5 Authentic Madrid Bars Loved by Locals


If you came to Madrid for some homemade croquetas or high quality jamón ibérico, you want to make sure that you’re going to the best places. In Madrid, like any other major European city, it can be difficult to distinguish the local favorites from the tourist traps. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to venture off the beaten path to find traditional Spanish delicacies.

To save you the trouble, here’s a list of some of the most authentic bars that can easily be found in the center of the city. So get ready to discover Madrid, one tapa at a time.

1) El Madroño

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

This restaurant screams authenticity with its interior and exterior tile decorations that depict Madrid’s history and culture. When walking in, the first thing that will catch your eye is the homemade pastries and cakes that you’ll be anticipating throughout your meal. Once seated, it’s no surprise if a free tapa is brought to your table before even ordering.

El Madroño is the perfect place to order a glass of vermut paired with the delicias de bacalao con mermelada de madroño. These cod bites are fried to golden perfection and served with a side of madroño jam, the fruit from Madrid.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Delicias de bacalao con mermelada de madroño

  • Address: Calle Latoneros, 3
  • Metro: La Latina
  • Phone: +34 913 64 56 29

2) Bar la Campana

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

If you’re looking for the perfect bocadillo de calamares, look no further because La Campana is hands down the best place. Right next to Plaza Mayor, this bar is always crowded with locals, no matter what time of day it is. My personal favorite is a calamari sandwich paired with una cerveza con limón, otherwise known as beer with a splash of lemon. And if you’re feeling extra hungry, you can’t go wrong with an order of patatas bravas or patatas alioli.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Bocadillos de calamares con patatas bravas y patatas alioli

  • Address: Calle Botoneras, 6
  • Metro: Sol
  • Phone: +34 913 64 29 84

3) Casa Toni

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Found on Calle de la Cruz, this small restaurant definitely stands out against the others, with its worn out awning and window where you can see the chef hard at work. The first thing that you’ll notice while walking into Casa Toni is the chef grilling up portions of pimientos and oreja to a charred perfection. In my opinion, this place has the best sepia ever. This grilled cuttlefish topped with fresh herbs and served with a side of mayo should be enjoyed with a Madrid white wine.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Sepia con vino Madrileño

  • Address: Calle de la Cruz, 14
  • Metro: Sol
  • Phone: +34 915 32 25 80

4) Casa González

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

This half-bar half-artisan store located off of Calle Huertas is the perfect place to enjoy a light round of tapas, and maybe take a few of the goods home with you. Casa González is a cheese lover’s dream with its delicious raclette tosta and variety of other European cheeses to choose from. My personal favorite take-home item is the queso de arzúa, which is a fresh cheese from the north of Spain. After enjoying a nice glass of wine and a tapa or two, don’t be afraid to bring home a bag full of artisan goodies with you.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

  • Web
  • Address: Calle del León, 12
  • Metro: Antón Martín, Sol
  • Phone: +34 914 29 56 18

5) Bodegas Ricla

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

About a 5-minute walk from Plaza Mayor is where you can find an old-fashioned bar decorated with bottles of wine that definitely gives a classic tavern feel. You can even take one of those bottles home with you! Just ask anyone behind the counter and they will be happy to help. Besides the amazing Spanish wines, Bodegas Ricla has a pretty good vermut de grifo (vermouth on tap) that goes perfectly with a side of albóndigas, otherwise known as meatballs.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

  • Address: Calle Cuchilleros, 6
  • Metro: La Latina, Tirso de Molina
  • Phone: +34 913 65 20 69

Also check out: What to see in Barrio de las Letras




What to See in Barrio de Las Letras


Madrid’s Barrio de las Letras is a timeless neighborhood that stays true to its Spanish roots, while still giving a modern feel that leaves visitors coming back for more. With its amazing food, culture, and ambience, you can’t go wrong when it comes to exploring this classic barrio.

Here are a few insights into its history, hotspots and 3 restaurant recommendations!

History with a Modern Twist

Barrio de las Letras, also known as Huertas, is less than a 10-minute walk from Sol and was once home to some of the greatest Spanish writers. The streets are paved with recognizable quotes from writers such as, Miguel Cervantes and José Echegaray.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

There are even plazas and streets dedicated to writers such as Plaza Jacinto Benavente and Calle Lope de Vega. The houses of some of these writers still stand today and are open to the public, such as Casa Museo Lope de Vega which offers free guided tours.

Plaza Jacinto Benavente

Plaza Jacinto Benavente

Calle Lope de Vega

Calle Lope de Vega

Nowadays, this historic neighborhood has become a trendy spot for people to get together and have a drink paired with a few tapas. Calle de las Huertas is the main street where you can easily find great shops, cafes, and some of Madrid’s finest eateries.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

While exploring the side streets that branch off the main road, keep an eye out for the various boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, and antique shops that make this neighborhood so authentic.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Must-Sees in Barrio de las Letras

Plaza Santa Ana is a well-known hangout spot in this neighborhood. Here you can find a number of restaurants with outdoor seating areas that are perfect for enjoying the ambience with a nice wine or beer.

Plaza Santa Ana

Plaza Santa Ana

Plaza Santa Ana is also where you can find monuments of Calderón de la Barca, Federico García Lorca, and the Teatro Español, making it a popular spot for tourists.

Monument Calderon de La Barca

Monument Calderon de La Barca

Monument Federico Garcia Lorca

Monument Federico Garcia Lorca

Teatro Español

Teatro Español—Madrid’s oldest theater

 

3 Restaurants in Barrio de las Letras

This neighborhood is a hot spot for some of Madrid’s oldest taverns and restaurants that serve typical Spanish dishes and tapas. Here are some of the best ones.

Cervecería Cervantes is a favorite among the locals. It’s decorated with beautiful tiles that give a traditional Spanish feel. Every time I walk past this bar, it’s always packed with people enjoying tapas and beer. This cervecería is known for its seafood that can be ordered in small portions. So stop in and try them all!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Another go-to place is El Lacón on Calle de Manuel Fernández y González. This place has been around since the 60s and has been considered a classic ever since. It’s known for its drink and tapa deal, meaning that with each beer you order, the waiter will bring a small plate of tapas to your table. Not only is this restaurant famous for its incredible deal, but it’s also known for its full plates such as, cocido Madrileño and the meat or fish tablas that can easily feed 3 people or more.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

And if you’re looking for a place that has it all, Casa Alberto is the place for you. This restaurant is hard to miss with its red exterior, antique writing, and open door which allows people to take a peek inside.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

When first entering Casa Alberto, it’s hard to get past the crowd of people drinking and ordering tapas at the bar. But once you’re in the dining room, you are guaranteed a great sit-down meal. For starters, the croquetas de jamón are an amazing way to start your meal. Another great starter is the gazpacho de melon with a prawn tartar. This gazpacho gives a modern twist on the classic Spanish plate by creating a sweet but savory infusion.

Not only are their appetizers high quality, but so are their main dishes. Casa Alberto makes an incredibly flavorful and hearty callos a la Madrileña that’s perfect for a mid-day feast. As a U.S. Midwestern girl who loves red meat, I had to second guess myself after trying the ventresca de bonito. This fish plate was grilled to perfection topped with quality olive oil, fresh garlic, and a side of potatoes.

Make sure to leave room for dessert because Casa Alberto won’t disappoint. Their cream-filled crepes topped with homemade blueberry and cheese ice cream are the perfect go-to dessert. But if you’re looking for something with a bit of an alcoholic twist, the apple and cider sorbet is highly recommended.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Check out all the spots in Barrio de Las Letras featured on Naked Madrid!




Street spotlight: Calle Ruda, a tiny portal between La Latina & Embajadores


It goes without saying that there’s no shortage of things to do in Madrid. In fact, sometimes there’s so much, you don’t know where to start. On those days when the sun’s shining and you’re itching to get out of the house, sometimes it’s best to just walk to a cool part of town and let the city do its thing. We’re here to give you some inspiration.

Calle de la Ruda

La Latina and Embajadores—bustling multicultural hubs—are connected by a string of tiny streets full of surprises. One of them is Calle Ruda, which takes you straight from Mercado La Cebada to Plaza Cascorro, and makes the very short walk well worth it.

Calle Ruda by Naked Madrid

Onis, for old-school charm

If you enter the street from Calle Toledo, you’re greeted by the classic corner bar, Onis.

17841700_10155963910313835_720716721_n

This place is the definition of castizo. Tapas in the glass display case, tobacco machines, weird arcade games, and a grumpy server who has probably been here since the place opened (which was 1976, I’ve learned).

17820908_10155963910393835_448289349_n

Ruda Café, for coffee

Looking for something more modern? We got you. Keep heading down Ruda and you’ll come across Ruda Café, a new (opened last year) coffeeshop that’s riding the wave of java experts that has hit Madrid in recent years. We’re not mad about this trend. And yes, they have wifi. They also sell packaged artisanal coffee and tea, jam, art, and coffeemakers.

IMG_2729

17820780_10155963904983835_1900833373_n

17820909_10155963904858835_379831595_n

17842215_10155963904928835_237284831_n

De Piedra, for handmade jewelry

But there’s only so much coffee you can drink (unfortunate, I know). So now that you’re fueled up, you’re ready to browse the cute little shops of this gem of a street. If you’re a fan of jewelry and creepy mannequins, pay a visit to De Piedra, an artisanal jewelry shop at C/ Ruda 19. They haven’t been at this location long, but the store has been open for some 15 years.

17857592_10155963864823835_1533946670_n

17857465_10155963864888835_1141284862_n

Molar, for records, books and cassette tapes

Next you’ll come across my personal favorite place on the street, Molar. Think record store meets bookshop.

IMG_2724

17821349_10155963865018835_890609994_n

They even sell cassette tapes, which is not something you see every day in Mad City.

Mamá Elba, for something sweet

Got a sweet tooth? Mamá Elba has been open a mere 3 weeks, and is already drawing a loyal customer base. Their selection of ice cream (including vegan and gluten-free), cakes, and coffee will leave you overwhelmed by heavenly choices.

17842187_10155963894153835_1227694313_n

17841800_10155963894068835_1017332209_n

Erre Catorce (R14), for art and design

R14 is another brand new spot on the street, just open for a month. It’s a modern interior design shop, with local art, restored vintage furniture pieces (from around the world, namely Scandinavia and the US), apparel, and lots of cool home decor.

18143201_120332000349190366_1819156447_n

18136347_120332000348247881_387440227_n

18136825_120332000356919584_2046257165_n

Soon they’ll be putting on events to promote and discuss interior design and art, so keep your eyes peeled and follow them on Facebook.

La Tienda de Cerveza, for craft beer

Next up: craft beer. Okay, I lied before, THIS place is my favorite. La Tienda de Cerveza is a must in La Latina (and in the city, really). The shelves are lined with hundreds of bottled or canned craft beers and ciders from both Madrid and around the world. They have a few tables in the back, and they hold tasting events often. An absolute must for cervecerxs.

17842438_10155963904758835_1982153364_n

Tienda Biológica, for something healthy

Something I love about Madrid is that you can eat healthy without going bankrupt. Tienda Biológica is living proof of this. This small organic food shop sells health products at reasonable prices, and it’s run by the sweetest lady.

IMG_2726

IMG_2727

La China Mandarina, for a great meal in a modern space

And last but not least (and not even covering half of the street’s spots), for a great meal and a laidback ambience, visit La China Mandarina at the end of Calle Ruda (closest to Plaza Cascorro). It’s one of those places that masters the art of offering both very traditional and very modern cuisine on the same menu. So if you’re craving a tortilla de patatas but your friend has a hankering for a vegan burger, there’s something for everyone.

17842005_10155963910503835_109243198_n

They have great wifi and won’t roll their eyes if you work on your laptop all morning (I know from experience).

Calle Ruda is just one of a plethora of tiny goldmines in Madrid. If none of these spots call your attention (tough crowd!), we suggest you still come to the area on a beautiful day and just get lost. You can’t go wrong.

 




Taproom Madrid: the craft beer bar we were all waiting for


If you’re anything like me, you’ve been patiently awaiting a bar with a great selection of quality craft beer.

Over the past few years, there have been a few contenders. In fact, just in the past year, several new cervecerías artesanales have popped up around the city center, especially in the Malasaña and Lavapiés neighborhoods.

But with relatively small selections, these bars have left the diehard fans much to desire.

That is, until Taproom Madrid came onto the scene.

16358593_10155715046598835_730062657_n

Tucked into the up-and-coming university neighborhood of Moncloa, Taproom Madrid offers 40+ delicious craft beers on tap, from IPAs to porters, pale ales, stouts, amber ales and everything in between.

Taproom is one of those place where there’s something for everyone. Not sure which beer to order? You can do a tasting of four different cañas for 10€. Or you can always ask the friendly and beer-savvy bartenders, who recommended me the Founders’ Porter (spoiler alert: it’s the stuff dreams are made of).

If you come hungry, Tierra Burrito (the work of the same owners) is right next door, and you can bring your burrito to the bar while you sip a cold one.

Beer + burritos + good music… what more can you ask for?

16395533_10155715047083835_434111930_n

As if that weren’t enough, if you’re a soccer fan, there’s an added bonus: the space’s enormous projector screens always have a game on.

Although the space is gigantic by Spanish standards—with two seating areas plus a patio—the place still gets full to the brim by 8pm. Go early (they open at 6pm) to score a seat.

Taproom Madrid: the craft beer bar we were all waiting for

Info:

  • Facebook
  • Address: Guzmán El Bueno, 52
  • Metro: Moncloa / Argüelles
  • Phone: 915 50 05 85



Mercadillo Lisboa: A fun Portuguese snack bar in Mercado San Fernando


Brand-new Portuguese eatery Mercadillo Lisboa was waiting for the right moment to join the mercado scene until, six weeks ago, just in time for Tapapiés, it finally opened up in the best spot in Mercado San Fernando. Enter through the main doors, head straight to the middle and turn right – they’re there next to the fun bar Sondelata, which sells blue wine and carrot cava.

Mercadillo Lisboa is owned and run by three pals – two from Lisbon and one from the Canary Islands. Only two of them are in this photo because the other is camera-shy – he hid around the corner.

This is a great place to get authentic Portuguese food, from a variety of quiches and the classic Pastéis de Belém, to empanadas, arancini and everything bacalao. Here are a few photos of their snack food, very proudly displayed by the jolliest of the three musketeers:

Vegetarian spinach quiche

Vegetarian spinach quiche

There are lots of quiches here

There are lots of quiches here

Empanadas and cod croquettes

Empanadas and cod croquettes

Arancini

Arancini

Strawberry cheesecake (wow)

Strawberry cheesecake (wow)

You can also buy a selection of Portuguese beers and wines (including vinho verde), plus an almond liqueur (licor de amêndoa) specially driven over from Portugal by the guy on the right. I bought their last bottle a couple of weeks ago and with it came this story – suddenly €12 seemed like an absolute steal. You’ll be glad to know that they’ve since been back to Portugal and brought another few bottles for us, but get it while you can – or I will!

Lots of Portuguese wines and liquors

Lots of Portuguese wines and liqueurs

A selection of Portuguese beers

A selection of Portuguese beers

Pull up a chair at Mercadillo Lisboa or mingle in its sphere of influence with a vinho verde and a bocadillo de bacalao. And just so you know, you’ll probably bump into me.

Info

  • C/Embajadores, 41
  • Metro: Lavapiés/Embajadores
  • Facebook

Opening hours:

  • Mon: Fri: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – midnight
  • Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm



Manzana Mahou: Gourmet Art Experience


Manzana Mahou is the concept sponsored by Madrid’s most iconic beer, Mahou. It’s located in Malasaña (between metro stops Tribunal and Alonso Martinez) at Palacio de Santa Bárbara, a beautiful palace built in 1866. For the third consecutive year, the outdoor space has been turned into a popular terrace designed to provide an oasis during Madrid’s warmest months.
Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

The idea behind Manzana Mahou is to bring together art, gourmet food and beer, to create a unique experience. It is open until October 8th, after which it will be temporarily closed until next summer. This year, the stars of the show will be chefs María Marte from Allard Experience, Javier Goya, Javier Mayor and David Alfonso, from Triciclo and Roberto Ruiz from Cascabel by Punto MX.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

These top chefs will be in charge of creating exclusive dinners inspired by the four resident artists at Manzana Mahou. In addition to this, two restaurants, La Cabra and Tandem will offer a more casual dining experience. La Cabra is a Michelin Star restaurant that will also offer brunch on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm for only 25€, led by renowned chef Javier Aranda, who at just 29 is one of the most acclaimed chefs in Spain. Tandem, on the other hand, is Triciclo’s little brother which has also become a leader in Madrid’s restaurant scene.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

This year, the outdoor space has expanded, enhancing the experience. Four artists will be exhibiting, Julia Llerena, María Platero, Françoise Vanneraud and PLAYdramaturgia. The latter are a group of artists that create a mix between visual and performing arts, while the first three are focused mainly on visual arts. 

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

Entrance on Calle Hortaleza

Open Monday to Sunday, from 11am to 1am, Manzana Mahou is a great opportunity to try some of Madrid’s greatest restaurants at a more affordable price while enjoying art and a few beers.

Info

Facebook & Website

Address: Calle Hortaleza, 47

Metro: Alonso Martínez & Tribunal




Cervezas Madriz: Craft beer with Vietnamese treats in Chamberí


There is no doubt that Madrid has a long-standing relationship with beer, but the city’s newly thriving craft beer scene is revitalizing the bars of its diverse neighborhoods. Cervezas Madriz Hop Republic attracts those in search of a damn good craft beer and does not disappoint. Each week, their eight taps rotate to include their own artisanal beers as well as a selection of other local and craft beers.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Cervezas Madriz exemplifies the balance-and-blend authenticity of Madrid from the heart of Chamberí on Calle Cardenal Cisneros. The chic bar draws inspiration from the city itself by naming its craft beers after barrios (including their very own Chamberí) while adding a unique spin to the menu by featuring Vietnamese-inspired tapas. The cat, symbol of Madrid residents, can be seen throughout the bar on every label and menu.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

It was Thursday night; my friend Annette and I were seated on the last pair of bar stools except for those in the back corner. The lively atmosphere was amplified by the sounds of chatter and laughter while the bartender, Javi, gave us an overview of the beer list and suggested we try a tasting flight of some of the most popular.

And so we did.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Bar-goers are invited to educate themselves while they enjoy themselves at Cervezas Madriz. The menus feature profiles on selected brews and enumerate the proper way to taste beer.

Cervezas Madrid by Naked Madrid

Following the steps, Annette and I tried the four beers on our flights. While my favorite was the Chamberí and hers was the blonde Arapíles, they all were perfectly paired with our tapas of dumplings and spring rolls.

Find your new favorite artisanal brew? Not to worry, Cervezas Madriz can bottle it for you take bring home.

Madriz offers a fresh, new atmosphere where craft beer connoisseurs can taste the spirit of Madrid.

Info

Facebook & Web

Address: Calle Cardinal Cisneros 21




The Place: Come, eat, and stay a while


NOW CLOSED

Eduardo opened The Place for the reason we all hope anyone would open a restaurant: he wants you to come over and try his food.

His finely tuned menu is the result of years of travelling around the world. Every dish we tried transported us to a different place, but every ingredient used is home-grown in and around Madrid.

This is reason enough to make The Place “the place to be”, but while we were there, other punters didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. They came for a coffee, suddenly had a cheese/meat platter in front of them, then dinner, and before they knew it, were holding a Caipirinha. Folks were getting totally carried away, confirming that The Place is also a pretty nice place to hang out.

IMG_1699 (1)

You can come to The Place for any reason (food, cocktails, wifi), but we were here for dinner, and as you do here in Spain, we decided to share everything.

The Asian-style Waka-Mola Salad with a guacamole and soy-sauce dressing is how I shall make salad from now on. The tabbouleh told tales of the Middle East, and the French-style quiche was packed full of Mediterranean vegetables. The subtle spices in Eduardo’s pumpkin soup momentarily transported me to India before I was hoisted north to Iceland with the Viking Veggie toasted goats’ cheese sandwich, and back to earth with a rustic baked ricotta cheesecake.

IMG_1704 (1)

IMG_1700 (1)

IMG_1709 (1)

IMG_1711 (1)

IMG_1717 (1)

As you can see, Eduardo has a bit of a thing for cutlery. The hallmarks on each handle tell a story, and if you look closely, you’ll find pieces from all corners of Europe, which is exactly where he picked them up. My teaspoon was made in Sheffield between 1900 and 1940! If you’re into cutlery too, you’ll find a haul of Spanish gems in the Rastro every Sunday.

There’s also an unusually good selection of artisanal beers – blond Czech lager and Cibeles Imperial IPA are on tap – and several bottled beers. You’ve also got plenty of local wines to choose from, plus an extensive cocktail and spirits menu.

IMG_1719

The front of the restaurant has a large solid-wood table, ideal for either groups or MacBooking soloists, and when summer eventually arrives, the wall-to-wall windows will be flung open. Even better is the snug through the back where the seating is comfy and cosy and stylishly un-matching. If you can, nab the sofa next to the wood-burning fireplace and upright piano and have a jangle on it if you graduated beyond Chopsticks.

IMG_1723 (1)

Info

  • Address: Calle del Noviciado 16
  • Metro: Noviciado & Plaza España



La Virgen brewery - worth the trip out to Las Rozas


As you might imagine, dragging myself out of bed and going to work on a Saturday morning is not really my idea of a good time, especially when it involves getting on a bus and schlepping all the way to Las Rozas. Ok, so it’s not really THAT far (about 20 minutes on the bus from Moncloa) but since I was making the effort to get out there, why not aprovechar and visit Cervezas La Virgen brewery and tap room afterwards?

Cervezas La Virgen

I’m sure most of you have tried one of the delicious artisan beers made by La Virgen, or at least seen them around at events like MadrEat. At their brewery in Las Rozas they offer tours (on Wednesdays only), tastings and, most importantly, a tap room where you can sample all of their tasty beverages. After I was done with work on Saturday, I toddled off to meet my friends there for some lunch and a few beers in the sunshine.

A pint of the good stuff

The brewery is located on an estate called Európolis, which perhaps isn’t the most picturesque corner of Madrid, although there was a nice yard full of cherry pickers across the road, plus the shop next door was called Bebépolis (sadly just full of baby stuff, not another place to drink at).

The beers on offer

We tried the Madrid 360 beer and a tasty IPA called Esperanza (they’d run out of the Veraniega) and both were excellent.

Bar food

They also serve a variety of bar food, including burgers, hotdogs and plates to share such as potato wedges and pinchos morunos. Again, all very tasty.

The outdoor terrace

It’s a popular spot for a Saturday afternoon, so all of the long tables inside were heaving with punters eating, drinking and making merry. We managed to grab a table outside on the terrace, which was very pleasant in the sunshine and afforded us the excellent view of the aforementioned cherry pickers. The whole place really had the feel of an American brew pub about it.

La Virgen

La Virgen isn’t exactly in the most convenient of spots, so the easiest way to get there is probably by car. However, if the car isn’t an option or no one fancies being the designated driver, there are plenty of buses from Moncloa to Las Rozas, and it’s a short(ish) walk to the brewery from there. The tap room is open every day from 12:30-16:30 and from 18:30-00:00, except for Sunday afternoons and Mondays. And for those of you who just can’t get enough, they also do beer to take away!

Cerveza para llevar

Info

Where: Parque Európolis nave A, Calle Turín, 13, 28232 Las Rozas, Madrid

Phone: +34 910 804 742

Website, Facebook and Twitter

Book tour here




Café del Rey, an unexpected restaurant behind Príncipe Pío


Situated on an unassuming street behind Príncipe Pío lies Café del Rey, a modern restaurant that’s totally unexpected. Although it’s a five-minute walk from the train station, as well as the Royal Palace, Templo Dubod and Plaza de España, the street it’s located on is quite off the beaten path.

James and I went on a Saturday night when the center was uncomfortably crowded, as per usual. Dodging pedestrians left and right, we headed down Cuesta San Vicente. Just before reaching the station, we turned right onto a quiet street called Paseo del Rey and bam! We’d completely escaped the city’s hustle and bustle and could finally breathe again.

Two minutes later we arrived at the restaurant, whose stylish decor stands out among the surrounding residential buildings. What is this modern restaurant doing here? It looks like it should be in Malasaña, Chueca, or even Salamanca. That said, we were happy it wasn’t located in those neighborhoods because it gave us the chance to try something new and head in a different direction.

cafe del rey front bar

photo from their Facebook, as are all the high-quality pics below!

The front part of the venue is a casual bar, delicatessen and shop. You’ll find sandwiches on baguettes, mouthwatering cakes and other treats on display, plus a great beer selection and wine list. We went for dinner so we sat in the dining area in the back, also chic and with plenty of space to remind us we weren’t in an itsy bitsy bar in La Latina (which we love, just sometimes we crave some leg room).

inside cafe del rey

As we were eating dinner, we couldn’t help but talk about how oddly situated the restaurant was. How could anyone find it if they weren’t looking for it? Bottom line is you couldn’t. That’s kind of why we like it. While in the summer I’m sure it’s always packed because of its beach-themed outdoor terrace, during the wintertime I imagine the clientele is more from the neighborhood, as well as people coming in from Principe Pio or after spending the day along Madrid’s river. They also hold events like wine and beer tastings that bring in patrons.

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

Back to our dinner: James got a burger (which the waiter recommended) and I went with the salmon with vegetables (I’m on a bit of a health kick these days), accompanied by a few glasses of red wine.

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

The table next to us was having a true feast and I must say the pasta and tuna dishes they ordered looked huge. We enjoyed our meal and the price range was reasonable. For example, the burgers cost €8-11. We didn’t end up trying their famous cakes which I honestly regret. That’s their specialty – the red velvet and carrot cake in particular – and they looked incredible!

cafe del rey cake

cafe del rey cakes

The wait staff were also very friendly and attentive. Since Café del Rey serves breakfast and brunch menus too, we’ve got plenty of reasons to go back. I also can’t wait till summer to check out their outdoor seating areas.

Info