Plántate Café, a specialty coffee & plant shop in Lavapiés!


Specialty coffee shops are in demand in Madrid, and thankfully so. I’m sorry old-school bars, but after trying high quality espresso, it’s really hard to enjoy your café con leche anymore.

This feeling was particularly strong for Kevin, a Canadian who’s been living in Spain for eight years and is the owner of the newly-opened Plántate Café. “Everybody who’s into coffee will be able to tell you a story about their first good cup,” says Kevin. “After that moment there’s no turning back.”

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Kevin’s first was in London at Brown’s of Brockley, and it literally changed his life. While living in Lavapiés for years, he longed for a good cup of coffee so badly that he’d bike up to Malasaña’s Toma Café every morning. When the daily trek turned unsustainable, he decided to buy their coffee beans and start making cold brew at home. Then he got a V60 to make filter coffee.

Little did Kevin know, he was slowly becoming a coffee connoisseur. “Opening up a coffee shop was just a side project.” But as is often the case with side projects, they become your full-time job. And that’s just what happened.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Kevin opened Plántate Café in July. Before setting up shop, he and his two friendly baristas – Antonio (Spain) and Fernando (Brazil) – went to train with the top roasters at London’s Square Mile so they could bring their skills back to Lavapiés.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

The guys at Plántate Café are fully dedicated to spreading the specialty coffee culture done right, and proud of the relationships they have with their suppliers. They get their house espressos from three top roasters: Puchero, from Valladolid; Right Side, from Barcelona; and Square Mile, from the UK (whose decaf is said to be the best in the world).

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Their drink menu features the musts: flat white, macchiato, cold brew, filter coffee, an assortment of teas, and more.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

And if you’re in the mood for a snack, you can order toast with avocado, a cup of yogurt with chia seeds or cake.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

You can also buy plants such as cacti and orchids (hence the name, Plántate Café), plus magazines and coffee-making gear from leading brands like Hario (Japan).

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

Since opening they’ve received a lot of local love from the neighborhood, thanks to a balance of excellent coffee and treats at fair prices, a friendly staff and a great ambience.

Plántate Café by Naked Madrid

So come on in and check it out!

Info

  • Instagram: @plantatecafe
  • Address: Calle Mesón de Paredes, 28
  • Metro: Tirso de Molina / Lavapiés




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.)




Boconó Art Wall, Madrid-based photography by "A Second"


About three weeks ago I went into a new specialty coffee shop in La Latina, Boconó, and ordered a cortado to go. The next time I stopped in, I had the chance to sit down with the owner, Carlos, and my friend, José Luis, who happens to be a regular Boconó customer. Our conversation gave me plenty to write about for a first post on Naked Madrid, but there’s so much more to the story!

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid by Naked Madrid

What do you do with a big white wall?

As we were talking, we couldn’t help but notice the blank wall in need of attention. José Luis, who’s a photographer, took out his phone and started snapping photos of coffee cups located around the café, adding filters and creating unique images. One thing led to another, and we all agreed we should transform that floor-to-ceiling canvas into a photo gallery.

Then…

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid

Now

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The process

It took José Luis, Andrea (another friend) and I over a week to get it all set up. I couldn’t possibly count how many hours we’ve spent in Boconó’s basement cutting paper, fitting photos and tinkering with random bits of material. Nor how many trips we’ve taken to the print shop and hardware store. Not to mention how many picture frames we bought, and how many we broke…

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And today, as I look at the wall, I see so much more than beautiful artwork on display. I see the entire creative process that went on behind it, from the first day we sat down with Carlos at his café and pitched the idea, to the way the photos catch your eye even as you walk down the street and peer through Boconó’s window.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

It’s thrilling to see how that seemingly random idea is now something real.

Boconó Art Wall

No longer a big white wall, Bocono Art Wall has become a showcase for local Madrid artists. Come and enjoy your coffee and take a look at the featured exhibits which will change monthly. If you’re an artist and want your work to be showcased, get in touch with A Second on Facebook.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Current exhibit – A Second / Art

The first installation features the images shot at Boconó itself – photos that capture the essence of its coffee, ambience and the neighborhood. All photos are by José Luis Magaña, creator of A Second, a Madrid-based platform meant to create, inspire and share art projects in the city (show some support by liking the Facebook and Instagram pages, please!).

A Second Art by José Luis Magña photography Madrid

More to come

Thank you, Carlos, for your generosity and openness to create a space that supports artists in your café. We look forward to collaborating with you on the Boconó Art Wall and other art-related projects that are currently in the works.

Stay with us as we announce upcoming exhibits, as well as other venues in the near future!

Info

  • #boconoartwall
  • Where: Boconó Specialty Coffee Shop (calle Embajadores, 3)
  • Who: @bocono.coffee @asecond.art @nakedmadrid
  • When: February 17, ’17 (ongoing)

Also read our full article on Boconó, a Specialty Coffee Shop in Plaza de Cascorro

 

 

 




El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Authentic Asturian Oasis


Tucked into the Mercado de San Fernando is a tiny piece of Asturias. From the queso gamoneu to the blue-and-yellow flags marking their territory on every spare inch of the bar, you’ll feel like you’re really there.

El Guaje de Lavapiés is a sidrería that offers some of the most high-quality Asturian ciders, cheeses, and cured meats Madrid has to offer.

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Rafael, the owner, is known around town as “El Guaje,” a term used to refer to someone younger than you in Asturias. El Guaje opened up shop 10 months ago, and is happy with his success, although his dream is to open a full-size restaurant.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

Is the space enormous? No. Does it have wifi? Also no. But what it does have it much better: delicious food, good prices, and no big chain of production and distribution—everything comes straight from our northern neighbors and is grown and made naturally.

Here you see El Guaje’s tosta con membrillo y cabrales—toast with quince paste and blue cheese produced by rural dairy farmers and cured in natural caves (€3.50).

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

Of course, you can also buy these products in bulk to take home and enjoy later.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

But if you’re like me, and nothing hits the spot like a good craft beer, El Guaje’s got you covered, with a selection from Caleya of pale ales, IPAs, ambers, etc., as well as your trusty Estrella and Mahou.

El Guaje de Lavapiés, an Asturian oasis by Naked Madrid

If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive in time for the show—there’s an open space at the center of the market, which happens to be right in front of this bar, where they put on dancing shows, plays, and other cultural events.

¡Puxa Asturias!

Information

PS: Right in front of El Guaje is another one of our favorite stands, Mercado de Lisboa. Check it out!

 




Boconó, a Specialty Coffee Shop & Roaster in Plaza de Cascorro


Having grown up in a family-run café, it goes without saying that cozy coffee shops have a special place in my heart. And Boconó is one of them. Recently opened and situated in Plaza de Cascorro, at the start of the Rastro flea market, here you’ll find top-quality coffee from around the world – lovingly roasted on site – plus homemade desserts and an ambience to suit all moods.

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

The feel

Having coffee here feels like going into a hipster café in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a small space with modern decor, yet you have several seating options: a bench in the window, high tables with stools, and low couches to get comfy in. Whether you feel like meeting a friend for coffee, reading or working on your laptop (they’ve got fast WiFi!), Boconó is always a good choice. The baristas are friendly and speak English. Plus everything is homemade and the coffee is beyond excellent.

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

More than a café, a new concept in Madrid

Last time I went, I got the chance to speak to the owner, Carlos, who’s from Venezuela (his son works alongside him, too!). Carlos had opened cafés in Venezuela but his dream was to open the first specialty coffee shop in Madrid. He said that the city has a big coffee culture but not specialty coffee, which is a concept that’s popular in other countries. After years of hard work, his dream finally came true on January 6th.

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

All the coffee grains at Boconó are carefully selected based on the rigorous SCAE (specialty coffee association of Europe) quality standards. What’s more, it’s roasted by a “master roaster” and served by professionally trained baristas with top-quality machines.

A latte art school and coffee haven

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Boconó is also unique because it has a special license to train baristas. In fact, one of the baristas, Sergio, participated in the national “latte art” contest (the foam design on coffee). That’s why each coffee you receive with have a unique and beautiful foam design on it. They’re also going to have coffee tastings and other coffee-inspired events.

Art, events, furniture, and more!

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Pop in to Boconó café today (a few months after the publication of this article) and you’ll immediately see a wall of photographs, Boconó Art Wall, created by the Madrid-based art platform, A Second, and the creators of Naked Madrid.

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

You’ll also see restored furniture all around that you can actually purchase on site. Not to mention the downstairs area is being refurbished to host events in the near future. So stay tuned!

Boconó is also child- and pet-friendly!

Bocono Cafe by A Second Art Photography Jose Luis Magaña

Photos by José Luis Magaña from A Second Art (asecondart.com / @asecond.art)

Info:

  • @bocono.coffee
  • Facebook & Website
  • Address: Calle Embajadores 3
  • Metro: Tirso de Molina & La Latina

 

 




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



Café Barbieri: A 114-year-old Art Noveau café in Lavapiés


Café Barbieri first brought modernist charm to Madrid’s working class district, Lavapiés, in 1902, and although the barrio has evolved dramatically over the last 114 years, the interior of this elegant bar hasn’t changed one bit.

Some things have changed though – Café Barbieri is owned by a charismatic chap from New Delhi and staffed with bilingual youngthings. It also now has a small terrace, but this is not why you’d come here – its appeal is truly the interior.

The whole place is lined with mirrors which back then were a symbol of wealth. These mirrors are now aging well, stained a smoky bronze colour with dots of grey rust creeping in from the edges. The ceiling is framed with grids of ornate girders that are connected to decorative cast-iron beams, typical of older buildings in Lavapiés. Although never on, there are ceiling fans too – something increasingly rare in Madrid.

At the back of the bar is a grand piano on a small raised stage. Almost every evening there’s a live music session often featuring the piano, and this place does food too – typical Spanish stuff but with an edge.

The worn white marble table tops and red velvet seating lining the dining area mark this place out as opulent, but that’s really not the vibe – it’s chilled and cosy and attracts a spectrum of people, from the intrepid tourist who’s braved it down the hill, to the unassuming local who fancies a read of one of the papers on offer.

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri's beautiful ornate cieling

Café Barbieri’s beautiful ornate ceiling

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

Look at that original tiled floor!

Look at that original tiled floor!

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri is also on the same street as the Greek foodie place, Egeo, so there you have it, your night is planned!

Info




Finocchio - fine dining in Lavapies


Finocchio is a suave addition to the Lavapies foodie scene and has been a favourite of mine since it opened just under a year ago. It reminds me of Italian restaurants in the UK – atmospherically lit, candles on the table, a full but no-fuss menu, accessible sophistication without the price tag – perfect, right?

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Like all good Italian restaurants, Finocchio presents you with an aperitivo the moment you sit down. By this point, you’ve probably clocked the wine fridge, but the house wine is also a fantastic choice. Once poured, don’t worry about where on the table to put it so it isn’t blocking the view of your fellow diners – you’ll find it in an iced wine stand next to your table.

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Just as you’d always hope, your dish comes out the kitchen hot and all of you are served at the same time. Want some parmesan? Here’s a pot – put as much on your food as you want. Want some black pepper? Here’s a pepper mill. Leave it on the table – it’s yours for the night.

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Sous chef (left), owner and head chef (right)

One more thing… Last year, Finocchio won the Tapapies award. The votes are in: this place is perfect.

Info

  • Address: Calle de Embajadores 64
  • Metro: Lavapies, Tirso de Molina, La Latina



Pum Pum Cafe, a new Lavapiés coffeeshop and weekend brunch spot


Situated on C/ Tribulete, 6 is the new establishment Pum Pum Cafe. It was brought to my attention by the charismatic Jordan, well known by the coffee-lover community for his tenure as a barista at the popular Toma Cafe in Malasaña. The tastefully exposed brick pattern of the wall is a remnant of the conversion process from the butcher shop that previously occupied the space. I’m always keen on discovering new cafes to perch with my laptop. One can easily foresee this business becoming another thriving watering hole in the barrio.

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Pum Pum stands out amongst the competition for its breakfast/brunch offerings: a splendid eggs benedict and avocado tostada, an assortment of healthy juices, baked goods and organic products. Their mission is to offer breakfast at all hours of the day as to not discriminate against those who wake up at 5pm after a rowdy night. Aficionados of coffee will be as thrilled as I was to see that Pum Pum is equipped to prepare V60 and chemex filter coffees. 

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The owner Papo is from Argentina, his brother Dam operates the kitchen, barista Jordan hails from Australia and the cafe manager Ira is from Ukraine. Papo has an adorable and well behaved infant son who can be seen on site at the weekend. Their hours during the week are 9am-9pm and their weekend brunch hours are 10am-9pm. This location is strongly recommended to any lovers of coffee and breakfast.

Photo: Steph Gutovska

Photo: Steff Gutovska

Info

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Leave El Barrio for El Imparcial, in Tirso de Molina


I’ve started jokingly referring to Gran Via as my Madrid version of the River Thames. Should you know London, you’ll know that when it comes to being a dweller of the affectionately nicknamed ‘smog’, you very much fall either the North or South camp thanks to the watery divide; and to this end I feel that the same can be said for Madders. If you’re Fuencarral side of Gran Via you tend to spend your free time hot footing it around the streets of Malasaña and Chueca. Whereas if you veer down towards Sol, you can usually be found whiling away time between La Latina and Lavapiés. Either way, had I not crossed the ‘symbolic’ gulf provided by our very own Oxford Street equivalent, I may never have found El Imparcial.

El Imparcial by Naked MadridInconspicuous and almost completely nondescript from the exterior, El Imparcial is quite the find upon entering. On the right hand side your greeted by a pocket-sized bar where you can grab a coffee or a cana. However, make your way up the impressively sized staircases and you enter into an Aladdin’s Cave of all round prettiness. I’m loathe to bandy around this term liberally, but the high ceilings and beautifully restored décor can almost be described as ‘breath taking’ – close one eye and squint with the other and it does have a touch of the old Palace De Versailles about it.

El Imparcial by Naked MadridPart concept store, part restaurant, El Imparcial straddles a line where you literally want everything that you see. Cocktails, they’ve got them in spades. Food, well there are morsels so delicious that it wouldn’t be uncommon to not want to share your starter *apologies to my fam as I inhaled the bao buns without as much as a thought of ‘did you want to try one?!’

El Imparcial by Naked Madrid

El Imparcial by Naked Madrid

Last but not least are the Wallpaper magazine worthy purchases waiting to adorn your casa. El Imparcial stocks a carefully (and I’d hazard a guess, lovingly) curated range of stationary, magazines and books – apt really considering the building once housed a newspaper.

El Imparcial by Naked Madrid

Food wise they offer a complete smorgasbord of delights. We wolfed down (amongst other treats) Roasted black cod with miso edamame beans, oxtail croquettes and a lip smackingly good buttifara pizza with scamorza. Our lunch lasted for hours, dinner…even longer. It really is one of those places that seems to draw you in and make you not want to leave (or maybe after the array of cocktails placing one foot in front of other could’ve been tricky and partly to blame for the desire not to budge).

Did I mention just how pretty it is? *and that’s just the staff. Book well ahead or find yourself lingering outside, nose pressed against the glass wanting to get in.

Info

  • Facebook & Web
  • Address: Calle Duque de Alba, 4, 28012 Madrid
  • Metro: Tirso de Molina