El Brote: a brand-new mushroom restaurant in the heart of El Rastro


Mushrooms: they’re an inspiring subject one can easily get carried away with, especially after paying a visit to El Brote. Years of academic mushroom knowledge and on-the-ground wisdom were literally delivered to us on a plate and I’m now a devout mushroom apostle on a mission to spread the message to the foodie people of Madrid.

El Brote's dining area

El Brote’s dining area

El Brote (the bud) is a small and cosy restaurant on Calle de la Ruda run by two mushroom enthusiasts, Eduardo and Alvaro. Every corner of the place is mushroom-themed, even the floor. Its décor is earthy, humble and a little eccentric, and the original features of the building have been beautifully highlighted throughout the room.

Abstract mushroom artwork

Abstract mushroom artwork

Various gospels of the mushroom bible

Various gospels of the mushroom bible

The 0th floor of El Brote

The 0th floor of El Brote

A mushroomy display inside the floor

A mushroomy display inside the floor

Both Eduardo and Alvaro were keen to explain each dish on their 10-item menu and made recommendations based on the season and their own personal preferences which, funnily enough, were different.

There’s a specific order in which you must eat each ingredient.

… they explained as each dish was brought out. They suggested we start with the unseasoned mushrooms so that we could taste their pure flavour, then slowly begin combining the other ingredients together to get a feel for the dish as a whole. The flavours were subtle and delicious both separately and collectively – a sign that someone behind the scenes really knows what they’re doing.

Trumpet mushrooms with a raw egg yolk and herbs

Trumpet mushrooms with a raw egg yolk and herbs

Red mushrooms with pak choy, gnocci and pumpkin gratin

Red mushrooms with pak choy, gnocci and pumpkin gratin

Black mushrooms with beans, squash and leek

Black mushrooms with beans, squash and leek

Try their wine too, it’s really good. We also noticed that every single table in the restaurant was sharing a bottle of red between them… such a beautiful sight.

TIP: El Brote have very few tables and they don’t take evening reservations so aim to be the first to arrive as we were, because within 10 minutes of arriving, the place will be full!

INFO




Loveliness at Lateral


When I first moved to Madrid I walked that well trodden path like so many ex-pats had done before me; the month long TEFL course. I rocked up with my Spanish phrase book, some SPF 20 and the overwhelming desire to live abroad. With no set plan (well, with no actual plan at all having quit my job in PR back in London) I quickly got into the groove of my new TEFL timetable; which essentially meant a 3pm finish.  As soon as my ‘working’ day was done, I would wile away afternoons in Plaza Santa Ana.

barrio de las letras by naked madrid

Plaza Santa Ana

Now I don’t spend too much time around that neck of the woods these days, but back then I was literally intoxicated by that square. The beautiful balconies, the long sunny days (I arrived in August) and I even found charm in the guys who play the accordion and then hustle for your change. The large majority of those afternoons were spent on the terraza of restaurante Lateral.

Seriously, the limited savings that I arrived with dwindled at lightning speed thanks to my newfound obsession with their croquetas de jamón and tinto de verano. It became a spot that I still think of fondly, as it kind of represents those heady first months when everything was an adventure and my sole preoccupation was how many hours could I spend tanning that day and where was I going out that night.

restaurante-lateral-3

So Lateral and I have enjoyed an enduring partnership and now that I live on the other side of Gran Via I thought I’d mix things up and visit one of their other outposts on Calle Fuencarral. I’d heard on the grape vine that it had undergone a recent renovation (and I can’t just rely on Pinterest for interiors inspo) so it seemed like a win win.

restaurante-lateral-2

So onto the décor, it is in a nutshell delightful. But obviously we’re talking about a restaurant here, so I can’t not mention the food. Lateral is all about the tapas – so you can literally try a little bit of everything in perfectly bite sized portions.

In addition, if you have visiting guests or you’re just a first timer to the city, you’ll love that Lateral puts a modern spin on Spanish classics. You can find all the well-known favourites such as tortilla de patata and albondigas (meatballs); alongside more inventive small plates such as delicious duck ravioli and a melt-in-the-mouth carpaccio.

lateral-madrid-naked-madrid

Food wise Lateral is what I would describe as a safe bet. Yes it might not be the most inventive cuisine, but what they offer up always hits the spot. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s super reasonably priced for a city centre find, and they serve food all day.

My friend and I were also pleased as punch to discover that they boast a happy hour on drinks – ideal if you enjoy a lunch that’s more liquid than most and I can attest that the service is always friendly and fast. Whilst the terraza isn’t quite as pleasing on the eye as the Plaza Santa Ana locale, the phrase “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” that rings true here.

restaurante-lateral-madrid

Inside it’s an oasis within the city, filled with plenty of plants and enough greenery to make you feel like you’re embracing nature, in spite of being mere moments from the hustle and bustle of one of Madrid’s main shopping streets. If spontaneity is your thing (let’s face it, we’re not talking about a country when peeps really plan ahead), restaurante Lateral is the kind of place that you can pitch up at, eat well and feel as though you’ve sampled a little bit of Spain’s finest.

Restaurante Lateral:




Navare Bar – The Secret’s Out


You always feel quite smug when you stumble across somewhere that feels yet to be discovered. I was mooching around Chamberi on my way to an appointment, when I mindlessly spotted Navare Bar – and it piqued my interest.

Navare_bar_Naked_Madrid_8

Inside there were groups of friends chatting animatedly, enjoying a late afternoon merienda. But upon closer look, there was also a downright delicious evening menu. I papped the name of the restaurant on my phone and made a mental note to return with a friend in tow.

Navare_bar_Naked_Madrid_5

Fast forward a week and I found myself to be one of the locals enjoying this new neighbourhood hotspot. Navare Bar is somewhat impossible to be shoehorned into any set category. You want you breakfast? They serve it. A leisurely lunch with colleagues? You’ve got it. Dinner with your nearest and dearest. They offer it. It’s basically your one-stop shop for all your culinary needs.

Navare_bar_Naked_Madrid_1

Now to be all things to all people is no mean feat. However, after meeting (and chatting with the owner) it’s clear that the vision for Navare Bar is to be a local place for local people; somewhere that no matter the time of day, you can grab a coffee or indeed a copa with friends.

I was a fan of this concept from the get go. Coming from the UK, I’m used to eating when I want – whether or not that ties in with siesta culture is of little importance. If I’m hungry I want options that will keep my renowned (within my social circle) ‘hanger’ at bay. It also didn’t hurt that the décor was a delight and the plates satiated my fetish for all things chintzy when it came to crockery.

Navare_bar_Naked_Madrid_3

So the food. In a nutshell it was lip smackingly good. After a full-on week at work I was in need of all the treats. We split prawn croquetas (you get eight, I could’ve quite easily refused to share). This was swiftly followed by grilled vegetables that conjured up the feeling of summer barbecues (and made me feel slightly virtuous after the deep fried delight that was the first tapa).

But the jewel in the crown was undoubtedly the solomillo that came with crushed new potatoes and some kind of sauce that I could’ve quite happily guzzled as though it were a G&T. To surmise, the food is heavenly and I left eager to return for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

I have no doubt that Navare bar will be a success. The passion of the owner coupled with the zest for life that the local peeps possess, makes it an inevitable recipe for success.

Info

  • Facebook & Instagram
  • Address: Calle de Rafael Calvo, 29
  • Metro: Iglesia & Rubén Darío
  • Phone: 910 26 87 57

 

 




Take a Peek Inside 5 Historical Madrid Bars


Madrid is full of amazing bars that have played a role in Spanish history. Whether it’s art, literature, or the Spanish Civil War, these bars hold some sort of significance to Spain’s past and are definitely worth the visit.

Here’s a sneak peek into the stories behind our favorite historical Madrid bars.

Fatigas del Querer

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Located in Sol is a restaurant with an exterior as beautiful as its interior dating back to the 1920s. This restaurant will grab your attention with its beautiful Andalusian tiles dedicated to Spanish painter Julio Romero de Torres. Even one of his paintings is depicted on these beautifully detailed tiles.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Typical free Spanish tapa

Not only is this bar related to historical Spanish art, but it also has an impressively large menu of Spanish dishes such as setas empanadas con alioli. These fried mushrooms with alioli sauce would go great with one of the many vermuts that Fatigas del Querer has to offer.

  • Address: Calle de la Cruz, 17
  • Metro: Sol
  • Phone: +34 915 23 21 31

La Casa del Abuelo

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Just by the name alone, it’s clear that this bar has stood the test of time and still remains a Madrid classic.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Established in 1906, La Casa del Abuelo has seen Spain at the best of times and the worst of times, including the Spanish Civil War. During this time, La Casa del Abuelo only served garlic or grilled shrimp paired with a Spanish sweet wine due to the food shortage. Since then, this bar’s gambas al ajillo and gambas a la plancha have become a delicious specialty.

  • Web & Facebook
  • Address: Calle de la Victoria, 12
  • Metro: Sol
  • Phone: +34 910 00 01 33

La Venencia

During the height of the Spanish Civil War, this bar was one of the few spots where Republican soldiers and other anti-fascists, such as Ernest Hemingway would go. Taking photos has been prohibited since the 1930’s just in case there were any fascist spies around.

Nevertheless, this bar is incredibly beautiful with its antique bottles and large barrels of wine that haven’t changed since this historical time period. And if you’re a sherry lover, known as Jerez in Spanish, this bar has an amazing variety to choose from.

  • *Cash only
  • Address: Calle Echegaray, 7
  • Metro: Sol, Sevilla
  • Phone: +34 914 29 73 13

1912 Museo Bar

Westin Palace Hotel

Located inside the Westin Palace Hotel is the perfect bar if you’re in the mood for an elegant night out. Rumor has it that this high-end bar has had a fair number of influential guests such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Ernest Hemingway.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Established in 1912, this bar still maintains a museum-like appearance with old photographs of the history of the hotel and life in Spain. The bar itself has some of the most high-end alcohols that you can find here in Madrid. Although this place is a little bit on the pricey side, you won’t be disappointed by the service or the selection.

  • Address: Plaza de las Cortes, 7
  • Metro: Banco de España, Sevilla, Antón Martín
  • Phone: +34 913 60 80 00

San Ginés

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

And if you’re looking for a break from all the alcohol and tapas, this chocolatería is the perfect place to switch it up. San Ginés has been a Madrid classic since 1894 and is easy to miss while walking through the crowded center of the city. It had even been named “La escondida”, or “the hidden one” by some during the Second Republic of Spain. Regardless, this café has gained a lot of fame over the years and has even been mentioned in great works of literature, such as Ramón del Valle-Inclán’s Bohemian Lights.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Original image by: @carlas.abreu via Instagram

San Ginés has by far the best chocolate con churros in Madrid. The menu also consists of porras, known as giant churros, a variety of coffees, and even chocolate liqueur. So if you haven’t already, head on over to San Ginés and get your sugar fix.

  • Web & Facebook
  • Address: Pasadizo de San Gines, 5
  • Metro: Sol
  • Phone: +34 913 65 65 46

You might also like: 5 authentic Madrid bars loved by locals




5 Authentic Madrid Bars Loved by Locals


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

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

1) El Madroño

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

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

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Delicias de bacalao con mermelada de madroño

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

2) Bar la Campana

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Bocadillos de calamares con patatas bravas y patatas alioli

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

3) Casa Toni

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Sepia con vino Madrileño

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

4) Casa González

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

5) Bodegas Ricla

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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

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




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

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



Nudista restaurant, not naughty but very, very nice


So I have a confession to make. I hardly ever read. Whilst this might sound like a somewhat dramatic claim, what I actually mean is, I hardly ever read books (unless you count what I devour annually whilst on a sun lounger and manage to bulldoze through in a day). I read the news, I read blogs and I read glossies, but it’s rare that I sit down and take the time to turn actual pages – this is made all the more shameful by my day job being the lead of English in a primary school. Somehow life gets in the way (or perhaps more accurately, Netflix does) and books wallow neglected on my shelves.

However, this summer I read a book called You are a Badass. Now I loath to admit that I read the occasional ‘self help’ book, but this one resonated with me in a way that’s not a particularly regular occurrence. It’s based on the notion that everyone is capable of ‘living our best life’. The premise is that we shouldn’t just tread water because we’re too scared to dive into the unknown; it’s about unapologetically jumping in headfirst and being brave.
Conservas Nudista by Naked Madrid
At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth these ramblings link to a restaurant recommendation but bear with me. Someone who most definitely took the stabilizers off and took a leap of faith is Micky. The owner and creative clout behind Nudista; the restaurant that he affectionately calls his ‘fifth child’ – he’s a father of four. Having spent twenty years grafting away as a TV producer, he literally quit his day job to follow his dream – and from where I was sitting last Friday night, his dream has literally become a reality.

Nudista is the brainchild of Micky and the result of his lifelong love affair with gastronomy. The concept behind the restaurant is disarmingly simple but achingly cool. Nothing is cooked. There’s no kitchen. Everything is fresh. The food is either served from a jar or a tin without even a hint of a preservative or additive in sight. As the clean eating movement shows no signs of abating, Micky is striking while the iron is hot. The food is in a word – delicious, largely because you know exactly where your food is coming from (Navarra in most cases) and it’s simply seasoned with olive oil and salt.

Conservas Nudista by Naked Madrid

I ate leeks that literally melted in the mouth like butter (and as a Welsh girl, the bar for decent leeks is set pretty high but these were epic). Next I sampled some marvellous mackerel (I’m not one to shy away from some alliteration) and some zingy lentils that were lip smacking good. Served in tandem were two wonderful wines that were personally selected by Micky and partnered the food to perfection. What added further appeal to a place where I couldn’t have felt more relaxed, was that dessert was created by a friend of Micky’s – a moreish cheesecake served in a dinky little sardine can. I’m a sucker for attention to detail and this had me reaching for my iPhone to pap.

Nudista almost felt like going round to a friend’s house for dinner, albeit a friend’s house with excellent taste and an eagle eye for interiors. We stayed until the early hours, such was the relaxed ambience and given its proximity to the always buzzing Malasaña is quite the rare find. In a city where restaurants are often becoming carbon copies of each other (exposed brick, aperol spritz and steak tartare – you know the ones). Nudista is refreshing for its lack of pretension and originality. Twenty somethings sat beside the neighbourhood abuelas, proving that Micky and his team have spotted a niche where there’s something for everyone.

And the best bit, everything you’ve eaten is available to buy. I know what my fam will be getting for Christmas and I know what will be adorning my kitchen shelves. Despite the name, clothes are required but the stripped back charm of Nudista will keep you wanting to go back for more. Friends of mine know that when I like something, I go all in. I’m often zealous in terms of gushing about things/places/people but in the case of Nudista, it’s more than warranted. I can’t recommend the place highly enough, so to make sure that I’m not just all talk – you should take action. 

Nudista

  • Facebook
  • Telephone: +34 913.77.64.24
  • Address: Calle Luchana, 23, Madrid.



I lucked out at Luzi Bombon


I am a country girl by birth and now a bona-fide city girl by choice. However, the downside of living in Madrid means that I now rarely see greenery on a daily basis (unless you count the succulents that I ‘try’ to keep alive in my humble abode). But on the flipside, being an urban dweller gives me access to some the fanciest places to eat, with the best part being that they’re often right on my doorstep.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

Whilst I love a Netflix binge like most millennials, I still relish any given opportunity to don my gladrags and go out for a proper slap up dins. So dress up I did when I headed to Luzi Bombon with a suitably stylish friend in town, and wowzers did we enjoy a veritable feast from beginning to end.

Luzi Bombon isn’t located in an area of Madrid that I often frequent, i.e. it’s not within walking distance of my apartment. I had to treat myself to a taxi (partly due to the vertiginous heels that I was tottering about in) but it’s undoubtedly central enough to appeal to both locals and out-of-towners alike.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Review

What struck me first were the wall to wall photogenic diners – you won’t just be salivating over the menu if the evening I visited was anything to go by. The clientele was as upscale as the perfectly mixed G&T that I was sipping on within minutes of arriving – a G’Vine incase you’re interested.

It’s a sexy venue; possibly the slinkiest of all the Madrid based Grupo Tragaluz offerings with low lighting casting an Insta-worthy filter over my dining companion. Now until recent years I’m not ashamed to admit that I had relatively simple tastes – but due to external influencers in the form of more adventurous friends, I am starting to pride myself of never saying never and giving anything a go. In that spirit, I sampled as much as was humanly possible whilst wearing leather and not wanting to be forklifted out of the venue.

Luzi Bombon Madrid Restaurant Review

The stand out star of the show was the giant ‘fruits de mar’ platter that caused the table to groan under its sheer weight. Recommended by the waitress who clearly knew her stuff, it was a-ma-zing and has turned me into a complete crab convert. Obviously it’s not the kind of thing that I’m whipping up at home, which gave the whole meal an even greater sense of occasion. Even as a novice foodie, I have told every man and his dog about that platter and now I’m urging you to hotfoot to Luzi Bombon and do the same.

Dinner doesn’t come cheap but if you’re looking to impress aka maybe bag a second date with the object of your affection, Luzi Bombon is a fab place to pull out all of the stops. As someone who’s rarely lured out of her barrio, Luzi Bombon is well worth the cab ride and gym class that you’ll undoubtedly need to do the following day (in order to burn off every savoured calorie). If seafood platters and pretty peeps are your jam, Luzi Bombon is the (meal) ticket for you.

Info

  • Facebook
  • Address: Paseo de la Castellana 35
  • Phone: 917 02 27 36
  • Metro: Rubén Darío



Bar Tomate – modest minimalism at its best


Eight years ago I took the plunge and upped sticks to move to Madrid (or Madders as I now affectionately refer to it). The city was in the midst of a financial crisis so bleak, that people went out for a solitary caña rather than cañas – or so it seemed and so I was told.

Fast forward to 2017 and the city feels as though it’s booming once again. Not a week passes by without a new opening, a Mercado of some sort throwing back its doors and the now oh-so-popular weekly After Brunch events.

So in such a crowded marketplace how do you stand out? Well, having the kudos of being part of the Grupo Tragaluz alumni doesn’t hurt, which is why Bar Tomate has proven to be one of my fail safe favourites over the years.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

Located in the increasingly well-heeled and chic neighbourhood of Chamberí, which coincidently is one of my favourite Madrid barrios, Bar Tomate ticks all the boxes offering breakfast, lunch, dinner *a rare find in a city where siesta culture can result in a complete shutdown during certain hours – never ideal if you’re prone to getting hangry!

The vibe is rustic and Mediterranean with the emphasis on simple, fresh ingredients and classics cooked well.

Bar Tomate by Naked Madrid

I went along for dinner on a Friday night and chowed down like a Queen – decisive isn’t my strong point so what was sampled read like an A-Z of deliciousness; ranging from breaded asparagus, chicken tacos, jalapeño spiced shrimp and a burrata the size of my head because, quite frankly, what meal isn’t improved with the addition of cheese! This was naturally all chased down with an array of cocktails that made for an interesting walk home.

If simplicity is your thing I can’t recommend Bar Tomate enough. From the minimalist décor to the unfussiness and ease of the service, Bar Tomate’s strongpoint comes in its lack of pretentiousness when in reality, it has everything to shout about.

Ditch the flats for an evening, as when the DJ appears (as he does on both a Friday and Saturday night) you’re gonna want to get your groove on. Guys, I’ll leave that up to you.

Info

 

 

 




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.

16684896_10155754788088835_1853745991_n

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!