botin, if you pass it you will find "La Cava Baja", the street I mentioned with all the tapas and restaurants.

I strongly recommend to go to the Salamanca / Segovia area for "Cochinillo" (baby roasted pig). I have read from people who seem to know a lot, that the best place is in Salamanca, and it is called: Mesón Arandino (923217382). Juicy and incredible texture and taste.

I have tried the one in Jose Maria (tef: 921466017), in Segovia, and one day it was excellent, the other not so good. They do have a masification problem (too big a restaurant). Meson Candido is very famous since he was the pioneer of Cochinillo in Spain and all the politicians and Holywood actors went there.

Another incredible cochinillo I had in a town between Salamanca and Avila (1hr. 45 min drive from Madrid) called Arevalo. The restaurant has changed its name and now it is called "El Figon de Arevalo", tef: 920 30 18 76. For starters, the "Revuelto de Morcilla con piñones" (scrambled eggs with dark sausage and pine tree nuts, a bit spicy) was just incredible. One of the best desserts I have had ever in my life was a "Flan de Queso", or Cheese Custard. Please order it. The restaurant is not fancy, and the bill will not be more than 35 euros including everything.

I hope you find it useful,

Paco

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We are planning to splurge on Combarro (how expensive is it? Can you give us an estimate of dinner for two?)

Without going mad ordering seafood, sharing two starters (some langoustines, octopus, scallops, shrimps), two entrées of fish (excellent turbot), dessert, wine and coffee, the last two times I've been there the bill was somewhere between 150-170€ for two persons.

Have read great things on Chowhound.com about Asador  Fronton.  What is your opinion?  How expensive will it be?

I was there a year ago or so, and it didn't particularly impressed me, but with steaks you know it's specially hard to draw conclusions from a single meal since they're totally dependent on the product.

I'd say there's a consensus that the best place for steaks in Madrid is Julián de Tolosa.

My take on prices would be something around 120-140€ for two persons, wine included.

Also, we are wondering about Botin. Is it a good restaurant, or just a tourist attraction?  Appreciate any help you can give us.  This is our first time in Madrid.

I've got to confess that I've a prejudice against Botín. I've never found a compelling reason to visit it.

We are also going to be in Avila, Segovia, Pedraza, Toledo, at the Parador in Jaen (on the way to Granada), and Nerja.

In Segovia, you have to have the suckling pig in José María. Probably you'll manage to get a wonderful meal there by less than 100€ for two people.

Would love recommendations for restaurants in any of these places. In Granada we were planning on having dinner at the Parador, but if you think there is a better recommendation, let us know.

Generally speaking, I don't think that Parador's cuisine is at the level it should be, being somewhat disappointing.

Tapas

The recommendations that gave you Paco are good. Let me add some wine bars with good tapas, perhaps in less frequented areas:

Asturianos, Entrevinos, Taberneros, Cuenllas Wine Bar.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I was just in Madrid for the first time this summer, so my experience is quite limited, but I wasn't crazy about Botin. Not bad, but nothing special. The (very positive) surprise for me was another very tourist oriented place called Cafe Gijon (an artists'/intellectuals' hang-out many decades ago). They served me the best leg of lamb (whole leg of a very small lamb) I've ever had. Prices were similar to Botin.


Andrew Riggsby

ariggsby@mail.utexas.edu

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A question for Pedro or Paco (or indeed anyone acquainted with this place)....

A Spanish conductor I recently worked with recommended Casa Paco (in Puerta Cerrada, near the Plaza Mayor) in the highest terms (particularly the solomillo).

Of course, I trust him, but I'm curious....any experiences?


My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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No, no direct experience there. But it looks it has a reputation for its traditional castillian dishes and red meat.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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We had a lovely "Flan de Queso" in a small tasca recommeded to us. It was quite light and a wonderful foil to a glass of Toro Albalá Don PX 2001. If memory serves, maybe it was two glasses. I had never experienced flan de queso before. Is this a common variation in the more traditional flan and does anyone know how long it's been around? We had a flan de queso in San Juan, Puerto Rico recently at a fish restaurant run by an ex-torero from Spain. It was dreadfully gummy and far too sweet. I was disappointed after the one in Madrid.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Pedro, Thanks for the helpful info. I guess I had not realized how expensive Combarro would be. Do you have any recommendations for other restaurants for seafood in the 80 to 100 Euro range for two? La Trainera? Also any recommendations for restaurants (not fancy, but good food) under 60 Euros for two?

I agree that generally the Parador restaurants are mediocre, but I thought perhaps the one in Granada would be better. Guess not. Do you have any alternative suggestions for dinner in Granada?

Does anyone have any suggestions for Pedraza de la Sierra? Nerja? Avila? We are planning on Jose Maria in Segovia.

arrigsby, I remember having a wonderful meal including the best merluza I have ever had at Cafe Gijon about 30 years ago. I assumed that over the years it had become warn & tired, so I was delighted to hear that you enjoyed it. What do others think? I'm almost afraid to go back for fear it will spoil my old memory...

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Hi CFW,

I have never been at Casa Botin, but I have friends from Turkey that have gone there and liked it very much. I believe

I strongly recommend to go to the Salamanca / Segovia area for "Cochinillo" (baby roasted pig.

Paco,

How can you trust the opinion of friends from TURKEY on Spanish cuisine?

This said, the cochinillo roasted suckling pig at Coques, in Humanes, closer to Madrid than Segovia, was not bad really. At least the best I have tried. JoseMaria in Segovia is on my radar screen.

One truth is that, Casa Botin or what not in Madrid, the ingredients/raw materials are so much superior in Spain than the States so that you will think you are in heaven and then hear from Spanish that there are better places in the same category. There is no contradiction.

One can spend less than 200 Euros at Combarro but, for those of us who do not live in Madrid, it makes sense to order Galician scallops, camarones, female cigalas, blue lobster, and turbot. Really splurge and with a very fine bottle of Albarinho and some digestives, spend 300 Euro for 2. The price of a one star in France, much cheaper than New York temples and much much better in quality and value.

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I've been so impressed by roast suckling pig so often at places that seem exceedingly unspecial, that I wonder if I can appreciate the best. What vmilor says about the raw materials here is so true. A good Albariño shouldn't be much of a splurge either. Almost all I've had seemed bargain priced. I don't think I've ever had a bad one. The only one I didn't care much for spent too much time in the barrel and was not a cheap one.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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any recommendations for restaurants (not fancy, but good food) under 60 Euros for two?

In madrid: Asturianos, Paulino (Both locations), El quinto vino, Entrevinos, El ventorrillo Murciano (Great rices), Montepríncipe, La taberna de Bilbao, Viuda de vacas, La tasca suprema...

any alternative suggestions for dinner in Granada?

Even if the restaurant scene in Granada is very poor, but not the tapas, Chiquito or Mariquilla are a good option for dinner.

suggestions for Pedraza de la Sierra? Avila?

Pedraza: El Yantar de Pedraza for suckling pig; and Codex Calistinus in Cañicosa (4Km away) for modern food in the Berasategui way

Avila: El Almacén for innovativa food with great views, and Hostería de Bracamonte for roasted lamb.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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I would have to agree with Pedro on everything he said, and yes, Julian de Tolosa is probably the best place for meat.

Regarding Granada, I was there 1 year ago and was dissapointed with the restaurants. I went to El Mirador de Moraima, on a hill in front of the Alhambra with a private balcony to stare at the monument lit at night, and that was about the best thing of the place, the food barely got a 5/10, but the price was not expensive at all.

My experience with the flan de queso in Arevalo town in the restaurant "El Figon de Arevalo"... I still cry remembering it.

I have never had an expensive dinner in NY, only medium price, so I find it very interesting and flattering that Americans appreciate Spanish products and cooking.

I have tried lobster in Boston and Maine, or fried scallops, and I have to say the quantity was enormous but it was missing taste, so I guess spensing 300 euros in Combarro but having a feast makes sense once in a while.

One of the best "Merluza a la Gallega" in Madrid is in "Casa d'a Troya", c/Emiliano Barral 14 (91) 416 44 55. It is a huge center piece of hake ina red semi-paprika-oily sauce with boiled potatos. Family run restaurant, good "empanadillas" for starters, 1 Campsa Guide sun and a good meal for 2 for 100 euros with everything.

Vmilor,

I wasn´t recomending Casa Botin since I´ve never eaten there, and my Turkish friends are not gastronomically ignorant. I was just trying to say that from a tourist´s point of view it "might" be an interesting place to visit, maybe not even have dinner. I have to agree with you on Coque, in Humanes.

I agree with Bux on the wonderfulness of apparently unspecial restaurants in Spain, specially the ones serving roasted suckling pig.

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Ernesto is one of the best, if not the best fish and seafood stores in Madrid. It is inside the Mercado de Chamartin, but it´s not cheap. You can see many japanese restaurant owners buying fresh fish there and the lineups can keep you waiting for 15 or 20 min (you pick the number and shop elsewhere).

I also heard Las Ventas market is big, good and cheap.

Lavapies is rapidly changing, and it has its share of conflict too, specially with some young gangs of mainly morrocan teenage outfits. I hope you enjoy it.

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so I guess spensing 300 euros in Combarro but having a feast makes sense once in a while.

One of the best "Merluza a la Gallega" in Madrid is in "Casa d'a Troya", c/Emiliano Barral 14 (91) 416 44 55. It is a huge center piece of hake ina red semi-paprika-oily sauce with boiled potatos. Family run restaurant, good "empanadillas" for starters, 1 Campsa Guide sun and a good meal for 2 for 100 euros with everything.

Vmilor,

I wasn´t recomending Casa Botin since I´ve never eaten there, and my Turkish friends are not gastronomically ignorant. I was just trying to say that from a tourist´s point of view it "might" be an interesting place to visit, maybe not even have dinner. I have to agree with you on Coque, in Humanes.

I agree with Bux on the wonderfulness of apparently unspecial restaurants in Spain, specially the ones serving roasted suckling pig.

I was just kidding as I am Turkish. We are so similar in many ways and --except for the Muslim prohibition on pork I do not follow--Spain is like a second country to me in terms of operating on similar wavelenghts. Childhood experiences and what you have been exposed to do matter.

And I understand you very well when, acting with noble intentions, you want to spare people spending 300 euros for two when they can get away with less for almost the same quality--maybe in a more casual surrounding. It is a matter of perspective and comparison. Tourists spend 1200 for two at Veyrat and worship the place head over hill. If you look at the quality of what they ate it will be pedestrian fish(say lake trout), truffle foam(not a full one), jerusalem artichoke, one single cigalas artistically presented, etc. So when Combarro makes me sit in an exquisite room with 4 tables, offers outstanding service, and brings some of the most rare and flavorful fish and shellfish present on earth, I do not think prices are exaggerated. You know, in New York, a middling restaurant will easily cost north of $ 200 for two and very average places in the States mimicking 'HAUTE CUISINE" will cost at least $400 for two. It is like a universal hierarchical order where we apply different standards to the States and French for reasons that are more cultural and historical than rational. But this is a long discussion.

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Wmilor,

Thanks for the clarification. I never thought that dining in the US was so expensive, so you are right about Combarro. Galician seafood is outstanding. Have you ever tried the private dining rooms at Combarro? I know there are some in the location of Jose Ortega y Gasset. The service is very good and the dining room we ate was simply beautiful.

Has anyone tried La Trainera or Riantxo?

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Has anyone tried La Trainera or Riantxo?

I used to go quite often to Rianxo 10 or 15 years ago (It was a favourite of my father) but the last times I have been there (2-3 year now) it seemed that the seafod had lost quality, and also the prices had turned stratospheric.

It is also an uncomfortable place, always full with businessmen trying to impress their clients.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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I live in New YorkCity area, have eaten in excellent restauraurants all over the U.S., and have rarely paid over $100 for a meal for two, without including the wine in the price. Wine in U.S. restaurants is ridiculously over-priced, so the price of the meal can certainly add up, depending on the wine you choose. I agree that restaurants in France and Spain are much better - the quality of the products is simply more flavorful. But, restaurants in France are MUCH more expensive than in the U.S. and from your descriptions, Madrid is also more expensive.

SO, I would love to go to Combarro, but am afraid it is out of our price range. Are there other less expensive retaurants you would recommend for good seafood (we love langostines) in Madrid?

What about La Trainera? Pescador?

Also, what are your opinions about Casa Paco that Eric Malson mentioned? I had also heard it was good.

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Are there other less expensive retaurants you would recommend for good seafood (we love langostines) in Madrid?

Go for Casa da Troya then (There is a review from Nick Lander below), it is the best galician restaurant in Madrid and apart from the fishes they have great seafood, always depending on the market. The hake and skate are superb. And you will be around 50-60 € with a moderate wine.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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