Satisfaction Guaranteed at Santo Pecado


Among my friends it’s no secret that in the summer you can’t keep me in. I’m more than happy to play the part of being a social butterfly and my flat is rarely where you’ll find me between the months of May to September. But as the temps start to drop and the dark nights draw in, it becomes harder and harder to prise me off the sofa and to step away from the cocoon of scented candles, red wine and of course, Netflix.

But you know, a girl’s gotta eat. So when I heard about a new burger place that was literally a mere hop, skip and a jump from where I reside, I switched my pyjamas for a playsuit and headed out on the town.

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The place in question was Santo Pecado. At first glance it could easily be dismissed as just another place to grab a burger, but appearances can be deceptive and Santo Pecado is not your average burger joint. First things first, the owners are serious about the good stuff, aka – the meat. The beef hails from a farm in Toledo and there is nothing remotely McDonalds-esque here about what’s between the buns.

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All organic and responsibly sourced, the taste of the meat (having been cooked over carbon) was most definitely worth leaving the toasty confines of my casa. Next came the burger toppings. If you’re indecisive (quite possibly one of my worst afflictions), trying to decide what was going to delicately rest upon my beaut of a burger was not an easy choice. Along with all your standard options, cheese, bacon and the like – there was foie gras on offer – meaning that you could quite literally pimp your dins so to speak.

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Aside from the Toledo hailing beef, Santo Pecado boasts having Wagyu beef on the menu – see, I told you this was pretty far removed from Maccies. My friend assured me that the Wagyu option melted in the mouth and was essentially accountable for us not having room for dessert (although that could also be partly due to us indulging in both nachos and chicken fingers to start – both of which were equally delicious).

Santo Pecado burger joint in Madrid

The restaurant loving folks of Madrid can be a tough crowd. In these post crisis days (of which we’re all grateful for), you really need to have something that little bit special to cut it in an increasingly crowded market place. There are literally more restaurants popping up on a weekly basis in Madders, than Elizabeth Taylor had diamonds. So if you don’t have that USP nailed – you’ll struggle to survive. The fact that Santo Pecado has taken the humble hamburger and elevated it to gourmet status, suggests to me that they have what it takes.

Again, located in the ever increasingly popular barrio of Chamberí, there’s no shortage of nearby bars, making it the ideal place to line your tum before a night of drinking, dancing and debauchery. If good meat equals good times in your language, halt that Netflix binge momentarily and binge on a burger instead.

Santo Pecado

  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Address: Glorieta de Quevedo, 4
  • Metro: Quevedo
  • Phone: 91 057 13 66



That’s Amore at Aió


Following numerous debates, with numerous friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tuesdays are officially THE worst day of the week. Mondays, well, I can just about grin and bear them – especially if you’re still all warm and fuzzy from weekend based fun.

But by Tuesday, the forthcoming weekend just feels way out of reach and if you’re like me, it’s the day when you decide to haul yourself back to the gym – usually after a couple of days of complete over indulgence.

In light of this newly held belief, a good friend of mine suggested that we should always have dinner together on a Tuesday; purely to take the sting out of its tail. So last Tuesday we found ourselves happily ensconced at Aió, my local Italian in Malasaña that could give any spaghetti serving spot in Sardinia a run for its money.

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To kick off proceedings we both opted for a Negroni to transport us to sunnier days spent in Italy, rather than a somewhat chilly and crisp November evening in Madrid. The spritz alone raised a smile and that was before the eating part of the evening had commenced, of which there was a lot.

Where Italian food is concerned, I can exercise next to no self restraint – suffice to say, we feasted. With such a tempting menu on offer, boasting all the well loved (and well known) classics, it would have been hard not to.

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Like many other semi foodies, I’ve found myself arguing with pretty much every Spaniard on Earth regarding the fiercely coveted title of ‘the best cuisine in the world’ – because of course, it comes as no surprise that Spaniards (in general) feel that they deserve the crown.

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But I beg of you (and please don’t kill me for saying so) that in my humble opinion, Italian food is where it’s at. Nobody does comfort food better and on a Winters evening, a big bowl of pasta feels like being enveloped in a hearty hug; and I’m all for a cuddle when it’s cold.

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We split a burrata and a carpaccio because quite frankly, any good Italian joint worth its salt should be able to deliver deliciousness on both. Aió didn’t disappoint, both were inhaled without a second thought in all their luscious, lovely glory.

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The starters were followed up with a glorious gorgonzola based pasta dish that was peppered with prawns and a quattro formaggi pizza (half of which came home with me in a doggy bag) as my eyes had clearly been bigger than my belly at this point.

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Saying that though, is anyone capable of saying no to a cheeky pud? I’m evidently not, as we rounded off the previously nicknamed ‘Bluesday Tuesday’ with a tiramisu and a gin tonic for the road. We left with vows of friendship having being reaffirmed, appetites having been satiated and the edge having been well and truly taken off a potentially terrible Tuesday.

Aió’s charm is found in the home cooked feel of the food and the fizz in their Aperol spritz.

Info

Also check out a previous Naked Madrid post on Aió




Trikki, homemade New Orleans cuisine with family recipes


Trikki restaurant was opened in Chamberí about a year ago by owners Yuliet McQuitty (New Orleans) and Rodolfo Rodriguez (Venezuela), and together they’ve brought the spirit of New Orleans to the neighborhood. As soon as you walk in, you’ll feel a refreshingly down-to-earth ambience and lots of jazz-inspired decor, from drum-shaped lamp shades to drawings of musicians and trumpets on the walls.

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Yuliet will graciously greet you and walk you through the whole menu; while each dish will be prepared from scratch by Rodolfo, a.k.a. “the kitchen commander.” Everything at Trikki is made from traditional home recipes and select ingredients to bring the authentic flavors of New Orleans to your table. 

Trikki New Orleans Madrid Restaurant Naked Madrid

The menu features all the city’s classics: fried green tomatoes, gumbo, jambalaya, po’ boys and the famous bananas foster dessert. You’ll also find a few Venezuelan items sprinkled in there. Since it was our first time trying New Orleans cuisine, Yuliet suggested we order their signature dishes – all packed with flavor and spices.

Here’s how it went down:

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We started with a half-portion of fried green tomatoes, a delicious introduction to what followed.

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Next up was the gumbo, a hearty New Orleans stew filled with rice, chicken, sausage, langoustine and so many other delicious ingredients. What stood out to me the most was the okra – I don’t think I’ve ever had okra in Madrid.

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Then we had the ultimate jambalaya. This rice dish is on the spicy side, so Yuliet recommends people try it on their second visit to Trikki, unless you like a little kick to your meal. It turned out to be James’ favorite dish of the night.

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Yuliet also said a true New Orleans experience wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the Po’ boys, which are essentially gigantic sandwiches. We ordered the one with soft-shell crab, lettuce, tomato and a special sauce. So good.

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Needless to say, we had a full-on feast! So when we got to the homemade dessert section, we ordered what seemed like the lightest option: quesillo, a typical Venezuelan dessert that’s similar to flan with a hint of lime.

On our next visit we’ll save room for the New Orlean’s classic: bananas foster, served on a dish that they flambé right in front of you. We did get the chance to watch the pyrotechnics at the table next to us, however, and it looked amazing!

Here’s a pic of the bananas foster from Trikki’s instagram so you get the idea.

bananas foster at Trikki

So when it comes down to it, Trikki’s concept is rather simple: home recipes, traditional ingredients and Southern hospitality, which makes for a great combination. Just make sure to go with a good appetite and friends who like to try new dishes and flavors.

Trikki




Slow down at Slow Mex Madrid


Julie Andrews once sang about these are a few of my favorite things and if I were to pen some similar lyrics they would read along the lines of: margaritas, tacos and anything with a bit of spice.

In light of this, a long Saturday lunch spent at Slow Mex wasn’t exactly a hardship. A low key Mexican joint on Calle San Vicente Ferrer, that does a very nice sideline in craft beers is the ideal place to bunker down for the afternoon now that coat season is well and truly upon us in Madrid.

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Slow Mex has a big open space that feels slightly reminiscent to a pub back in Blighty (again, this could be thanks to the array of beers on tap). It feels like an unpretentious neighbour who invites you over and makes you feel instantly at home.

As it’s essentially a mecca for all things Mexican, all the standard offerings are present on the menu. Tacos, nachos, burritos – they’re all there. However, the homemade grub does offer a couple of fun twists on the to-be-expected tortilla based treats.

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We tried a fairly unusual starter. It was sort of similar to a kind of chowder but with a kick and studded with spicy prawns; it brought me back to life after a particularly boozy evening the night before. We rounded off the leisurely lunch with a brownie.

Again, it was a slightly pimped up version of an old favorite as this pud offered up sugar and spice – as it had just touch of chilli in it. It was downright delicious and had us reaching for one last margarita for the road.

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Special mention has to go to the Maitre D, Mark. He towed the line between clearly knowing his stuff (and wanting to share it with us) and being attentive enough without us feeling like we had a third person dining with us, which can sometimes be the case. He also pointed out that they have a happy hour. Am I the only one who views winter as the perfect excuse for day drinking? Surely not.

Either way, we left Slow Mex giggling and gloriously full. Thanks to the crispy duck tacos that I’m still thinking about, the diet can always wait until tomorrow. I’m just thinking of my winter insulation and working on my extra layer in the meantime.

by @littlemissmadrid

Slow Mex Madrid

  • Facebook, Website & Instagram
  • Address: Calle de San Vicente Ferrer 33
  • Metro: Tribunal or Noviciado
  • Phone: 915 326 791



Where to Take Your Mom in Madrid – Round 2


Knowing where to take your mom in Madrid can be tough, especially if she’s already visited you five or six times. So here’s a follow-up to my first version of this post with some fresh ideas, some favorites, and some recommendations from fellow Naked Madrid writers – and my mom, too, of course. She also helped me edit this whole piece. Thanks ma! 

Not to mention these ideas are great for any out-of-town guests. Here goes:

1. Museo del Romanticismo for an intimate art experience

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Madrid has several charming museums worth visiting, and if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate their small size. My mom and I loved Museo de Artes Decorativas and Museo Naval; but we enjoyed Museo del Romanticismo the most. Something about wandering around someone’s former mansion makes it unique, and each room tells a different story. Just stay on the grey carpet or the attendant will scold you, like she did my mom when she wanted to take a closer look at the 19th-century furnishings and art! Plus it has a wonderful tea room.

For more ideas, check out Madrid’s obvious and not-so-obvious museums (and how to get in for free!)

2. Mad Improv events for fun and laughter

Mad Improv jams at VeraContent

This was such a great discovery. My mom has been to Madrid several times over my ten years of living here, yet we never quite found the right way to spend an evening out that didn’t just involve food. Mad Improv is an English-speaking theater group that holds shows (right now on Thursdays at La Escalera de Jacob) and regular workshops and jams at VeraContent (Naked Madrid’s sister company).

Jams cost 3€ and include a first drink. Anyone is welcome to get up and join in on improv games, or you can just watch if you’re on the shyer side – understandably so, as you’ll see some pretty impressive improvisors up there. Either way, you’re going to laugh a whole lot. I promise.

Here’s a full post on Mad Improv to find out more.

3. Juana la Loca for excellent Spanish food

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Juana la Loca is an exceptional family-run restaurant in La Latina, serving Spanish food with lots of fusion and lots of love. Everything you eat here is exquisite, from the pintxos at the bar to the main dishes. I had been several times before I finally got the chance to speak to one of the family members, the son, who explained everything on the menu with such passion. Culinary arts clearly run in the family.

4. Bosco de Lobos and Ana la Santa for cozy and chic diningBosco de Lobos Madrid

I wanted to include a few more restaurants on this list so I asked for recommendations from Cat, one of Naked Madrid’s most active writers. With no hesitation at all, she said: “Bosco de Lobos and Ana la Santa are both mum pleasers!” Bosco de Lobos is situated in a beautiful courtyard of an architecture school in Chueca, and its casual-chic look immediately lures you in. Ana la Santa also has a great location, right in Plaza Santa Ana. Cat especially recommends going here when it’s cold outside, as it’s the perfect place to warm up.

Check out Cat‘s articles on Bosco de Lobos and Ana la Santa – I’d definitely take her word for it.

5. Chuka for Japanese ramen and gyozas

Chuka Ramen Bar Portada

Once you’ve had your taste of Spanish food, you shouldn’t feel bad about going to an international restaurant. Really, it’s okay. Madrid’s culinary scene is full of fusion cuisine from all over the world, and Madrileños love it. Chuka is one of our all-time favorites for ramen, gyozas and baos. And we just found out the owners are actually two Americans who have been living in Madrid for over a decade. Go figure!

Here’s a full post on Chuka. Another great restaurant nearby is L’Artisan Furansu Kitchen, offering French-Japanese fusion cuisine and a menú del día that changes daily.

6. Salmon Guru for fun cocktails

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Before going into Chuka we had a half hour to kill so we walked down the street and got a drink at Salmon Guru. This funky bar has a great cocktail selection and truly unique decor. If we’d stayed a little longer and sampled another round, my mom thinks we might have solved the mystery of what “Salmon Guru” actually means.

Read our full post on Salmon Guru here.

7. Swinton & Grant for when you’re working

Swinton & Grant art books and coffee Naked Madrid

Coffee shops are always great places to park your mom while you’re working (or napping). If she hasn’t brought her own book with her, she’ll surely find something to read at Swinton & Grant – a café that sells art books and also has a downstairs gallery – while enjoying a cortado, a spicy ginger soda, or a beer.

Another one of my mom’s favorites, mentioned in the previous article, is Café La Libre, right by the Reina Sofia museum. She couldn’t resist going back twice on her most recent visit. And we always make a pit-stop at Desperate Literature to check out their international book selection and delightful event calendar.

8. Templo de Debod for stunning views

Templo de Debod Naked Madrid

This beautiful ancient Egyptian temple is perched on a hill providing breathtaking views of the city, making it the perfect spot to watch the sunset or have a picnic. Templo de Debod is also a great place to walk to after a visit to the Royal Palace or the Cerralbo Museum which are both a hop skip away. You’ll find a free-entrance museum inside the temple – one of Mad Improv’s organizers, Summer, said her parents loved it.

9. Casa Pueblo for another cocktail

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I’ve been going to this bar since my first year in Madrid. You can bring anyone here – a date, a friend, a colleague. There’s something warm and special about Casa Pueblo that makes me keep coming back. And my mom couldn’t agree more. There’s also a small stage in the back where they regularly put on live music. 

10. The Rastro for a Sunday flea market experience

When I asked for a recommendation from Leah, she said: “My mum absolutely loves the Rastro, of course. She wants to buy everything but can’t fit it in her suitcase, but she always manages to squeeze something in like a spoon!”

Leah has been writing about and capturing the Rastro for years on her awesome blog, Madrid No Frills, and instagram accounts @rastrolife and @portaitofmadrid. Here’s her latest Rastro-inspired post: Seven eccentric museum-worthy collections found only in the Rastro

11. Shopping day in Malasaña – and a mandatory drink afterwards

Mojitos at Cubanismo, a rooftop bar in Malasaña

Mojitos at Cubanismo, a rooftop bar in Malasaña

When it comes to shopping, I like getting it over with in one shot on Calle Fuencarral (which merges with Gran Vía if you want to hit all the big stores like Zara and H&M). Afterwards, there’s beer and tapas waiting for you at some of our favorite spots. I recommend going into one of the happening food markets in the area – Mercado de San Ildefonso or Mercado de San Anton – both with great outdoor seating areas.

Another amazing place for a post-shopping drink is El Paracaídas. This multi-story and multi-purpose concept store actually has two rooftops – our favorite is Cubanismo, a tropical rooftop escape!

12. Food tour for insight into Spanish bar culture and cuisine

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Another Naked Madrid writer, Melissa, recently went on the Context Tavernas and Tapas Tour in Barrio de las Letras. Melissa is a true foodie, and works as a full-time writer and translator at VeraContent, where she researches Spanish food on a daily basis. She said the culinary tour was truly insightful, and a wonderful way to better understand the history and nuances behind Spain’s delicious cuisine as you enjoy every bite.

Read Melissa’s full article on the Context Travel Tours here.

 

Don’t forget to read round one of Where to Take Your Mom in Madrid for more ideas!

You might also like: Take a Peek Inside 5 Historical Madrid Bars

Of course Madrid is full of more options that mothers will love, so please feel free to share in the comments!




Let’s Raise a Toast to The Toast Café


If you’re lucky enough to live in Madrid, as I do, it often feels like the city is your playground. There are exhibitions to see, bars to frequent, parks to embrace, restaurants to sample and of course, come the weekend, long, lazy brunches to be had. I always have the intention to be one of those people who whips up breakfast without breaking a sweat.

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I buy the eggs, the avo, occasionally the chorizo, but when Saturday morning rolls around, frankly, my working week is done and the desire to cook (or clean) for that matter often falls by the wayside. I want to go out. To get dressed up and to head to a place where the mimosas are free flowing and the washing up is SEP (someone else’s problem). So to kick start a week off from work, I headed to The Toast Café so that someone else could poach the perfect egg on my behalf.

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A sister restaurant of Roll Madrid (a recent review of mine), it’s clear to see that good breakfasts run in the family. There’s a fixed brunch menu, which my friend and I plumped for. Needless to say, I don’t think either of us needed feeding again until the evening had swung round as the portion sizes were far from stingy.

We both had coffees to start (natch), followed by croissants, eggs benedict and an omelette respectively. We chased this up with multiple mimosas and to conclude our breakfast of champions we split a cheesecake which was as good as any that I’d had in the States: I’m a fan of a buttery base and this one was so delish that I could’ve eaten it twice.

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With Halloween on the approach and the city turning its attention to all things gruesome and ghoulish, Toast is getting in on the act by offering its own version of a fright night. Order yourself a beer and the bartenders will toss a coin – if it lands on pay, you pay. But… if it lands on freebie, you get to enjoy your tipple on the house. There’s nothing scary about that. Well, apart from maybe the hangover that’ll follow come November 1st.

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It’s worth mentioning that the aforementioned Roll, will also be on the Halloween bandwagon and are offering the exact same deal – pretty tempting with Madrid enjoying a bank holiday the following day. I fully expect most of the city will be nursing sore heads.

Fast forward to November and Toast is hosting its very own Thanksgiving celebration – I’m spotting a pattern, this is a place that likes a party, we’ll get along well. With a menu that will appeal to people from not just across the pond, it’s well worth a look if you know you’ll be pining for turkey and for time spent with friends.

So if boozy brunches are your bag and potential freebies float your boat there’s really only one thing for it. Check out The Toast Café. Great food, great service, and a great excuse to dodge doing the dishes.

Info

  • Facebook, Website & Instagram
  • Address: C/ Fernando el Católico 50
  • Metro: Moncloa, Arguelles, Quevedo
  • Phone: 915493802



Veggie Nirvana at VivaBurger in La Latina


In the foodie hotspot Plaza de la Paja, in barrio La Latina, lies a vegetarian oasis with an oddly beachy vibe, complete with pale teal walls, distressed white wood, and beaded curtains.

VivaBurger in La Latina by Naked Madrid

You can sit inside or at one of their lovely terrace tables in this little nook of La Latina. While there’s almost always a full house (and for good reason), the staff works like a well-oiled machine, and the owner treats everyone like family.

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Everything on the menu is vegan or vegetarian—and seriously delicious. Being shamefully addicted to cheese, I was admittedly nervous to try their vegan burger of the day. But it exceeded my expectations in every way: filling, creamy, and flavorful, it left me more than satisfied. It comes with a salad or soup, fresh fries, and a drink (can be wine or beer too).

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If you’re not feeling a veggie burger, the eatery offers an alternative menú del día: they celebrate a different country every day with a rotating international menu. Indian curry garam masala, Greek salad and musaka, Peruvian avocado ceviche, Moroccan couscous, Argentinian vegetable parrillada and empanadas… and about 20 others.

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For dessert, I had a fresh mint green tea smoothie. Having a huge sweet tooth, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was flavorful and refreshing, especially on such a hot day. If you order dessert a la carte, instead of with the lunch special, you have lots of other options like their scrumptious carrot cake or vegan ice cream.

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Amazingly, the burger for the menú is apparently a more “basic” veggie burger. If that’s basic, I can only imagine the full menu is mind-blowing. I’ll for sure be back for more.

Info

  • Facebook
  • Website: vivaburger.es
  • Instagram: @viva_burger
  • Address: Costanilla de San Andrés 16
  • Phone: 91 366 33 49



Peyote San, Mexican fusion at its most fabulous


I love Mexican food. I mean, I properly LOVE it. A holiday spent in Tulum with tequila on tap was possibly as close to utopia as I’ll ever get on the food front. Tacos, guac, and burritos – I love them all equally and don’t get me started on margaritas – second to gin (and possibly water due to pure necessity) it definitely edges its way into my three most supped liquids. So imagine my intrigue when I’d heard about the menu at Peyote San – a place that’s managed to fuse Mexican munchies with sushi. Definitely worth a gander I mused and suffice to say it was.

Located near Colon (or as I affectionately refer to the area with the ‘giant flag’) Peyote San restaurant is en route to where the good shops are. From the outside looking in it could easily be missed, but the interior is anything but shy and retiring. It’s instantly instagramable (yes, that’s now a word along with with TMI and FML) largely due to the bold graffiti-type images that adorn most of the walls.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

If you’ve travelled to the Big Apple it certainly feels reminiscent of somewhere swish that you’d find on the Upper West Side – choc-a-bloc with beautiful people sipping elaborately prepared cocktails. However, fear not, it wasn’t a case of style over substance as every last morsel was utterly delicious and well worth the late school night in my case.

I’ve yet to visit Japan (although it’s on my bucket list) and the cuisine at Peyote San was the next best thing. I worked my way through A LOT of food to make this review as authentic as poss so drumroll please – I can vouch that the tatiki tuna, chicken gyoza, black cod and the Japanese curry with bonito were all delectable as were the pretty potent Asian Malgalita’s – a Peyote San take on a classic Marg and unquestionably are to be enjoyed with an air of YOLO – and not the worry of reaching for ibuprofen the following day.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

Given the uniqueness of the food, it was also a really nice touch that the chef came over to talk us through the menu and his knowledge and evident passion for the food made the evening all the more gratifying. Peyote San definitely isn’t the type of locale to visit if you’ve got too much month left and not enough money. It’s definitely more of a date night treat or a birthday splurge.

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

Having said that, come Saturday nights, tables are shuffled to the sidelines so that patrons can get their groove on. Having lived in Madrid long enough now to know that Madrileños would favour spending their last fiver on a night out (than something sensible), Peyote San shouldn’t remain on your wish list, pop it in on your hit list now.

Info

  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Address: Calle Marques de la Ensenada 16
  • Metro: Colon
  • Phone: 91 088 22 12

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Elemental Bistro, a local labour of love


Without doubt, we are a generation who want it all and we want it now. So if we’re pretty much always used to getting our own way, particularly when it comes not only to dining out but also to dining in (Hello Deliveroo you absolute game changer), then what is it these days that truly elevates a dining experience from mediocre to marvellous? Well in my humble opinion, it’s the service. The extra Je Ne Sais Quoi that turns a ‘meh it wasn’t bad’, to a ‘sign me up I want a loyalty card’ kind of vibe.

Good food will always be good food, but the story and the service at Elemental Bistro is the stuff that money can rarely buy. Not many 20-somethings these days know what they want to do when they ‘grow up.’ Us millennials have risen up through the ranks being told that we don’t have to stay loyal to a company and await retirement. We can chase our dreams and fulfil no end of goals. The issue being, where do you start?

Elemental Bistrot by Naked Madrid

Someone who faced that quandary head on and has lived to tell the tale is Sergio, the 25-year-old owner of the newly opened Elemental Bistro who spent years living in Paris and has brought some undeniable Gallic charm to the streets of Malasaña. 25 years old, I hear you gasp. Yes. I couldn’t quite believe it (but pardon the French related pun) I expect him to become quite the tour de force when it comes to gastronomy on this side of Gran Via.

Located on Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, Elemental is in prime position to capitalise on the hoards of hipsters that descend on this street daily. However, Elemental is far from being the only option for a foodie in that neck of the woods. So Sergio’s menu (which is of a French-Spanish fusion disposition) is instantaneously eye catching in an area where menus are becoming more than a little generic in style.

Elemental Bistrot by Naked Madrid

It’s not just the menu that is set to carve out a niche either. The décor is stripped back yet charming in equal measure. The walls are simplistic and white, with little nods to Parisian style through the flowers adorning the tables, to the antique typewriter that was perched atop a nearby table.

The owner Sergio who, might I add, won me over within minutes (largely due to his outfit and the soft sounds of the La La Land soundtrack playing in the background – a surefire winner for me) couldn’t be more hands on in his approach as a restaurateur. His knowledge about wine was second to none.

Elemental Bistrot by Naked Madrid

It’s worth noting at this point that the wine menu (along with all other drinks) were housed in old camera roll ‘holders’ for want of a better word. And as I’ve dined out about as many times as the late Hugh Hefner bagged himself a blonde, I can attest that I’ve never seen such a quirky and imaginative way to liven up a wine list.

The food was as downright tasty as anything I’ve sampled in Spain or fancied in France. The goat cheese and pumpkin croquetas were dangerously moreish. The duck salad had even a self-confessed carnivore eating her greens and the Galician short rib, well that really requires no explanation.

Elemental Bistrot by Naked Madrid

Let it be told that I am very much in the camp of ‘I’m a starter person’ rather than being partial to a pud, but Elemental may have just won the award for the best desert ever – I may drop round a certificate and everything. It consisted of a chocolate fondant, violet ice cream and decorated with crystalized parma violet type sweets. It was almost too pretty to eat and the plate that it was served on was very nearly swiped by this vintage loving lady.

There’s no shortage of fabulous places to eat in Madrid. Having said that, there’s far fewer that I don’t as much suggest that you should visit, but I positively implore you to frequent. Kudos to Sergio for marrying not just two nations (but two cuisines) and as a result, he brings the panache of Paris to the people of Madrid.

Info

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  • Address: Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 4
  • Metro: Santo Domingo
  • Phone: 911 475 237



El Sombrero Azul – pupusas, yuca, enchiladas and more


It’s not uncommon for even the most veteran madrileños to stumble upon tucked-away eateries they’ve never noticed. That’s exactly what happened to me when I was strolling along the surprisingly calm Calle de las Hileras near Plaza Mayor. The spicy smells stopped me in my tracks, but what brought me inside was the menú del día written on the window in puff paint.

Monday through Friday, El Sombrero Azul offers a menú salvadoreño-mexicano that includes a bebida (Coke products, beer, sangria, or wine) with a starter big enough to fill you up (like the pupusas shown below), a cocktail (margaritas, mojitos, you name it) along with a delicious main entree. And for dessert, you can choose from coffee/tea, cheesecake, bizcocho de tres leches, and more. All for 12€.

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What’s a pupusa, you may ask?

Most countries have their own version of a warm, breaded ‘sandwich’ filled with meat, cheese, and/or veggies. Food pockets, if you will. Pupusas are the food pockets of El Salvador, and El Sombrero Azul has them down to a science. Shown above are two veggie versions, one with zucchini and the other with frijoles and cheese (my favorite).

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Admittedly, I was a little disappointed in the main entree options, but only because I’m vegetarian. Meat lovers will feel right at home here among the pastelitos de carne, cazuela de cochinita pibil, tacos flauta, and the plato de carne. However, the accommodating staff offered me some pretty good alternatives, like fresh yuca (above) or huevos rancheros.

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If you have room after the first two courses, kick back with a fresh cocktail. Pictured is a delicious blackberry margarita, but they also have mojitos and micheladas, as well as fresh Mexican fruit juices and horchata (although those aren’t part of the menú).

TIP: The best time to go is during the week, because on weekends and holidays the menú price is 15€.

Oh, and the same space hosts a totally different concept by night: it’s called La Cueva de Lola, and it’s all about Spanish food and flamenco shows. Post to come soon on that!

Info

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  • Address: C/ Hileras 6
  • Metro: Ópera or Sol
  • Phone: 910 18 54 53

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