Travel

Madrid Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
Café del Jardin del Museo del Romanticismo
Museo del Romanticismo, Calle San Mateo 13, Centro
While we wouldn't recommend spending a ton of time at the Museum of Romanticism itself, the tea salon and garden are another story altogether. This teensy cafe is something of a local's secret: Set in a lush, and yes, sweetly romantic courtyard behind the museum, it's an idyllic spot for an afternoon break. Make sure to snag a seat outside at one of the tables around the fountain and order a slice of the famous home-baked cake.
El Huerto De Lucas
Calle San Lucas, 13, Chueca
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. Unsurprisingly this meticulously thought out concept is catching on quickly: They've just opened up a new space in Salamanca with more surely on the horizon.
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.
Embassy
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.
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.
Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza de San Miguel, Centro
As the last of the 19th-century iron markets in Madrid, this beautifully preserved monument operates just as it has for almost two centuries. Because it's such a fixture on the scene for both foodies and tourists, the prices at some of the stands are a little higher than at other local markets, but the quality and variety is pretty stunning. You'll find all the classic Spanish pantry necessities along with international gourmet goods, from fresh pasta to Russian caviar. If you don't mind the crowds, the best day to head here is Sunday, when locals head to the tapas stalls after a day strolling the nearby Rastro flea market.
Mercado San Ildefonso
Calle de Fuencarral, 57, Centro
In a city of great markets new and restored, it's tough to stand out, though this hipster concept does a pretty good job of it with an edited selection of distinct street food stalls. Don't expect any banh-mi though, the furthest you'll get from tapas here are the Mexican tacos and the Peruvian ceviche. Located in Malasaña, the market is packed at work lunch hours and then again late at night when the offices close. With plenty of cocktail and wine bars dotted throughout, this also makes a fun late night destination for groups.
Panic Bakery
Calle Conde Duque, 13, Centro
Unlike other European cities, Madrid didn't boast much of a bread scene until graphic designer-turned bread baker Javier Marco came along with his artisanal sourdough and opened Panic in 2012. To this day, he sells six basic loaves, for which people continue to line up around the block, complemented by some incredible cakes baked by HomeCake. You'll occasionally find some pretty epic sandwiches (bocatas) here too, along with his magic touch on the traditional Pan Tomate. Make sure to ask about their occasional bread baking workshops.
Queseria Cultivo
Calle Conde Duque, 15, Centro
While the Panic bakery next door brings artisanal bread into focus, the Queseria is all about artisanal cheeses from Spain and beyond. In their vast and heavenly vault you'll find a surprising variety of national cheeses across the spectrum, along with the very best of the rest of Europe. The shop is the work of three pioneering cheese producers coming together to raise awareness of their craft in Madrid. Not only do they bring rare regional varieties here, they also teach classes on everything from cheese-making to photography.
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