Establishment neighborhood
AC Santo Mauro
Zurbano, 36, Chamberí
Spread out over three elegant buildings that used to serve as the home of the Duke of Santo Mauro, this recently renovated boutique hotel is a love letter to the decadence and splendor of old Madrid. Inside, the former ballroom has been turned into a sweeping lobby and the library became La Biblioteca Restaurant, where you'll find an excellent menu of traditional Spanish cuisine. Meanwhile, the spacious guestrooms are done in comforting earth tones for maximum relaxation.
Tuk Tuk
Calle del Cardenal Cisneros, 6, Chamberí
Owned by two ex-pats, Tuk Tuk serves Asian street food that draws inspiration primarily from Bangkok, Saigon, and Hong Kong. It's the kind of place where we'd be happy with anything on the menu, but regulars report that the green curry, coconut rice, and chicken skewers are all standbys. It's an excellent option for takeout (even the most committed drinkers will crave a quiet night in after too many hours in all-night Spanish bars), and vegetarians will appreciate the variety of options, too. There's a second location in the Chueca district.
Bar Tomate
Calle de Fernando El Santo, 26, Chamberí
Bar Tomate's location in the convenient, business-focused Salamanca neighborhood means it's usually pretty crowded at lunchtime—though there's always standing room at the bar if you forget to make a reservation. Astonishingly, the operation is open from 8:30 in the morning, serving tapas, light breakfast, and excellent coffee, until midnight, when a DJ and an excellent cocktail menu make it one of the neighborhoods more well-attended bars. While the classic tapas are always a good bet, menu-wise, they're also known for perfectly dough-ey wood-fired pizzas.
La Contraseña
Calle Ponzano, 6, Chamberí
This modern little spot in the Chamberí district is famous for its excellent cocktails (locals go for the gin and tonics in particular), which are best enjoyed in the bar near the back of the restaurant. If you're stopping in for a full dinner, request a seat on the open-air patio, which is surrounded by exposed brick walls. The stunning décor—think wicker basket chandeliers, graphic printed wallpaper, a mirrored bar, and colorful tile—is reason enough to make a reservation.