Establishment neighborhood
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.
Platea Madrid
Calle de Goya, 5-7, Salamanca
Guidebooks often describe Platea Madrid as a food hall, but that description doesn't even begin to cover the experience, which brings together six Michelin-starred eateries in the same place. The first thing you'll notice is the space—a movie theater that's been completely renovated to create mezzanine-style platforms littered with tables and chairs (all within view of the stage itself, which remains intact and often hosts live musical performances). Each mezzanine offers several dining options, from tapas to pizza to seafood, supplemented by bars offering cocktails and wines for pairing. This is a popular spot, so finding seating can be a little tricky, but the food's so good that standing room isn't necessarily a bad option.
Villa Magna Hotel
Paseo de la Castellana 22, Salamanca
A great choice for an extended stay, this former royal residence underwent a massive top-to-bottom revamp to turn it into the grand and welcoming city retreat it is today. Paired with exceptional service, the elegantly turned out guestrooms are meant to serve as a home-away-from-home; Tse Yang restaurant, with its tufted booths and elevated Chinese comfort food menu, also helps the cause. Traveling with kids? Let the staff know in advance and they’ll kit out the room with games, playpens, baby monitors, crayons, and whatever else their (and your) little hearts desire.
Club Matador
Calle de Jorge Juan, 5, Salamanca
Occupying a historic apartment in the swanky Salamanca neighborhood, this members-only club is really Madrid's version of Soho House. Started by the creative team behind the Matador magazine, it offers all of the amenities you'd expect from a private club, including cultural events, live music, art exhibitions, a screening room, and a well curated cultural program with lectures and workshops. The restaurant menu focuses on traditional Spanish cuisine while the bar has an ambitious craft cocktail program, bringing in mixologists and guest bartenders from all over Europe. Take your cocktail into the cozy library, which is stocked with books and magazines from the noir genre.
Museo Lázaro Galdiano
Calle de Serrano, 122, Salamanca
Off the beaten path from the so-called Golden Triangle comprised of the Thyssen, El Prado, and the Reina Sofia, this private collection is well worth the side trip. Beyond the individual pieces, which include decorative art over the centuries along with several works by Goya, Lucas Cranach, Velázquez, and the like, it's the way this collection, amassed by banker, publisher, and collector José Lázaro Galdiano himself, is displayed in his former mansion. While it's not a house museum per se, the collections are grouped in a way that has the feel of an old stately mansion mixed with a cabinet of curiosities. Galdiano is well loved in Spain for having bought back many important Spanish artworks that were almost lost during the Spanish Civil War.