Sahuaro: Mexican magic in the heart of Madrid


Hecho en México. That’s the slogan of this brand new eatery located right in the historic heart of the city, in La Latina’s Plaza de Cascorro. DSC_0061-1024x683

If you’ve spent any time in the homeland of the Aztecs, the Mayas, and the michelada, you’ve probably already fallen in love. Mexico is a country of rich history, cultural diversity, and undeniably delicious food. A couple of years ago I spent a summer living in the rural part of the Yucatán peninsula, and I still dream about it to this day… especially the tortillas.

No, I’m not talking about the egg and potato variety (although those have a special place in my heart as well). And don’t give me any of those floppy flour burrito wrappers. I’m talking about fresh tortillas made from corn, water, and salt. That’s it.

Fresh Mexican corn tortillas

Look at that bundle of pure, corn-based joy.

Sahuaro’s got ’em. As soon as I saw the basket of tortillas arrive at the table, lined with a linen cloth and covered to keep in the warmth, I knew this place was the real deal.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. As soon as we sat down we dealt with the primary priorities: drinks and guacamole. Sahuaro’s drink menu is one of the most exciting things I’ve read in a while. They offer frozen margaritas and classic mojitos for just €3.90, with a choice of strawberry, tamarind, guava, and passion fruit flavors. There are also several other options for under €6, including tropical cocktails and several variations on the iconic michelada (beer with lime juice and spices).

Passionfruit mojito and frozen margarita

Passion fruit mojito and frozen margarita, with a guest appearance by guacamole

Every self-respecting Mexican establishment offers guacamole; but few do it as well as Sahuaro. They serve it right in the avocado skin, atop a mountain of crunchy totopos (corn chips). It’s the perfect blend of avocado, salt, olive oil, and lime, proving that good guacamole doesn’t need to be fancy—just fresh. We were also brought a selection of four sauces with varying levels of spiciness. Each one was unique, and spice-seekers will be satisfied, if not particularly challenged.

Fresh guacamole and corn chips

When it comes to guacamole, Sahuaro keeps it simple.

For the next course, we ordered the house selection of tacos. It includes one of each variety offered on the menu: Guerreros (pork carnitas), Norteños (marinated beef), Del campo (grilled veggies), and Yucatecos (cochinita pork). They were all delicious, but the Yucatecos were the clear winner (although maybe that’s just my nostalgia speaking). The sauce was rich and tangy, the pork tender and juicy, and the pickled onions the perfect accompaniment.

Mexican tacos with pork, beef, vegetables, and pickled onions

My personal taco motto: always get one of each.

Finally, we dug into the chipotle chicken entrée. It was swimming in creamy, slightly spicy sauce, served with refried beans and (hallelujah) more guacamole. Naturally, of course, we ordered an extra basket of tortillas to go with it. But the surprise hit here was the rice, which came in a coconut shell etched with intricate designs. Soft and subtly seasoned, it provided the perfect complement to the rich and hearty dish.

Chipotle chicken, refried beans, guacamole, and rice

Pollo al chipotle

I’ll certainly be returning as soon as humanly possible to sample the rest of the menu, from the salads and ceviche to the enchiladas and desserts. Sahuaro also offers a menú del día during the week and brunch on the weekends, so you can satisfy your cravings no matter what time it is. It’s the perfect place to come for a casual drink with friends or even a date; the interior is elegant and colorful, and the enclosed outdoor patio features tropical plants and comfy couches (plus plenty of fans).

The interior dining area, decorated with indigenous art and bright colors
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Whether you’re nostalgic for your own travels to Mexico, or you’ve always wanted to visit and see what all the hype is about, this place is for you. Sahuaro has done what few restaurants can, combining authentic regional cuisine with an ideal atmosphere, a prime location, and affordable prices. Come, relax, and let yourself be carried away to paradise.

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NAP, real Neapolitan pizza in the heart of Lavapiés


Ahh, pizza. The star of so many childhood memories, last minute dinners, college dorm room feasts, and drunken (or sober) declarations of love. At this point pizza is more than a food; it’s a cultural emblem, no matter what country you’re in.

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But if you want the real deal, you’ll have to go to Naples, where the original Margherita pizza was invented in 1889. And if RyanAir flights to Italy aren’t quite within your budget, head to NAP—Neapolitan Authentic Pizza in Madrid.

As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll be greeted by a rainbow-hued mural by Okuda, the famed Spanish street artist. Check out the wood-fired pizza oven (essential for true Neapolitan crust) as you settle into the bright and airy space.

Obviously, the specialty here is pizza. They offer everything from the classic Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil, and parmesan) to spicy salami and speck, to anchovies and eggplant, to innovative daily specials. If you want to get creative, you can add as many extra toppings as you like (for a small fee).

The pizza is made in the true Neapolitan style: a thin, doughy, and bubbly crust composed of nothing but flour, yeast, water, and salt, topped with tantalizingly fresh ingredients. Each one is enough to fill up one very hungry diner—but if you’re like me you’ll want to save some for lunch (or breakfast) tomorrow. At 6-10 euros per pie, it’s affordable either way.

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Marinara pizza: tomato, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and basil

There’s plenty more on the menu, too. Don’t miss the bruschetta, burrata, and baked eggplant, plus tiramisu for dessert. If you’re going for the full experience, have a limoncello digestif, and then sit back and enjoy the satisfaction that only pizza can impart.

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Eggplant bruschetta, one of the four varieties offered

Pizza may be beautiful in all its various forms (deep dish, frozen, square-shaped cafeteria style…) but if you ask me, nothing beats the original. Give me a charred and slightly sour crust with a thin layer of sweet ripe tomatoes, and I’m sold.

NAP provides just that: pizza in its simplest, truest, and freshest form. Forget Telepizza, get off your couch, and make the trek to Lavapiés—it’s not Naples, but it might just be the next best thing.

Info

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle Ave María, 19
  • Metro: Lavapiés & Tirso de Molina
  • Phone: 932 46 26 15

(Pro tip: NAP also has two locations in Barcelona; Madrid is the latest addition.)




La Musa Malasaña, the restaurant equivalent of a little black dress


According to Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” And in my humble opinion he’s absolutely spot on. Trends come and go, new restaurants pop up more often than I get my roots done (you heard it here first, no I’m not a natural blonde) and seemingly zeitgeist bars can often sink without trace.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

However, some places become perennial favourites that barely need an introduction. Part of the fabric of the city, they become the kind of places so comfortable to visit, that they really are the foodie equivalent of popping on your favourite little black dress, you know, the one that makes you look hot to trot but requires minimal effort.La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

When struggling for dinner inspiration or in times of when you simply can’t be bothered to cook (it happens, let’s be honest) I head to La Musa – partly out of sheer convenience (it’s about a 3 and half minute stroll from my flat, yes that’s a personal best in stilettos) but trust me when I say it’s nigh on impossible to ever spend more 20 euros on dinner AND drinks. Wine ordered, check. An abundance of tapas that’s never swimming in grease and is both pleasing to the eye and not just the tum, double check.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

Having recently gone an understated renovation, La Musa Malasaña is looking lovelier than ever – you know a bit like a friend having gone through a recent break up and has hit the gym, hard. My friend and I ordered a few small plates including one of their most infamous dishes called a ‘bomba’ – I still don’t quite understand what it is, but I will divulge that it’s carby (yes that’s a word) meaty and downright delish, so be sure to opt for one, if not two.

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

I always come away from La Musa with my appetite satiated and my purse (although feeling lighter) not depressingly so. They don’t take reservations so I suggest you pop on your LBD, get in line with your twenty euro note in tow and enjoy.

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Plenti, a great new café & brunch spot in Barrio de Las Letras


I love seeing new family-run places like Plenti pop up in Madrid. Opened just two weeks ago in Barrio de las Letras, the café already feels like it’s been around for a while thanks to the friendly service and comfortable ambience.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Before opening Plenti, owners Sophie (England) and Gonzalo (Spain) had both worked in the restaurant business for years, and spent last year training at Sophie’s mom’s café in Brighton.

They found most of the furniture and decor items at flea markets and antique shops in England, and brought it all back with them in a van. That’s why the menu is written on an old chalkboard that reminds me of my elementary school days.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And the food is served with vintage cutlery and tableware.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

There’s also a long bench in the back from Munich, the typical kind you’d see at a German beer garden.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The menu features a nice variety of fresh and tasty dishes at great prices, so you can try a few different things, or just have a light snack. There are three types of main dishes – huevos a la cazuela (egg casseroles), open sandwiches and salads – all ranging from €4-6. Breakfast items include yogurt cups with fruit, nuts and cereal, and different types of toast, ranging from €2-3.50.

We ordered two “huevos a la cazuela.” The first had tomato sauce, peppers, green onion, black beans and guacamole. So simple and delicious.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And the second had tomato sauce, mozzarella, pesto, black olives and cherry tomatoes… also excellent.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

We also tried the open sandwich (similar to a “tosta”) with guacamole, cherry tomato, green onion, and Greek yogurt – my idea of the perfect snack.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Lastly we had a fresh salad with cherry tomato, green onion, avocado, and celery. As you can see I have a weakness for avocado and this all hit the spot entirely.
Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As for drinks, Plenti offers freshly squeezed juices, typical sodas from England, and excellent coffee. You also can’t miss out on the desserts that Sophie makes from scratch. We had the homemade flapjacks and banana cake, which reminded me so much of my grandma’s recipe.

Plenti Madrid by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

So folks, all I can say at this point is I’m happy to now have Plenti in Madrid, and know you will be too.

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (Facebook & Instagram)

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Chefugee, pop-up dinners featuring homemade cuisines from around the world


Chefugees are monthly dinners organized by Madrid for Refugees, where the entire menu is prepared by a refugee seeking work opportunities in Madrid’s culinary scene. Six events have been held so far, each with a different location and setting, featuring foods from Syria, the Ukraine and Venezuela. The upcoming dinner will be from Cameroon and if you want to attend (I highly recommend you do), you can book online, paying €25 in advance, all included.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

Chefugee dinners are fun, warm and truly insightful events that allow you to try different foods from around the world and show your support in a unique way. They also provide an opportunity for the chefs to share their home country’s cuisine and traditions while showcasing their culinary skills. Following past events, chefs have been hired to work at restaurants and do private catering.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

The last Chefugee dinner was catered by a woman named Wesal from Hama, Syria. She prepared a full-on feast, complete with traditional appetizers, main dishes and desserts. We started out with dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush with pita bread, tabouleh and salad. The main dishes included rice with chicken, and vegetarian options. Everything was homemade, delicious and full of Middle Eastern flavors and spices. Not to mention the portions were generous – there were plenty of leftovers to go around.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

Dinner was served on the floor, with guests sitting on blankets and sharing dishes in the traditional way.

Chefugee Madrid dinner by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

The event was held at one of the volunteer’s homes. We all took our shoes off when we entered, laid our coats and bags down in the bedroom, and were then greeted in the hallway by our organizers, who offered us a glass of wine. We next walked into the living room and found a spot on the floor to sit down. The evening was very warm and casual, with about 30 guests from everywhere.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

There was no formal speech at the end, just a friendly toast (in Spanglish) and a brief introduction about the event and Madrid for Refugees, so patrons can get involved and know more about it. At some events, the chefs like to come out and tell their story; while at others, the chefs prefer to stay more behind the scenes and let the food be the night’s main highlight.

Chefugee Dinner Madrid by A Second Art and Naked Madrid

If you have the chance to attend a future Chefugee event, trust me you’re in for a unique dining experience that’s well worth your while!

Madrid for Refugees: an active, hands-on community

MfR is run by a group of international volunteers who work closely with refugee centers in the Comunidad de Madrid. Their main goal is to help refugees from all over the world to build a life for themselves here in the city, from finding accommodation to work opportunities. All of the funds raised from MfR events and donations go towards helping refugees.

Get involved: events, clothes drives, language exchanges…

Attending a Chefugee event is a unique way of supporting MfR’s efforts. But there are plenty of other ways to get involved, from donating clothes and doing language exchanges to running errands and being a chauffeur. You can also attend their upcoming events, such as the fundraising benefit concert on April 20th, that MfR is joining with MASS to sponsor and host.

Contact info

All photos by Jose Luis Magaña – Instagram: @asecond.art / Facebook / asecondart.com

 




L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen, a Passionate Mix of Japanese and French Cuisine


Take the light, subtle flavors of Japan and the rich, expressive taste of France. Add the culinary artistry and craftsmanship of acclaimed chef, Stephane Shoji, and you’re in for a dining experience that’s nothing short of spectacular.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen offers a mix of traditional Japanese and contemporary French dishes, featured on a parallel – not fusion – menu. The 14€ menú del día (set lunch menu) changes daily, offering original creations that stay true to the restaurant’s dual heritage while featuring international touches, keeping patrons coming back for more on a regular basis.

Decor

A charming red door on an unassuming street in Barrio de Las Letras provides the first hint of L’Artisan’s unique character.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

As you step inside, the simple decor imbues Japanese minimalism, with an unadorned bar area and a long table with the open kitchen in the back.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

By contrast, downstairs you’ll find a warm, romantic atmosphere, with Japanese-inspired art and exposed brick walls that are typical of traditional Madrid cuevas.

Story

L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen was opened four years ago by Paris-born chef Stephane Shoji, who has both French and Japanese heritage. Shoji refined his culinary skills in kitchens around the world, before bringing his “passion project” to life in Madrid. In every dish he expresses his international culinary background and philosophy on cuisine as a craft that brings people together.

Cuisine

We went for dinner and followed our server’s recommendations wholeheartedly, dish by dish, wine by wine. While waiting for our starters we were given delicious tomato soup with an unexpected garnish – popcorn!

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For starters, we ordered the ají no tataki, mackerel tartare with green onion, ginger and aubergine caviar. It was so light and refreshing, the kind of dish I’d order every time and never get tired of.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

We also had the oh-so-rich buta no kakuni, soft pork belly slow cooked for 12 hours in sweet soy sauce. The meat was extremely tender and served in broth that retained all its flavor.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For entrees, we tried the oven-roasted butterfish marinated in saikyo miso which was our favorite dish of the night – simply out of this world.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

We also had the lamb chops offered as a special that night. I just don’t think you can go wrong with any dish here.

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

For dessert we ordered the apple crumble which came highly recommended. A happy silence came over our table as we took the first bite. No words necessary, just go and try it!

L'Artisan Furansu Kitchen by Jose Luis Magaña A Second Art 2

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (@asecond.art)

Restaurant info

  • Facebook
  • Website 
  • Instagram@lartisanmadrid
  • Address: Calle Ventura de la Vega 15
  • Reservations: reservaslartisan@gmail.com
    +34 91 4203172
    +34 626 792 905



Keyaan's: A Taste of the Dominican Republic in Madrid


When it comes to restaurant reviews, the word “authentic” gets thrown around a lot. It’s become a buzzword for people seeking out genuine food and unique eating experiences, but all too often it’s used as a catchall adjective that doesn’t really mean much, a vague and perhaps inaccurate way to lure in customers looking for “the real deal.”

This is not the case at Keyaan’s. If there were ever an establishment that deserved the label of authenticity, it would be this place. Specializing in Dominican empanadas, traditional sides, and homemade desserts, the colorful café brings a true taste of the D.R. to the streets of Chamberí. After opening its doors only two months ago, it’s already accumulated a loyal clientele—and it only takes one bite to understand why.

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The story of Keyaan’s began with a simple craving. Around two years ago, just after her son Ilias was born, Zakiya Ramirez had a powerful longing for a good empanada. Her husband Aderly, who hails from the Dominican Republic, called up his mom and asked for her recipe. After a bit of tweaking and improvisation, he cooked up his very first batch of empanadas using nothing but a hot plate. Zakiya was floored; it seemed her husband had a hidden natural talent that not even he was aware of.

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Zakiya, Aderly, and Ilias Keyaan Ramirez

In the years since, Aderly’s recipe gradually evolved and improved until the couple decided it was time to share his skills with the world. They opened Keyaan’s in November, christening it with their son’s middle name, and it’s already gained a considerable—and well-deserved—reputation.

I recently dropped by to sample some of their signature offerings, with my friend and trusty taste-tester Sophia by my side. We were presented with dish after dish of Dominican delicacies, hitting as many of the menu’s high spots as possible before falling into a full-on food coma.

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First up: the empanadas. Aderly’s specialty is front and center at Keyaan’s, making up the bulk of the menu. You can choose from several fillings (beef, chicken, cheese, vegetables, tuna, and even pepperoni, in a variety of combinations) and two sizes (just one of the big ones will fill you up, but the mini empanadas are too cute to resist). Unlike some versions, these are chock full of the good stuff, meaning you won’t be biting into a pocket of air. The dough is made fresh each day, and every single empanada is hand-formed and fried to order. The result is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and juicy without being greasy; a difficult balance to strike.

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As tempting as it may be to gorge yourself on nothing but empanadas, it would be a crime to leave without sampling the sides. The fritos (flattened and fried plantains, similar to tostones) and bollitos de yuca (fried balls of yucca stuffed with melty gouda cheese) also achieve an ideal equilibrium, indulgent and rich without being too heavy.

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Not to mention the quipes—fried balls of bulgur wheat dough stuffed with chicken, beef, or cheese—a classic dish that arrived in the Dominican Republic by way of the Arab world (you might have tried its Middle-Eastern cousin, kibbeh).

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Upon biting into one, Sophia’s first words were “I just wanna dive into it.” In fact, she named it her favorite of all the dishes she tried, which is certainly saying something. According to Zakiya, it’s a customer favorite as well; almost every Dominican who comes to Keyaan’s orders empanadas with a side of quipes, and they’re far from disappointed. One regular swore that their empanadas are even better than those of the most famous restaurant in Santo Domingo. Needless to say, authentic is an understatement.

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If you’ve managed to make it through the savory stuff without getting too full, you won’t be disappointed by dessert. There’s a wide selection of batidos in flavors ranging from the classics to irresistibly creative inventions. The fruitier options (strawberry, papaya, coconut, and mango) are made the Dominican way, with evaporated milk, while the richer varieties (chocolate, vanilla, Oreo, Kinder Bueno, Ferrero Rocher, galleta Biscoff, and magdalena) are made with ice cream for a more American-style milkshake. They’re served in enormous glasses and topped with whipped cream, ideal for sharing (or not). Not too sweet, perfectly rich, and deliciously creamy. You might be surprised at how fast you can finish one.

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Galleta Biscoff batido: “Like drinking a cookie”

Still hungry? Try one of the sweet empanadas, dreamed up as a way to combine Aderly’s talents with Zakiya’s passion for baking. The same perfectly fried dough, stuffed with apple pie, dulce de leche, nutella cheesecake, Oreo, white chocolate, strawberries, or pineapple… it’s clearly a match made in heaven.

All of the desserts are made entirely from scratch, and rumor has it that Zakiya’s cheesecake is the best in all of Spain. If you want to taste it in all its glory, you can order it by the slice as well as in empanada form. For something a bit more traditional, try the majarete or habichuelas con dulce, classic Dominican desserts made from corn and beans, respectively.

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White chocolate caramel cheesecake

To wash it all down, you can choose from a variety of espresso drinks made with Dominican Café Santo Domingo (“Even the coffee is amazing,” according to Sophia), including bulletproof coffee and affogato. Or give into temptation and go for Zakiya’s signature Nutella hot chocolate, or the Dominican specialty morir soñando (orange or passion fruit juice mixed with evaporated milk). If you want something a bit lighter, there are also several kinds of natural juices.

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Keyaan’s offers weekly specials and events that draw a crowd of expats and locals alike. If you want to sample as many empanada flavors as possible, you’ll appreciate Lunes de Locura, when mini empanadas are available for just €1 each (and larger ones for €2.50). There are also monthly language exchanges, giveaways, and much more on the horizon. Zakiya has big dreams for Keyaan’s, hoping to one day turn it into an international chain with locations in London, Santo Domingo, and the United States. Her customers are already begging her to expand, so they can feed their newly formed empanada addictions no matter where in the world they may be.

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For now, though, we’ll have to be satisfied with this cozy café and its incredible power to transport us from the center of Madrid to the middle of the Caribbean. Keyaan’s is unquestionably authentic, but it’s so much more than that: it’s a place where real homemade food takes center stage, giving us a taste not only of Dominican culture but also of the genuine tradition, dedication, and love that’s folded into each and every empanada. No wonder we keep coming back for more.

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Professional taste-tester Sophia enjoying Keyaan’s specialties

Info

  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Address: Calle Blasco de Garay, 10
  • Metro: Argüelles and San Bernardo
  • Phone: 915 99 38 76



Arts Club Madrid – Binge, don’t purge


I pride myself on revelling in all things indulgent. My mantra is generally something along the lines ‘Money – well you can’t take it with you’ – which come rent day can be a problem. However, if there are treats to be had/bought/sniffed out, then I’m the girl to find them. Upon recently discovering the Arts Club, I quickly realized that it was the kind of place where I’d happily blow my monthly food budget and then spend the remainder of the month wistfully eating beans on toast.

It is glam.

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

We’re talking full on ‘feels like you’re on Sex and the City/channelling your inner Carrie Bradshaw’ glam – which is a bit of a rare find in a city that prides itself on a lack of pretentions. In fact, walk into the Arts Club and it feels as though Carrie Bradshaw’s name is written all over it – not literally, but you know what I mean. It’s the kind of place that you need to pop your heels on for, unless you fancy looking like the proverbial fish out of water.

The food

The menu is a super tempting mix of Asian fusion (a cliché sounding genre I know but the food was anything but lame). 

Date night

Arts Club Madrid Bar & Restaurant Review

The Arts Club is coincidently how to do a date night. This luxurious spot boasts an impressive beer, wine, and cocktail list; the chicest interior design and should someone else be paying (and can therefore stretch to the most sumptuous experience they have to offer) you can bag yourself a table/area for when the dinner part stops and the dancing part kicks in.

Being nestled in the heart of Barrio Salamanca helps it to retain its air of exclusivity but its laidback luxury is coincidently part of its charm. Whilst it may be swish and swanky it’s not intimidatingly so. I suggest, scarp that, I insist that you don your gladrags and spend an evening with the pretty peeps of Madrid.

Photo credit: Arts Club – Madrid

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El Andariego, Your Argentinian Corner Bar in Madrid


A few years ago I went out with friends to see a play at a small theater in downtown Madrid. I don’t remember where we went (we took a taxi there and back, and I just followed along), but I do remember the street was lined with independent theaters and arts spaces, and afterwards we went to a sweet corner bar that I instantly fell in love with. I’d always wondered where that bar was…

Here comes the crazy part. Last month I moved to Calle Ercilla, near Embajadores. As I was walking down my new street one day, I started seeing theater after theater… It all looked too familiar, so I kept on walking and low and behold, there it was! The bar I had gone to all those years ago is called El Andariego, and it’s just how I remembered it.

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

It turns out El Andariego is a neighborhood favorite and pretty well known throughout Madrid. It specializes in Argentinian dishes, the star being the “entrañas” (entrails) which are out of this world, and other grilled meat dishes (€12.50).

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

Then of course they have a selection of homemade empanadas (€2.50-3.50). We tried the spinach and criolla ones which both hit the spot.

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

We also ordered an off-the-charts quiche made with spinach, squash and pumpkin seeds; plus the provoleta, melted provolone cheese (€6 each and delicious).

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

El Andariego also offers vegan options like baba ganoush and hummus, plus a selection of Mexican dishes. As I was watching other plates land on patrons’ tables, I spotted an impressive mountain of quesadillas that I’ll have to try next time.

So far I’ve eaten here twice and each time the bill came out to a total of just 22 euros for 2, including a glass of red wine each. Granted we shared everything but still, it’s very affordable.

So I can say the food, drinks and prices are all great. The only downside? It can get a bit cramped but that’s pretty typical of Madrid bars, especially the good ones. Everybody wants in!

Info

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle del Labrador, 12 (corner with Calle Ercilla)
  • Metro: Embajadores

 




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