Exploring Madrid

The Áncora house is located about a 5-8 minute walk to Atocha Station, the main station in Madrid where you can catch a train anywhere in and out of the city. It is comprised of three main sections. The high-speed or long-distance lines (Ave), which run to distant cities in Spain, as well as all major European cities; the suburban lines or “Cercanias,” (Renfe), which go to places like Barajas airport or Aran Juez; and the Metro, which is the local train system within Madrid (Atocha station is found on the blue line, L1, also an 8-10 minute walk from here).

For perspective, a walk to the “center” is about 28-minutes from here. If you want to conserve your legs, however, I would suggest hopping on the blue line at Atocha station and getting off at “Sol.” Puerta del Sol is the city center. You can visit most of the places on this list in walking distance from there.

Most travel descriptions courtesy of esmadrid.com

The Plaza Mayor (about a 35-minute walk from here)

Metro: Ópera (L2, L5, R), Sol (L1, L2, L3), Tirso de Molina (L1)

This portico lined square is situated at the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, the old part of the city and one of the capital’s most charming districts.

Before Madrid became a capital city, with its wide avenues and boulevards, its footprint consisted of narrow streets, alleys and passageways, which today take us back to the times of swashbuckling swordsmen and medieval rogues.

The foundations of Plaza Mayor were laid, when Philip II’s court moved to Madrid, on the site of the former Plaza del Arrabal, where the town’s most popular market was located towards the end of the 15th century. In 1617, architect Juan Gómez de Mora was commissioned to create a greater uniformity amongst the buildings in this location, which for centuries had hosted popular entertainments, bullfights, beatifications, coronations and the occasional auto de fe.

Casa de la Panadería

Casa de la Panaderia was built by Diego Sillero around 1590, but only the cellar and the ground floor of the original building remain today. It nevertheless served as the model copied by the rest of the buildings around the square. Included amongst the numerous functions it has held in the past is that of the principal bakery of the town, which fixed the price of bread so that the neediest residents could afford to buy it. It has also been the venue of royal lodgings, the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the History Academy. At present it is home to the Plaza Mayor Tourist Center. The decoration we can see today on the façade was not always the same in the past due to numerous reforms and restorations. The murals on the façade, the work of Carlos Franco, represent mythological figures connected to the history of Madrid, such as the goddess Cybele.

Arco de Cuchilleros

On several occasions, fire has played a major role in configuring the square’s appearance. The most devastating one occurred in 1790, which led to its reconstruction by architect Juan de Villanueva who lowered the building fronts by two storeys, enclosed the square at its corners and constructed nine entrance arches. Due to its monumental appearance, the most well-known of the arches is the Arco de los Cuchilleros with its steep steps leading up to the square. The picturesque buildings along this street catch the eye due to their height and leaning façades serving as buttresses. Its name, Cuchilleros, derives from the cutlers’ workshops once located here who supplied the knives to the butchers in Plaza Mayor, where Casa de la Carnicería, at one time the general meat deposit, is located.

Statue of Philip III

The statue of the king on horseback is one of the most valuable works of art to be found on the streets of Madrid. Designed by Giambologna and completed by Pietro Tacca in 1616, it watched over the entrance to Casa de Campo for centuries until, in 1848, Queen Isabel II borrowed it for the city, placing it in Plaza Mayor. Only during the two Republics has the statue been removed from what is perhaps Madrid’s most emblematic square.

The Mercado San Miguel is a huge open air tapas bar and market (think Reading Terminal, in Philadelphia) where you sample a wide variety of tapas, drinks and desserts for as low as a euro each.  If you’re inside the Plaza Mayor, find the arch along Calle de Cdad. Rodrigo; when you exit, the Mercado is on your left.

Puerta del Sol (about a couple blocks from the Plaza Mayor)

Metro: Sol (L1, L2, L3)

This bustling square located bang in the centre of Madrid is one of the city’s most famous sites. With its semi-circular shape, it is a junction for many of the city’s historical and busiest streets such as Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá and Preciados, as well as the starting point for all major radial roads in Spain.

Originally the site of one of the city’s gates, Puerta del Sol should be at the top of your list of places to visit. Sitting atop the Casa de Correos building, the current headquarters of the Madrid regional government, you’ll find the famous clock that all eyes turn to on the last day of the year. For over a century now tradition has it that people across the country usher in the New Year by eating 12 lucky grapes to the twelve chimes of midnight struck by this clock.

A stone slab on the pavement in front of the main entrance to the Casa de Correos marks Spain’s Kilometre 0, the starting point for all major radial roads in Spain. Across the square, at the beginning of Calle Alcalá, Madrid’s longest street, you’ll find the famous Oso y Madroño. The official symbol of the city, the statue of a bear nuzzling a strawberry tree is a popular meeting spot for Madrileños.

On the other side of the square, at the start of Calle Arenal which leads to the Teatro Real opera house, stands a copy of La Mariblanca statue. The original, which dates back to the 17th century and once adorned a fountain in this very spot, is now stored in Casa de la Villa. Puerta del Sol’s third and largest statue is found in the centre of the square and depicts King Charles III of Spain on horseback. During his reign, the monarch introduced so many progressive reforms and gave the city such a makeover that he earned the moniker Madrid’s best mayor.

Don’t forget to bring your credit cards too! El Corte Ingles is here, Spain’s largest department store.

Barrio Las Letras & The Plaza Santa Ana

Metro Antón Martín (L1), Sol (L1, L2, L3)

Barrio de las Letras (Literary Quarter) lies in the heart of Madrid, between such attractions as Sol-Gran Vía and Paseo del Arte (Art Walk). Its boundaries are Calle de la Cruz, Carrera de San Jerónimo, Paseo del Prado and Calle Atocha.

In the seventeenth century, the Golden Age of Spanish Literature, CervantesLope de VegaQuevedoTirso de Molina and Góngora, among other authors, had their homes here – hence the name. Some of the streets in this neighbourhood pay tribute to this and other brilliant chapters of Spanish history, culture and art.

Madrid’s Literary Quarter has always welcomed writers and literature lovers, who came to the corrales de comedias (open-air theatres) Del Príncipe, De la Pacheca and De la Cruz to watch theatrical performances, a popular pastime in those days. The Corral de Comedias del Príncipe, present-day Teatro Español, would stage the best comedies by playwrights from the Spanish Golden Age. The Teatro de la Cruz put on El sí de las niñas (The Maidens’ Consent) by Enlightenment author Leandro Fernández de Moratín, Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville and Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorrilla.

On the Plaza Santa Ana is the popular ME rooftop bar and club, and right off the Plaza is Café Central a jazz cafe where you can catch a small, intimate show while having a drink and tapas. Call for reservations:  +34 913 69 41 43. There’s also Cerveceria Alemana, at the southern end of the plaza where Hemingway used to go for a drink. I suggest having a late afternoon caña con limón (lemon beer) or a tinto de verano at an any outside cafe in the Barrio Las Letras. Don’t forget the olives!

The Retiro (about an 18-minute walk from here)

Metro Retiro (L2); back entrance M: Estacion del Arte (L1)

El Retiro Park is the real star of this neighbourhood, bordered by Calle de Alcalá and Calle O’Donnell to the north, Doctor Esquerdo to the east, Avenida del Mediterráneo and Paseo de Reina Cristina to the south, and Calle de Alfonso XII to the west.

The park was developed under the Catholic Monarchs, in the early sixteenth century, but the neighbourhood itself is much younger. With an increasingly larger population in the late nineteenth century, the city expanded. The layout of Retiro is similar to that of neighbouring Barrio de Salamanca, featuring perpendicular streets with wide pavements, some of them embellished as attractive boulevards, like Ibiza or Alcalde Sainz de Baranda. It’s basically a residential area but, being so close to the centre of Madrid, it’s borrowed some of its business and shopping character.

Visitors coming to Madrid can’t miss El Retiro Park and its surroundings, filled with cultural attractionsrestaurants and shops.

Don’t forget to check out the statue of the Fallen Angel (yup, Lucifer, himself), the Crystal Palace and the lake, where you can rent a boat or sit at one of the several cafés and watch buskers, artists and puppet shows.

The Plaza Oriente and the Royal Palace

Ópera (L2, L5, R), Plaza de España (L2, L3, L10)

Located across from the Royal Palace, the Plaza de Oriente is a 1.6-hectare garden that is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Madrid. The gardens were planned by José Bonaparte, who wanted the gardens to highlight the Palacio and the Teatro Real. Since then, they have undergone significant restoration work. Miguel de Oriol directed the most important restoration work in 1997.

 The equestrian statute of Philip IV stands out in the centre of the Plaza. Pietro Tacca created it in 1960, following calculations performed by Galileo Galilei and flanked by a large part of the collection of statues of Spanish kings crowned by the Royal Palace. The Gardens have been designed in geometrical shapes in order to provide air and enhance the façade of the Royal Palace. Moreover, they are located in the centre of an important and impressive group, which includes not just the Palace, but also the Convent of La Encarnación.

The Palace: Home to the Kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, Madrid’s Royal Palace takes us on a journey through the history of Spain. Though it is no longer the royal family’s home, it continues to be their official residence.

Long before Madrid became the capital of Spain, Emir Mohamed I chose Magerit (the city’s Arabic name) as the site for a fortress to protect Toledo from the advancing Christians. The building was eventually used by the Kings of Castille until finally becoming what would be known as the Antiguo Alcázar (Old Fortress) in the 14th century. Charles I and his son Philip II turned the building into a permanent residence for the Spanish royal family. However, in 1734 a fire burnt the Palace of Los Austrias to the ground, and Philip V ordered the construction of the palace that stands today.

Following the untimely death of Filippo Juvara, the architect originally commissioned to design the palace, it was his pupil Juan Bautista Sachetti who eventually drew up the final plans. Seventeen years passed between the laying of the first stone in 1738 and final completion of the work commissioned by Philip V. However, it was Charles III (known as the “Mayor of Madrid” due to the large number of reforms and initiatives that he undertook in the city) who became the first monarch to occupy the new building. His successors Charles IV (responsible for the creation of the Hall of Mirrors) and Ferdinand VII added many decorative details and furnishings, such as clocks, items of furniture and chandeliers.

The palace, inspired by sketches made by Bernini for the construction of the Louvre in Paris, is built in the form of a square and looks out over a large courtyard with galleries and a parade ground. The decoration of the palace’s rooms and their layout has gradually changed over the years as the building has been adapted to suit the needs of its residents.

It comprises over 3000 rooms, including: the Main Staircase, designed by Sabatini with over 70 steps; the Throne Hall featuring a ceiling painted by Tiepolo; the Hall of Halberdiers, which Charles III turned into the Guards Room; the Gasparini Room, with its grand 18th century decoration on a floral theme; the Royal Chemist’s with natural medicine cabinets, ceramic pots made by the La Granja factory, and even prescriptions given to members of the royal family; and the Royal Chapel, which is home to a collection of string instruments made by the legendary Antonio Stradivari.

La Latina

Metro: La Latina; Opera; Sol

La Latina barrio is the oldest part of Madrid. Here, Madrid history begins (there are even remnants of stone walls that the Moors built when they ruled the area). When you stroll around La Latina, make sure to check out calles Baja y Alta for tapas. Also, my favorite plaza in this barrio is Plaza de la Paja. There you will find the little blue Café Delic, one of my all time favorite cafes. At the bottom of the plaza is a small garden, Palacio del Príncipe de Anglona Gardens. Don’t be afraid to poke your head in and stroll around within the walls. It’s open to the public.

El Rastro

Metro: Tirso de Molina

If you’re in Madrid on a Sunday make sure to get up early and visit the Rastro, Spain’s largest outdoor flea market. I love the antiques especially. Just keep your belongings guarded. There’s loads of people, which means more opportunity for pick pockets.

El Prado and Reina Sofia

Walking distance; or, Banco de España (L2), Estación del Arte (formerly Atocha) (L1)

The Prado Museum, which commemorated its 200th anniversary in 2019, is the crown jewel of one of the city’s most popular tourist itineraries: the Paseo del Arte, where you’ll also find the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía museums. The Prado’s walls are lined with masterpieces from the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools, including Velázquez’ Las Meninas and Goya’s Third of May, 1808. Its collection comprises 8,600 paintings and over 700 sculptures, so we recommend deciding what you want to see before stepping into the museum. If you are short on time, the Prado’s website suggests three itineraries, lasting 1, 2 and 3 hours and covering the museum’s most important masterpieces.

The Prado is home to works by some of the Spanish Golden Age leading painters including RiberaZurbaránMurillo, and the great Velázquez, whose masterpieces Las Meninas and The Seamstresses hang here. In the Goya galleries you’ll find an array of works by the great artist, from the tapestry cartoons he made for the Royal Tapestry Factory to the Black Paintings he painted on the walls of his house La Quinta del Sordo (Deaf-Man’s Villa). The rooms devoted to 19th-century art feature pieces by FortunyFederico, Raimundo Madrazo and Joaquín Sorolla, the Valencian artist whose wonderful house-museum is also found in the city.

The Reina Sofía houses paintings by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Juan Gris as well as one of Spain’s most famous artworks, Picasso’s Guernica.

Also along the “Art Walk” is the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which houses a more European history style collection.

Opera & Chocolatería San Ginés

Ópera (L2, L5, R), Sol (L1, L2, L3)

Madrid’s opera house, designed by the architect Antonio López Aguado during the reign of Queen Isabella I, was inaugurated in 1850 (although the first stone was laid on 23 April 1818). Located a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol, the building was one of Europe’s leading theatres for over 75 years, until it was deemed unsafe in 1925 and closed for 41 years. In 1966 it was reopened as a concert hall with the Spanish National Orchestra as its resident orchestra. In 1977 it was declared a National Monument and in 1997, after 7 years of extensive works, the Teatro Real once again became home to Madrid’s opera scene.

The building displays a combination of architectural styles. The theatre’s crown jewel, however, is its 1,472 m² stage area. This is the heart of the opera house and allows for very complex set changes thanks to its 18 articulated platforms which permit multiple combinations both on the stage and in the orchestra pit. With a seating capacity of between 1,748 and 1,854, depending on the staging requirements, the theatre features 28 boxes on its different floors, in addition to eight proscenium boxes and a double-height Royal Box.

The only floor devoted exclusively to the general public is ‘La Rotonda’, which completely encircles the building. On this floor are four large halls, each decorated in a different colour and housing artwork from National Heritage collections and the Prado Museum. Their lights were made especially for the theatre at the Royal Factory of La Granja.

Located between Calle Arenal and Calle Mayor, down a cute side street, the Pasadizo San Ginés, is Chocolatería San Ginés. It’s been around since 1894 and really does have the best “churros” con chocolate. Get in line, place your order and pay, and then give your ticket to a waiter and tell them where you plan to sit (there’s a cool downstairs too). They will bring you your order. Make sure to get a fresh squeezed zumo de naranja too!

Shopping, Calle Fuencarral & El Gran Via

Bilbao (L1, L4), Chueca (L5), Gran Vía (L1, L5), Tribunal (L1, L10)

Shopping can be a bit crazy in Madrid, and spread out across an enormous city. While the Corte Ingles can be found in Sol, and has a massive variety of items (think Macy’s), there’s tons more to see along the Gran Via. I typically end up on the Calle Fuencarral, right off the Gran Via, which also has tons of shops in closer proximity. You’ll find smaller indie shops there and bigger names too.

If you’re looking for cool second – hand shops, trek over to Malasaña, where there’s a ton of consignment shops, hip cafes and tattoo parlors. When you need a break. Stop in Lolina’s Vintage Cafe, one of my fav cafes, on Espíritu Santo, 9.  El Rincon is nearby too @ Espíritu Santo, 26. (Metro: Tribunal)

Also, check out the Fundación Telefónica Space at the corner of Fuencarral and Gran Via, where a permanent exhibition on the History of Telecommunications can be seen. Old telephones are super cool!

Many descriptions courtesy of www.esmadrid.com, Madrid’s official tourism site.

Day Trips

Toledo. If you only have time for one day trip (even a half day can be enough!), Toledo is a must. The 48-minute train ride to the old capital of Spain is quick. And the medieval town is stunning.  Buy tickets the night before, especially in high season. Make sure you visit the cathedral and the Jewish district.

Alcala de Henares is a great day trip. Visit the university and the birth home of Miguel de Cervantes, stroll through the medieval pueblo and have lunch at one of the cute cafes along the Calle Mayor.

(Cercanias: C-7)

Aran Juez: Visit the summer palace of the Bourbon kings of Spain and the beautiful garden. The Cercanias C-3 and C-3a go to Aran Juez. Palace is closed on Mondays.

Segovia: You can catch a train from Atocha (one of the long-distance trains) to Segovia and get there a little over an hour. Segovia is a gorgeous medieval city with a well-preserved Roman aqueduct. You may have to switch stations and catch another train from one of the northern stations like Chamartin.

Córdoba Believe it or not, you can take a high-speed train from Madrid (Atocha) to Córdoba in about 2 hours. Hot as heck, this walled city has the spectacular Mosque, one of only several in the world that non-Muslims can walk through and visit.

Deeper Cuts

Must Sees for longer stays or just to see and do something slightly less touristy

  1. Joaquín Sorolla museum museosorolla.es
  2. Botanical Garden inside Atocha station
  3. A stroll around Malasaña to check out the hip cafes and vintage stores
  4. The Matadero, an old abattoir converted into an art gallery and events space
  5. Bathe in a Hammam. Hammam Al Ándalus is a stunning space and one of the most relaxing spa-ventures inside Madrid.  For appointments: hammamalandalus.com
  6. Shop or watch a show at Mercado de los Motores, Museo del Ferrocarril, Paseo de las Delicias, 61, 28045 Madrid (typically only open weekends; about a 10-minute walk)
  7. Have a drink at Kikekeller, a trendy art gallery and bar kikekeller.com/tienda-galeria-bar
  8. Treat yourself to dinner at Bodegas de los Secretos bodegadelossecretos.com
  9. Do a personalized food, history or shopping tour. Devour has a great one. madridfoodtour.com
  10. Flamenco shows or classes? Check out Candela flamencocandela.com on Calle del Olmo, 2. Metro: Antón Martín (L1), Tirso de Molina (L1)
  11. Temple of Debod & Parque del Oeste
  12. Have a sherry at La Venencia, and feel the history of the Spanish Civil War here, where “Republicans” came to secretly bemoan the fascists. Don’t bring a camera or break out your cellphone. You could get the boot. Calle de Echegaray, 7, 28014 Madrid, Spain
  13. Check out the “gayborhood.” Madrid has a thriving gay community centered in the Chueca barrio which has fabulous shops, restaurants, clubs and hotels. In summer, the LGBTQ Gay Pride festival is held every year where people from all over the world come to attend. It’s one of the best parties of the year.  (Metro: Chueca).
  14. Caixa Forum (about a 20-minute walk)
  15. Do something trendy. Check out the rooftop of the Circulo de Bellas Artes, Alcalá 42

Getting to and from Barajas Airport

By Train (Cercanias): The two closest train stations that will take you directly to Terminal 4 are Atocha and Delicias (both are about an 8-min walk from here). Lines C-1 and C-10 both go to Barajas (and both lines can be caught from those two stations). Follow the direction for Aeropuerto T-4. If you need any other terminal, you will have to find a shuttle once at the airport. Likewise, getting from the airport to Áncora, 35 simply follow signs for Ceranias and take either C-1 or C-10 to Atocha or Delicias. Follow direction Príncípe Pío or Villalba. See map.

By Taxi: I use two services: hailing a taxi with my cold, bare hands, right out front; or, I use my app to call a taxi using “Cabify.” It’s 30€ to or from the airport. Tipping not required, unless the driver helps with your bags or you are feeling especially grateful. I currently opt not to use Uber, simply because the taxi system in Madrid is phenomenal, safe and friendly. But, Uber is also an option.

Restaurants, Cafes & Bars

I cannot begin to list all my favorite places! But, here, at least, is a glimpse.

Around La Latina


Costanilla de San Andrés, 14

A cozy, French-style café and terrace that serves fabulous coffees, sweets, drinks and a menu del dia. This is one of my all-time favorite places to have lunch.

Metro: La Latina

El Perro de Pavlov Cafe

Costanilla de San Pedro, 5

Tucked away in the heart of La Latina is this adorable café with delicious coffees, pastries and tostadas and a richly decorated interior. Perfect for an early morning coffee break or a late afternoon respite.

Metro: La Latina

El Imparcial

Calle del Duque de Alba, 4, 28012 Madrid, Spain

Muy elegante, and delicious food, this place was my go to when I lived in La Latina.

Metro: Tirso de Molina

Cafeteria/Bar Pavon

Calle de Embajadores, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain

What might appear from the outside to be a rundown bar, this gorgeous place inside has a great atmosphere and is one of my favorite no frills bars in Madrid. The wide space between the bar and the wall of tables and the high ceilings is reminiscent of old Madrid when Spaniards stood five-deep to get their drinks. Sit at a table or the bar and have a vermouth and soak in the history.

Metro: Tiros de Molina or La Latina

Corral de la Morería Restaurante Gastronómico

Calle de la Morería, 17

This is the only Michelin-starred restaurant on my list. The food is phenomenal, the flamenco divine and the wine selection off the charts. No surprise, you have to book about 10 months to a year in advance. Good luck!

Metro:  La Latina

Around Malasaña

Café de la Luz

C. de la Puebla, 8

This is my latest find and my future dream cafe. It’s an old timey bright cafe with a warm, turn-of-the-century vibe, more reminiscent of a Parisian cafe than a Madrileño cafe. I could sit at one of the back tables for hours and write a novel!


Calle de San Joaquín, 16, 28004 Madrid, Spain

This is my go to restaurant when I am in Malasaña. The avocado toast is delish and the style is industrial. I love this place.

Metro: Tribunal

Lolina’s Vintage Café

Espíritu Santo, 9

I love the vintage style of this place, but I can never fully figure out when to eat here. Cocktails? Coffee? Not sure. But it’s worth the visit.

Metro: Tribunal  

El Rincon

El Rincon

Espíritu Santo, 26

I found this little café many years ago and I keep going back. I cannot explain it, but I am always happy here.

Metro: Tribunal

Café de Ruiz 

c/ Ruiz, 11

Classic and comfortable, this old timey café is one of the coolest restaurants in Malasaña.

Metro: Tribunal

Café Manuela

c/ San Vicente Ferrer, 29

A turn-of-the-century café, with art and poetry decorating the walls, it was founded in 1979, and is quintessential Madrid.

Metro: Tribunal

Café Pepe Botella

c/ San Andrés, 12

Touted as a coffee house where you can think! This is another of the classic Madrid cafes where you can literally sit for hours.

El Palentino

Calle del Pez, 8, 28004 Madrid, Spain

This place received a lot of flack for its renovation. When the old owner died, the new owners completely turned this place from a local watering hole into the sleek, hipster café it is today. I wish I had gone to the old to see what everyone is complaining about, because I love this place post-renovation.

Metro: Callao or Noviciado

Café Ajenjo

Galería de Robles, 4

If you want classic old Madrid, this is the place for you. It’s dreamy and aesthetic. And the coffee is great too!

Barrio de Las Letras

La Fídula

en c/ Huertas, 57

La Fidula is a live music bar with a quiet, hip ambience.

Metro: Antón Martín

Café Central

This place has incredible, classic jazz shows. Make sure to book in advance!

Plaza del Ángel, 10, 28012 Madrid, Spain

Metro: Sol

Around Sol & Plaza Mayor

Casa Toni

Calle de la Cruz, 14, 28012 Madrid, Spain

Get a table upstairs and order the “Mollejas de Cordero” and a glass of Ribera del Duero. Just do it. And, you’re welcome.

Metro: Sol

La Valenciana

Calle de Echegaray, 7, 28014 Madrid, Spain

If you’re looking for a famous sherry bar with a really low profile, where liberal Republicans used to meet during the Spanish Civil War to swap anti-fascist stories this is the place!

Metro: Sol

Cervecería Alemana

Plaza Sta. Ana, 6, Madrid, Spain

A favorite of Hemingway’s, and other celebs, this bar has been open since 1904. Its interior is classic turn-of-the-century and, while slightly touristy nowadays, it’s worth it to go and have a drink inside by the window. If you can beat the crowd.

Metro: Sol

El Sobrino de Botín

17 Calle de Cuchilleros, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, 28005, Spain

While I have not put many tourist-trap restaurants and cafes on my list, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this one. It claims to be the oldest continuously opened restaurant in the world (serving food since 1725); and its interior is a fabulous testament to historical buildings! The suckling pig is the plate of choice. Make reservations.

INCLAN Brutal Bar

Calle de Álvarez Gato, 4, 28012 Madrid, Spain

This is a fun place, with super creative, interesting dishes.

Metro: Sol

Around Gran Vía

Ginkgo Restaurant and Sky Bar

Plaza de España, 3, 28008 Madrid, Spain

One of my favorite rooftop restaurants for ambience and a late night cocktail

Metro: Plaza de España


C. de Pelayo, 57

This stylish Lebanese restaurant can be found in the Chueca district, on calle Pelayo, which is noted for having amazingly sheik boutique stores. Enjoy champagne, Lebanese wine and delicious middle eastern tapas and kabobs.

Above Retiro/Salamanca

Velázquez 17

Velázquez, 17

Super cool ambience and interior, and best burgers in Madrid, albeit a little pricey.

Metro: Velázquez

Restaurante Ultramarinos Quintin

Calle de Jorge Juan, 17, 28001 Madrid, Spain

Metro: Velázquez


Calle de Velázquez, 11, 28001 Madrid, Spain

Cozy place, healthy fare. Service can be slow if you’re single or don’t have a reservation.

Metro: Velázquez

El Perro y La Galleta

Calle de Claudio Coello, 1, 28009 Madrid, Spain

Metro: Retiro

El Atico

Calle del Marqués de Valdeiglesias, 1, 28004 Madrid, Spain

High end dining with fabulous views of Madrid’s most famous rooftops

Metro: Banco de España

Bangalore Indian Cuisine

Calle de Diego de León, 63, 28006 Madrid, Spain

If you’d like a break from Spanish cuisine, and you love Indian, Bangalore is a must.

Metro: Diego de León

Bendita Locura

calle Príncipe de Vergara, 73

Designer, local food in an upscale neighborhood; best brunch around!

Walking Distance


c/ Áncora, 26; This little healthy café is right across the street. A perfect place for a coffee and croissant or a more substantial gourmet meal. Open 8:30-11:30pm every day. Sundays open 9:30-4pm

Al Son de Cuba

c/ General Lacy, 25 This little spot is right on the corner. It serves one of the best mojitos I’ve ever had. Great cuban food as well!

Bodegas Rosell

c/ General Lacy, 14; Reservations: 91-467-8458 Right around the corner, this traditional Madrileño Bodega has great wine, great food, and great service. I could eat here every night! Try the boquerones. They are divine.

As Fontes

Calle Áncora, 32 A traditional Galician restaurant with a weekly Menu del Dia. A great spot across the street if you’re not feeling like going too far.

Arzábal Reina Sofia Museum (El Jardín de Arzábal)

Calle de Santa Isabel, 52 Museo Reina Sofía; Ten minute walk located next to Reina Sofia. Great outdoor terrace with upscale, artsy vibe and great music. For reservations: 915 286 828

Lastly, there are nine Michelin star restaurants in Madrid and plenty of other award-winning places to dine. Visit elespanol.com/cocinillas/ for hundreds of recommendations.