La Tasquita de Enfrente
Calle de la Ballesta, 6, Centro
If there's one "must-visit" spot we'd recommend in Madrid, it would have to be La Tasquita de Enfrenta. Chef Juanjó Lopez's outrageously good Spanish food (the menu changes seasonally) isn't exactly news—locals have been vying for reservations here for a few years now—but the food is as good as ever. It's definitely the kind of place where it's worth splurging on the chef's tasting menu, and the wine to go with it. The place books out well in advance, so make a reservation before your trip if possible.
Bosco de Lobos
Calle Hortaleza, 63, Centro
Bosco de Lobos is one of two restaurants from the Barcelona-based En Compañia de Lobos restaurant group (the other, Ana La Santa, is another favorite from our list). At this location, owner Tomas Tarruella focuses on home-style Italian food, with hearty, comforting dishes like a bolognese, mushroom risotto, and wood-fired pizza with ricotta and anchovies. The best tables are out in the patio garden, which is fully enclosed in lush greenery.
Ana La Santa
Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, Centro
Ana La Santa is one of two Madrid restaurants from En Compañia de Lobos, a restaurant group out of Barcelona that's a total family affair. Owner Tomas Tarruella founded his first few restaurants with his mother, Rosa Maria Esteva, and while his new restaurant company is actually a solo venture, it lacks none of the creativity and excellent service his family originally became famous for. Chief among his new projects is this Salamanca spot, which offers traditional Spanish food (including an enormous tapas menu) that's not afraid to take risks: Expect several different variations of paella served alongside a quinoa salad, Mexican tortilla soup, and a delicious red curry with Iberian pork cheek. In keeping with family tradition, the bright, verdant, Scandinavian-inspired interiors were designed by Tarruella's sister, Sandra.
Calle Marqués de Valdeiglesias, 1, Centro
As far as location goes, the intersection of Gran Via and Marqués de Valdeiglesias can’t be beat—the best museums, squares, parks, and shopping streets are literally steps away, though once you step inside the plush lobby, you may never want to leave. In stark contrast to the Art Deco façade, the guestrooms are all shades of grey, slick mid-century furniture, and the occasional burst of jewel-tones—clearly a testament to hotelier Pau Guardans penchant for marrying the old with the new. Conveniently, there are two restaurants on site: laid back Atico, the brainchild of two-Michelin star chef Ramón Freixa, is open 24/7, while La Terraza is the lush indoor-outdoor garden terrace attached to the hotel’s prized solarium—complete with lounge chairs and outdoor showers for cooling off. In place of a spa there’s an intimate two-person wellness suite and sauna, just make sure to book your massage or facial ahead of time.
Calle de Velázquez, 8, Centro
While it has all the grown-up trappings of a posh boutique property (a well-stocked bar, gorgeous décor, a Clarins spa), this grand, old-school hotel is surprisingly well equipped to accommodate the 12-and-under crowd, too. The rooftop organic garden alone—it’s one of the largest of its kind in Europe—is enough to keep fleeting attention spans occupied for hours at a time, and the same can be said of the outdoor pool. Food-wise, there’s around-the-clock room service and enough on-site dining options—from sushi to classic Basque to veggie—to please even the finickiest of palates.
Calle de Mejía Lequerica, 8, Centro
If you book a room at Hotel Urso, consider carving a day out of your sightseeing itinerary to spend exploring everything this five-star property has to offer.
Calle Gran Vía, 80, Centro
This year-old, 162-room boutique hotel is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building and is the perfect example of how perfectly contemporary design elements—minimal furniture, museum-white walls, and lots of high-tech gadgetry—can lend themselves to a traditional space. The rooms are kept purposefully stark, with the street-facing windows and scattered pops of grey serving as the sole decorative elements. Upstairs, on the 360-degree terrace, you’ll find the small but incredibly Instagrammable Sky Pool and the Nice to Meet You restaurant, which in addition to great tapas, cocktails, and music, offers the most intense sunsets and panoramic views of the Madrid skyline. Also worth mentioning are the very reasonable room rates.
Calle de la Reina, 16, Centro
Opened in 1921 (and astonishingly, consistently open throughout the Civil War), Bar Cock is one of the oldest in the city. In the '70s, it was famously a hangout for Madrid's creatives, and today, if you can get past the name, it's a perfectly cozy place to tuck into a gin cocktail surrounded by dim lighting and a generally chill vibe. It never gets too rowdy here, making it the ideal meeting spot for old friends and for having the kind of mellow conversation you can enjoy without yelling.
Bocadillo de Jamon y Champan
Calle Fernando VI, 21, Centro
The decor at this quaint little spot off Parque de El Retiro is refreshingly bright, with clean white subway tiles, white walls, and brass chandeliers over the bar. There's also something undeniably appealing about the concept of drinking delicate champagne (their list is outstanding) alongside straightforward ham sandwiches. While the airy feel makes it a lovely lunch destination, it's equally fun in the evenings.
Calle de la Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 17, Centro
Malasaña has been a neighborhood on the rise for a while now, due in large part to the presence of hybrid operations like Kikekeller. Part retail store, part art gallery, part bar, it's buzzing from early in the morning until late into the night. Owners Kike and Celia are constantly changing around the shop, bringing new offerings into the retail space, rearranging the furniture, and switching out the art exhibitions, so no two visits are the same.