Establishment neighborhood
El Pescador
Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, 75, Salamanca
Opened in 1975, El Pescador has a similar trajectory to nearby O'Pazo—both old-guard restaurants that pioneered the idea of serving fish so fresh that it didn't even need sauce, they've each stayed relevant with frequent renovations. At El Pescador, in particular, the interior has the potential to fool visitors that don't know the restaurant's historic pedigree—a clean concrete bar with stainless steel stools marks the entry to the restaurant, which is separated from the rest of the airy, modern restaurant by sheer chainlink curtains. As for the menu, you'll find minimally-treated fish and shellfish, served fresh and typically caught that morning. The shareable seafood platters are perfect for a big group.
Calle Serrano, 34, Salamanca
What started out as a small artisan-run leather goods manufacturer in the 1840’s has morphed into a universally adored, 100+ stores strong luxury brand. Staying true to its heritage, the Madrid flagship is still the heart and soul of the brand: In addition to the signature candy-colored purses and wallets, come here for shoes, jewelry, scarves, ready-to-wear, and more, all donning the iconic Loewe logo. Just down the street, the Gran Via shop often hosts pop-up art exhibits and limited edition collections.
Salamanca Shopping District
Whether you’re looking to do serious damage or some harmless window-shopping, the Barrio de Salamanca is a worthy destination. Chanel, Hermes, Delpozo, Christian Louboutin…all the usual suspects are here, but it’s the gorgeous buildings that house the goods that make this stretch so special. And in true European fashion, more accessible, but equally enticing, High Street standbys (Muji, H&M, and of course, Zara) are also well represented. Don’t skip the side streets—this is where you’ll find the indie gems and small local boutiques.
Calle Puigcerdá, 2, Salamanca
Spanish designers Marga Massanet and Jacobo Cobián (who also happen to be an adorable real-life couple) only have two retail stores; in addition to the Madrid shop, you can find them in their beachy hometown of La Coruña along the Northern coast. Both outposts are done in modern, streamlined, warm wood interiors with light fixtures that look like glowing orbs descending from the ceiling. And that's before you've even begun to look through the racks of the quintessentially Spanish women's dresses and separates. Expect flowy, loose shapes made in natural-feeling linens and vintage patterns, all inspired by La Coruña's beachy, tanned aesthetic and the laid-back lifestyle that goes with it.
Calle de Lagasca, 68, Salamanca
For the kinds of unique accessories you always want to bring back from a trip abroad, head to one of Malababa's two locations (one in Salamanca and one in Chueca). Designer Ana Carrasco produces her entire line of bags, jewelry, and shoes in Spain, employing local artisans for every step of the process, from tanning the leather to sewing the bags. Expect a range of styles, from delicate beaded jewelry to chunky leather boots to clutches adorned with bold geodesic clasps. You can also find a range of prices, with plenty of perfect gift options available for less than 100 euros.
El Huerto De Lucas
Calle de Hermosilla, 103, Salamanca
At this cool new market in Salamanca, you can buy all your unpackaged nuts, grains, and seeds, and get your week's supply of organic, hormone- and toxic chemical-free fruit, veggies, bread, fish and meat from the stalls, and then stop and rest at their all-natural cafe, juice, and sulfate-free wine bar. All of this in a bright, open and airy space, under a canopy of hanging plants. And in case you had any nagging worries left, the space was designed with exclusively sustainable, toxin-free materials. Check out the original market in Chueca that started it all.
Mercado de la Paz
Centro Comercial La Paz, Calle de Ayala, 28, Salamanca
Despite its recent revamp, this beautifully restored 140-year-old market still retains its old-school, no-fuss neighborhood flavor. You'll find stall after stall of gourmet, fresh ingredients for home cooking plus a smattering of great prepared food stands. So great are some of these, that allegedly, some of the city's best chefs come here in their spare time. Don't miss Casa Dani with its traditional, daily-changing tapas menu.
Paseo de la Castellana, 12, Salamanca
Opened in 1931 by French émigré Margarita Kearney Taylor, this old-school café brought the concept of British high tea to Madrid. For almost a century, this is where the city's hoi polloi gathered along with diplomats from the nearby embassies the café gets its name from. It was also apparently a meeting place for Allied spies during the war. Though Margarita is long gone, her shop remains as ladylike as ever with velvet cushions and touches of chinoiserie throughout. While there's a restaurant downstairs, the real highlight is the tea salon upstairs where tea, coffee, and Spanish hot chocolate are served with a selection of old-fashioned pastries.
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