El Sabor de Madrid (the taste of Madrid) is all about food, specifically tapas. As we traveled through the city, on foot, we discovered restaurants and kiosks serving some of the most incredible edibles that would satisfy any Foodie. Whether we ate at our hotel, the Westin Palace Madrid, the Mercado de San Miguel, the world-renowned Chocolateria San Gines, La Taperia or La Pacera … Madrid’s food was savory, cheap and left us wanting more. Not only is it a mecca for exquisite food, Madrid is a hub of art, architecture and culture.
Before we get into our experience in Madrid, I have to mention that the Westin Palace Madrid (Starwood Property, pictured below) is centrally located in the “Triangle of Art.” It’s across the street from the Prado Museum, close to Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums. Additionally, the Buen Retiro Park and San Jeronimo El Real church is just a two minute walk from the hotel.
How did we get to Madrid?
We flew to Madrid, in Business Class, on Lufthansa Airlines. We hung out in the business class lounge during our short layover in Frankfurt. If you take advantage of the business class lounge, it is a great place to snack, catch up on work, and rest in a quiet place away from the usual airport crowd. The business class seats were flat bed (180 degrees) with ample room to stretch. They were also slightly firm, which eased any sort of back pain. The seat’s massage function helped with blood circulation, allowing us to relax through the duration of the flight. We were given Samsonite amenity bags, free drinks, plenty of food, access to movies (new releases) television shows and music in multiple languages. For additional comfort, we were each given a soft quilt and pillow. Overall, Lufthansa business class seats were optimal for long haul travel.
Our initial plans were to wander around Madrid and discover the city on our own. As we walked into our hotel to check-in, we were greeted by the friendly hotel receptionist, Francesco. He enthusiastically gave us a list of his favorite local musts, which helped us fully experience Madrid as if we lived there too. He not only highlighted his favorites on a map, but also the sites to see. It’s safe to say, Francesco made our time in Madrid memorable.
Mercado de San Miguel (San Miguel Market)
The first place on Francesco’s list for food was Mercado de San Miguel (San Miguel Market). San Miguel Market is about a 15 minute walk towards Plaza De Mayor. The plaza is a great place for photos, but around the corner, outside of the plaza, is the market.
The San Miguel Market (located in the center of Madrid) is known as a gourmet tapas market. We quickly understood why locals and tourists gather here to eat, drink and hang out. When we first saw the glass building, we thought it was a fancy grocery store. However, once inside, you quickly notice an amalgam of savory tapas. Whether you were in the mood for individual crab cakes, fresh seafood, croquettes, warm roasted nuts, candies, mixed drinks, pizza, or slices of sweet fruit, this little market has it all! Price of food ranges from two Euros for tapas to six Euros for a handcrafted cocktail, making this market affordable and worth the trip.
Museo de Jamón
Calle de Atocha, 54, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Ranked #3 on Trip Advisors “things to do” in Madrid, we too recommend eating at Museo de Jamón. Literally translated as “Museum of Ham”, this venue is great for a stand-up breakfast and a side of freshly squeezed orange juice. However, if you are in the mood for a plate of charcuterie, tapas, ham and melon, or simply a cold beer, they have it. Museo de Jamon serves food all hours of the day. Although it gets very busy here, the short wait is worth it.
La Pecera del Circulo de Bellas Artes
Calle de Alcalá, 42, 28028 Madrid, Spain-
Rather than a typical basket of bread or tortilla chips, La Pecera serves salty potato chips before your meal. Chips paired with a nice, cold glass of sparkling lemonade on a hot day was the perfect way to quench that salty/sweet craving. When it comes to options, La Pacera is constantly changing their entree selections, so try everything because it may not be on the menu again.
Check out their tapas menu. http://www.lapeceradelcirculo.com/gastronomia/carta-de-tapas-y-cocteles-verano-2016/
Chocolateria San Gines
Pasadizo San Ginés, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
For the best and most famous dessert in Madrid, visit the Chocolateria San Gines for their coffee, churros and chocolate. Established in 1894, this venue has been visited by former presidents, celebrities and fellow globetrotters, so we had to see what the hype was all about. The churros in Madrid are not coated with cinnamon and sugar like the churro we are familiar with in the United States. They are thin, light and made to be dipped in smooth melted chocolate, which by the way, was not excessively sweet. Perfectly complimented with the best cup of hot black coffee, this trifecta was divine!
Westin Palace Madrid La Rotonda Restaurant
Plaza de las Cortes, 7, 28014 Madrid, Spain
For our last recommendation, let’s talk about brunch and opera! Every Sunday, at the Westin Palace in the La Rotonda restaurant, you can enjoy a decadent brunch while listening to live Opera performances. http://www.larotondapalace.com/en/opera-and-brunch. A different opera singer is featured every month and sings for two hours. Not only are you captivated by the music and food, the stained glass dome and magnanimous chandelier only adds to the unforgettable affair we had with Madrid.
Other sites to visit:
La Taperia-outside drinking and relaxationCalle Manuel Fernández y González, 7 28014 Madrid Spain
Prado Museum: Featured exhibit- Bosch (El Basco), The Fifth Centenary Exhibit
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Other artists include: Caravaggio, Velazquez, Ribera, Goya, Mantegna, Brueghel, Rubens, Poussin, and Lorraine.
Royal Palace Madrid: Featured Exhibit: De Caravaggio a Bernini Masters of the 17th Century-
I do have to mention, they only feature one painting of Caravaggio and one of Bernini’s works.
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
The Royal Palace, Madrid
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
Armory Exhibit / Royal Palace:
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain–
Caixa Forum Wall Garden:
designed by Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron