Café del Rey, an unexpected restaurant behind Príncipe Pío


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

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

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

cafe del rey front bar

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

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

inside cafe del rey

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

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

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

Café del Rey Madrid by Naked Madrid

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

cafe del rey cake

cafe del rey cakes

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

Info

 




Madrid's Top Shopping Malls


Believe it or not, Madrid has some pretty fantastic shopping malls, with giant cinemas, mini-golf courses and even indoor ski slopes. And Ikea. If it’s raining out (or simply too hot to stay outside), don’t hesitate to check out one of our favourite shopping centres!

1. Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío

centro comercial

Principe Pio is one of my favorite malls in Madrid because it’s located right in the city center. I love it because you can spend the whole day here, shopping, eating and ending the day with a good movie. Among the many shops you can find here are Zara, Massimo Dutti, Mango, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Zara Home, etc. Restaurants: Vips, Burger King, MacDonald’s, Wok Wok, etc

Opening hours 

  • Monday to Saturday: From 10 to 22:00 
  • Sunday: 11 to 22:00

How to get there

  • Metro lines: 6, 10 or “ramal” (from Opera), Línea 6 – Circular
  • Cercanías lines: C1, C7, C10 
  • Bus lines: 25, 39, 41, 46, 75, 138, Circular 1, Circular 

2. La Gavia

Centro comercial

La Gavia is one of the greatest shopping centres in Spain and even in Europe, where you can find everything you want under the sun. Some of the most popular stores are IKEA, Primark, Zara, Massimo Duti, FNAC, etc.

How to get there?

  • Bus lines: 142 and 145
  • Metro line: Las suertes 

OPENING HOURS

  • SHOPS: *Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00 hours * On Sundays and holidays from February to November the center opens at 11:00
  • RESTAURANTS: Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 to 01:00 hours. Fridays, Saturdays and on public holidays from 10:00 to 03:00
  • IKEA: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00 hours. The restaurant is open from 09:30 to 21:30

3. La Vaguada

Centro Comercial Vaguada

La Vaguada is a large shopping mall located in Barrio del Pilar. It’s big enough to offer several shops and restaurants, but small enough so you won’t get lost and you can spend a quiet afternoon. 

How to get there?

  • Bus lines: 42 , 49 , 67,83 , 124, 126 , 127, 128 , 132, 133 , 134, 135, 137 , 147 , N18 , N19
  • Metro lines: 9 (Barrio del Pilar Herrera Oria) & 7 ( Peñagrande )

OPENING HOURS

  • Shopping area: Monday through Saturday: 10:00 h to 22:00h; Sundays and holidays: 11:00 h to 21:00 h
  • Dining and entertainment area: Monday through Thursday: 10:00 h to 01:00 h; Friday and Saturday: 10:00 to 02:00 h Sunday: 10:00 h to 01:00 h

4. Madrid Xanadú

Madrid

Xanadu is one of the best malls I have ever visited. They have everything you want, even a ski slope. In addition to clothing stores and restaurants, here you’ll find tons of fun activities like bowling, mini golf, a ski slope, and much more!

OPENING HOURS

  • Shops: Monday through Sunday from 10 to 22h
  • Entertainment and dining area: From Sunday to Thursday from 10 to 01h Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 03h

How to get there?

  • Bus: From Príncipe Pío:528, 534, 539, 541, 545, 546, 547 y 548

5. Centro Comercial Plaza Norte 2

Plaza norte Hola

Another huge mall located outside the center, Plaza Norte has tons of shops, restaurants, cinemas, you name it.

Opening hours

  • Shopping area: Monday through Sunday from 10 to 22h 
  • Entertainment and dining area: Sunday through Thursday from 10 to 01:30h; Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 03h

How to get there

  • Buses: 171 and 156 (from Plaza de Castilla)
  • Nearest metro: Reyes Católicos (Line 10)

6. Centro Comercial Plenilúnio

Centro comercial

Plenilúnio is also situated in the outskirts, it has more than 180 shops, in addition to numerous restaurants, as many cinemas.

Opening hours

  • Shops: Monday to Saturday, from 10 to 22h; on Sundays and public holidays from 12 to 21h
  • Restaurants: Sunday to Thursday from 10 to 01 h; on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 03h 

How to get there

  • Bus: From Avenida de America: 221, 222, 223, 224, 224A, 226, 227, 228, 229, 281, 282, 283 and 284 from Ciudad Lineal: EMT no. 77

7. Centro Comercial Parquesur

centro comercial parquesur

In addition to the usual, here you’ll find an Apple store outside the city centre.

OPENING HOURS

  • Monday to sunday From 10 to 22:00h
  • Restaurants: Friday and Saturday From 10 to 2.  Sunday from 10 to 1.

How to get there?

  • By bus: 432,481,483,485,488,497
  • Nearest metro: Line 12. El Carrascal

8. Islazul

OPENING HOURS

  • Commercial area: Monday through Sunday from 10 to 22h 
  • Entertainment and dining area: Sunday to Thursday from 10 to 01h; Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 03h

How to get there:

  • By Bus: 35 and 118. 5 minuts from the shopping center: 108, 155, 480, 484 and 485
  • Nearest metro: Line 11: La peseta, San Francisco and Carabanchel Alto Stations.

Pictures: Hola, Un Buen día, El país, flickr, AbsoluteMadrid, Dolce City, Urbanity




4 Best City Biking Routes for Tourists in Madrid


There is no such thing as the best city in the world (even though New Yorkers like to claim the title). From what I can see, however, Madrid is getting pretty close. You’ve probably noticed that Madrid’s public bike system, BiciMad, is fully up and running. Madrid’s public bikes are electric-powered which is awesome because you barely break a sweat while going up the city’s many hills. This also means that you can see Madrid’s most emblematic buildings, plazas, parks and river all in one day, on two wheels.

Now that cycling in Madrid has been made easy, here are four beautiful cycling routes in the city-center! I’ve attached a google map with each route, but you really can’t get lost. Combine these routes as you wish, as they’re not too long and meant to be enjoyed, so you can feel free to wander off and explore. Happy cycling!!!

If you want to know how BiciMad works, check out our post: “Electric city bikes in Madrid, a city that’s turning bike-friendly

1. Atocha – Paseo del Prado – Recoletos

Ministerio de Agricultura by Naked Madrid

This first route starts at “Ministerio de Agricultura” or Ministry of Agriculture  building. This tour is very easy to bike because the streets are flat and wide. There is also a pretty boulevard which goes all the way up Paseo del Prado and Castellana. You will see some of the main buildings in the city like the Prado Museum, Caixa Forum and the National Library. You’ll also pass through three of the most important  and well-known squares  (plazas) in Madrid: Neptuno, Cibeles and Colón.

Paseo del Prado by Naked Madrid

Correos by Naked Madrid

Find the route on the map:

2. Cibeles – Alcala – Retiro Park

Palacio de Cristal by Naked Madrid

While New York and London have, respectively, Central Park and Hyde Park, we Madrileños have Retiro Park. Maybe it’s not that famous or was never featured in a Hollywood production, but we are as proud as can be of our city’s beautiful green oasis. The route through Retiro is also really easy to bike, however, you can start it at “Plaza de la Independencia”, also known as Puerta de Alcalá, to make it even easier. In Retiro Park, you’ll see some of Madrid’s most stunning places such as “Palacio de Cristal” (main pic at the top) and “Retiro Lake” where you can rent a rowboat.

Retiro Lake by Naked Madrid

Calle in Retiro by Naked Madrid

Find the route in the map:

3. Palacio – Casa de Campo

Palacio Real by Naked Madrid

What I like most about this route is that you get to leave the city for a while. We first start at the Madrid’s Royal Palace and take a ride around to enjoy it in all its glory from front to back. Then, we head for “Casa de Campo”, where there are always groups of  mountain-bikers going up and down the park’s infinite paths. If you’re not familiar with Casa de Campo, it’s much bigger than Retiro, and looks more like a forest– it has a great public swimming pool and lake where people do water sports. Of course, there are bars too. As for this route’s level, I wouldn’t say it’s easy one but it’s definitely doable. It all depends on how far you go into “Casa de Campo” .

Campo del Moro by Naked Madrid

Madrid views from Casa de Campo by Naked Madrid

Find the route in the map:

4. Matadero – Madrid Rio – Principe Pio

Matadero Madrid by Naked Madrid

Just a few years ago, the Manzanares River was surrounded by an ugly highway. Thanks to Madrid’s former mayor who spent who knows how much money on its renovation, now we are enjoying “Madrid Rio” to the max. Starting at Principe Pio, you will enter Madrid Rio to bike along different paths and stumble upon fun (and free) activities like a “tirolina” or zip-line, playgrounds (for adults too!) and one of Madrid’s urban beaches, a.k.a. sprinklers, that we love when summer comes. Then you will end up at one of my favorite spots in the city, Matadero Madrid, an old slaughterhouse which is now an awesome and free cultural center. Here is a link to our post on El Matadero.

Tirolina by Naked Madrid

The river and the bridge by Naked Madrid

Find the route in the map:




Casa Mingo, the real cider house


Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

An Asturian cider house serving traditional, simple and exquisite rotisserie chicken since 1888, Casa Mingo is the real deal–no frills, no fuss, just the good stuff. The high walls are lined with bottles and barrels, making you feel as though you’ve been immersed in a sea of cider. And although the wooden floors are holding up, the wear and tear are evident. Be sure there’s no intention of refurbishing this wooden tavern. Its notable use and warm simplicity is what makes it so special.

image from casamingo.es

image from casamingo.es

Even the menu is simple: roasted chicken, croquettes, chorizo, chistorra (similar to chorizo but thinner and spicier), cheese (manchego which is cured, or de cabrales which is very, very blue, a.k.a. it’s just mold), roasted red  peppers with tuna, and empanadas. They have two types of cider: sweet and natural, and you order them by the bottle. Although there are a few more items on the menu, that’s pretty much everything. And no matter how much you order, your bill is likely to come out to less than 15E per person.

The first time I went to Casa Mingo I had already been living in Madrid for a few years, though I’d never seen anything like it. It was love at first sight (an American who had been living in Madrid for twenty years let me in on the secret). Since then, Casa Mingo has become my spot whenever I want to show off Madrid to family and friends.

I’ve even brought my “foodie” friends with the harder-to-please palates, some who are chefs and some who have even opened up their own Spanish restaurants outside Spain. Casa Mingo has never failed to delight them.

My favorite dishes are the roasted chicken and the roasted red peppers with tuna. And for dessert, try the tarta de sidra or tarta de santiago.

Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

rotisserie chicken and endless cider at Casa Mingo

Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

a whole roast chicken at Casa Mingo

Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

No reservations, but the place is enormous so the wait won’t be long. In addition to the main dining room, they have outdoor seating and a rooftop as well. The last time I sat outside there, it was Spring and our table was showered with little flowers falling off trees all around us. It was lovely.

Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

my friend Ryan’s attempt to pour cider the Austurian way

And if you’re feeling up for the challenge, get a table outside and try pouring the sidra from above your head (spilling is completely accepted, but ask for a nozzle to help). The correct word for this is escanciar, and it’s the traditional way to pour cider in Asturias.

Here’s a photo I took of a professional pouring cider at a Spanish gourmet food fair. Feel free to ask any of the waiters at Casa Mingo to show you how it’s done.

Casa Mingo by Naked Madrid best cider house in madrid

a professional showing how to pour cider the right way, a.k.a. “escanciar”

Web
Address: Paseo de la Florida, 34
Metro: Principe Pio
Telephone: 915 47 79 18