MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL — Just like the Boqueria in Barcelona, the Mercado de San Miguel is the perfect place to go back to several times to load up on the best tapas, wine and beer. You just walk from stall to stall, looking for what’s interesting, step up to the bar and eat. Perfect if you’re with a group that can’t decide, everyone can find what they want and meet up at the common eating area. About as easy as it gets, but it can be jammed with people. Just be assertive.
LA GABINOTECA — This was my favorite place to eat in Madrid. A very hip new place called La Gabinoteca. Truly a delightful place. When I travel by myself in Europe, it’s always a pain because they force you to eat at the bar or outright not allow you to take up a whole table. Amazing food. Amazing people watch, seriously good looking people. It is like gourmet tapas, done up differently. Great bartender and extremely friendly people.
Definitely get their signature dish: this potato, poached egg and truffle contraption.
This is the place where I discovered why Gin-Tonic is the most popular and perfect cocktail in Madrid. I don’t normally like them, but the way they make them is mind-blowing. I’ve come back to try to recreate and simply can’t. La Gabinoteca also had this extra cool signaling device to call the waiter, move onto the next course or get your check. The signal goes to a wristwatch on your waiter. Marvelously efficient device.
MERCADO DE SAN ANTON — Just a few blocks north of the Gran Via is the Mercado de San Anton, a less hectic version of San Miguel, with market stalls, tapas stands and two great restaurants on the rooftop, which also has an open aired bar, perfect in the summer.
Here are some more suggestions from Conde Nast Traveller (UK version) and NY Times and this great article on Where Madrid’s Chefs Eat. Also a great NYTimes article on 36 Hours In Madrid.
Here’s a great article from Bon Appetit on where to eat in Barcelona. http://www.bonappetit.com/restaurants-travel/navigator/slideshow/eat-drink-barcelona/?slide=1
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