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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Delicias de bacalao con mermelada de madroño

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

2) Bar la Campana

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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.

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Bocadillos de calamares con patatas bravas y patatas alioli

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

3) Casa Toni

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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.

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Sepia con vino Madrileño

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

4) Casa González

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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.

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

5) Bodegas Ricla

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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.

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  • 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




Macera TallerBar, a modern twist on an old tradition


There are handmade cocktails and then there are handmade cocktails. Macera TallerBar is a pioneer in the latter. One look inside this hip bar and you may be confused—there aren’t any familiar spirits lining the simple glass shelves.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Don’t worry, though. What you’ll find is much better. Because instead of the well-known brands of gin, vodka, or rum, there’s only Macera’s own hand written labels.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

The idea behind Macera’s name is also what makes its bar shelves so unique. Founder Narciso Bermejo took inspiration from paxtaran, a Basque liqueur made by soaking crushed sloe fruits (a blackish berry) in liquor. This traditional technique, called maceration, infuses the host liquor with the color and flavor of whatever ingredient is added.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Wanting to put a modern twist on a piece of Spanish heritage, Bermejo began experimenting with liquors and their complimentary flavors. The result is the many unique spirits that make up Macera’s menu today. Think rum infused with cinnamon and orange, gin with rosemary and thyme or red fruit, and whiskey with cherries.

The cocktail menu starts with a list of classics, which are then personalized with your choice of flavor infusion. Turn the page to find the spirits categorized by type with a list of all the different varieties of macerated flavor. If you prefer, you can simply pick one of these and a mixer of choice. No matter which combination you choose, all drinks are accessibly priced at 7€.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

Macera’s interior is modern and clean with an industrial vibe. In front, a handful of wrought iron tables face glass doors that slide open on nice days. The openness makes you feel like there’s always room for one more, a good thing since this place gets packed in the evenings. When you visit make sure to take a look towards the back, where lit shelves showcase the spirits on deck, all full of spices, herbs, and fruits working their magic.

Macera TallerBar by Naked Madrid

If it’s too early for a tipple, Macera is also an excellent workspace. To keep you going, there are green juices, natural sodas, and coffee, as well as a small selection of toasted sandwiches and homemade desserts. It goes without saying that all of these are made with the same care as their cocktails.

Info

  • Website & Facebook
  • Address: Calle San Mateo, 21
  • Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martínez
  • Phone: 910 11 58 10

By Danielle Owens

A former Oregonian, Californian, and Bogotana, Danielle is (for now!) settled in Madrid. Since 2014, she’s chronicled her experiences living abroad on her blog, No Longer Native (Website & Facebook)

 

 




María Pandora, a dark and artistic champagne bar in La Latina


If you’ve ever spent an evening watching the sunset with a liter of Mahou in Parque Las Vistillas (and if you haven’t, get on that ASAP), you may have spotted this beautiful, borderline-creepy cocktail bar.

María Pandora Café by Naked Madrid

María Pandora Café by Naked Madrid
Cryptic, dripping golden letters read MARÍA PANDORA, and the sound of a dramatic poetry reading demand the curiosity of passersby not yet in the know.

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Once inside, you’ll already be hooked: every inch of the walls is covered with sinister sketches, the tables are adorned with misshapen melted candles, and vintage furniture adds the finishing touch to make you feel like you’re in a haunted mansion.

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But despite the ghoulish vibe, the servers here are cheery and chatty. When we ordered champagne and white wine, our server plopped a frozen raspberry in our glass, assuring it would add a little somethin’-somethin’.

Oh, and the tapas here are my kind of food: mounds of candy and fruit.

María Pandora Café by Naked Madrid

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But the best it yet to come. A meeting point for lovers of art, the bar also functions as a stage for poetry readings, microteatro, and literary chats several nights of the week. The wall of antique books are for sale (but the century-old portraits of the owner’s family are not).

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Sign up for an event, order a glass of bubbly, and if you get there early enough, grab a window seat. María Pandora does not disappoint.

*Just note that their opening hours can be a little funky – they tend to open at 7pm except on Mondays, although sometimes they throw private events. So it’s best to call ahead to make sure they’re open!

Info

  • Website & Facebook
  • Phone: +34 910 42 82 13
  • Address: Plaza de Gabriel Miró, 1
  • Metro: La Latina or Ópera



I went loco for Le Coco.


Picture the scene. Lashing rain. Lightning illuminating the dirty teabag coloured sky. Rumblings of thunder so fierce that part of my apartment window collapsed (true story, that’s not just for dramatic effect). Oh and have I mentioned that this is July in Madrid, not November in Blighty? So you can only imagine my level of ganas when it came to venturing out into a monsoon on a bleak and downright bloody freezing Thursday evening.

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The reason for rallying was that my Mum was in town and I didn’t fancy having to try (and realistically fail) to produce dinner from the slim pickings in my fridge. So off we waded to Le Coco; a short stroll over to the neighbouring barrio of Chueca with our brollies in tow. From the outside Le Coco is dinky and unassuming, well, that’s what I could make out from my rain soaked fringe at least. But upon entering, not only was it a haven of dryness, it was a cosy one at that.

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Le Coco by Naked Madrid

As soon as we were seated (which was immediate) we were handed a drinks menu. We happily plumped for pisco sours, which brightened both of our moods – shame the same couldn’t be said for the colour of clouds that loomed ominously. Anyways, enough of my weather related whining, let’s get cracking on the food because boy we did we eat our bodyweight. In our defence, as it felt like winter outside we definitely packed in enough dishes to help us with insulation.

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So first there were prawn dumplings, plump, juicy and incredibly moor-ish. I ate 6 without breaking a sweat – although sweat I did, when I dragged myself to a 9am pilates class the following day to work them off. Next came tempura langoustine that rendered me speechless. Friends will confirm that this only usually happens when I’m asleep, so for a dish of something shrimpy to shut me up, well, we’re talking about the unfathomable here. They were amazing. Genuinely. Le Coco is worth a visit for this reason alone.

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Now some peeps might have been full after those couple of helpings, not us. Remember the rain, well it had started up again by this point, which gave us the perfect excuse to plump for tacos, a burrata the size of my fist, before ending with the crème de la creme of pasta dishes – and I’ve been to Puglia, I think I know my stuff. It heaved with lobster, crab and cream. I don’t know what they did with these three ingredients but it was downright orgasmic. Hell, if that dish were a man, maybe I’d date it – frankly it was infinitely more delicious than the bulk of Tinder’s offerings. I jest, but really, for a place that looked on first glance similar in style to many, many places in the area, the food was anything but predictable.

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We wrapped the evening up with a couple of celebratory cavas for making it out of the house to battle the elements. And I left having forgotten that my red suede shoes (or my Dorothy/Wizard of Oz shoes as I liked to affectionately refer to them) are basically now akin to soggy road kill. Sometimes things don’t look that pretty from the outside, Le Coco goes to prove that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

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Info

  • Website & Facebook
  • Address: Calle de Barbieri, 15
  • Metro: Chueca
  • Phone: 91 521 99 55



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


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

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

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

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

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

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

La Musa Malasaña by Naked Madrid

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

Info




Salmon Guru, seriously fun spirits near Plaza Santa Ana


The terms craft cocktails and celebrity mixologist can make eyeballs roll faster than you can say Vesper Martini. Because with all the clapping of mint leaves and fancy garnishes, its easy for a place to take itself too seriously. 

And while the folks behind Salmon Guru do have some serious credentials (proprietor is mixology mastermind Diego Cabrera), you wont find any stern-faced barmen shaming your request for vodka here. The only thing serious at this spot is the bartenderslove for well-made drinks.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

The dark, unassuming exterior on Calle Echegaray does little to reveal the neon lights and quirky decor inside. The front room is all 50s-era bungalow, with a bar and palm-print swivel chairs to one side and low seating against dark wood paneling on the other.

But dont stop there. Follow the neon glow toward the back room and youll find yourself in the middle of a pop-art light extravaganza, with neon lightning bolts on the ceiling and familiar comic book faces on the walls.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

As soon as you sit down youll have a menu and glass of water plunked in front of you. If youve lived in Madrid for any length of time, you know how rare it is to find a spot wholl bring you a free glass (let alone keep it filled).

Just like the decor, the menu is an eclectic mix. Youll find perfectly executed classics listed alongside their in-house inventions. If youre not sure where to start, dont be shy!

The bartenders are more than happy to recommend a drink based on what you like. Even better is to simply ask about their favorites, which I how I found myself sipping a Laphroaig-infused old-fashioned that isnt on the menu.

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

Pasión, a blend of rum, coconut milk and passion fruit

Salmon Guru bar by Naked Madrid

Vesper Martini & classic Manhattan

Need one more reason to check out Salmon Guru? The place is a must for whiskey lovers. If you dont see your favorite amongst the extensive selection of American bourbon and rye on the shelves, ask to see their secret whiskey menu.

All in all, if youre looking sip impeccably made drinks somewhere thats hip while being unpretentious, definitely check out Salmon Guru.

Info

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle Echegaray, 21
  • Metro: Sevilla or Anton Martin
  • Phone: 91 000 61 85

By Danielle Owens, Website & Facebook

A former Oregonian, Californian and Bogotana, Danielle is (for now!) settled in Madrid. Since 2014, she’s chronicled her experiences living abroad on her blog, No Longer Native.




Verbena Bar Review


Madrid (and more specifically) Malasaña is choc-a-bloc with cute looking bars, so much so that it’s often nigh on impossible, to pick from the myriad of options. However, should you find yourself Saturday strolling around the vintage shops that pepper Calle Velarde, Verbena is the perfect choice. Not a case of style over substance, Verbena is the perfect mid-shopping pit stop, as well as the ideal place for tapas time.

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

Like similar bars in the area, its decor is pleasing to the eye, as is its proximity to the perennially popular Plaza Dos De Mayo. It offers more than your simple caña/vino combo; I was particularly impressed with its gin selection, which could rival a far swankier locale. I plumped for a Nordes (which hails from Galicia in the north of Spain) – it came expertly served in a Copa de Balon and was quite the snip at 8 euros – I’ve spent obscene amounts on a G&T so this felt relatively bargainous.

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

My fellow bar hoppers enjoyed a crisp Albariño and an Estrella Damn – I was assured that they were both suitably pleasing to the palate and purse (an entire round came to less than a sarnie would in a city such as London or Paris).

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable ( particularly when questioned about their own gin faves). Furthermore, Verbena boasts a simple menu that offers all the classics that you’d come to expect from Madrid – tortilla de patata, croquetas, complete breakfasts and the like. 

La Verbena bar review by Naked Madrid

Verbena is the equivalent of a trusty pair of jeans – a comfy option that requires minimal effort. Smack bang in the city centre, it’d be a crime to walk on by.

3.5 stars out of 5

Info

AddressCalle Velarde, 24

 




Bosco de Lobos – casual, cozy and chic restaurant in Chueca


Last month I reviewed the sexy, swish Ana La Santa. If we were to talk in terms of siblings, whilst Ana La Santa may be the mature older brother in the dining out stakes, this means that Bosco de Lobos may be the cuter, younger sister. Smaller in size and with a less obvious position within the city (it’s tucked away between Calle Fuencarral and Hortaleza) sort of straddling Malasaña and Chueca if you will, it’s the ideal place for a simple lunch on their sun kissed terraza or for a casual date night that won’t break the bank.

The atmosphere was (on a Friday night) buzzing to say the least; packed with punters all gagging to sample their take on eclectic European fare, ranging from wood fired pizzas, to steak tartare, to heaving pasta dishes. They do a little bit of everything and instead of this being to their detriment (like that friend you have who spreads themselves too thinly) it’s all lip smackingly good.

Bosco de Lobos Madrid restaurant

Like most, I enjoy dining out (ok, perhaps more than most) but I like to do so in places that lack pretention and that do simple things with style. Bosco de Lobos ticks both boxes. Special mention has to go our waitress, Iryna who was a fountain of knowledge on the wine front, recommending the perfect Rioja to be paired with my steak. We rounded off the evening with a couple of puds and a G&T thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of round, that’s exactly how my midriff felt after eating like a Queen. It doesn’t hurt that the setting is as tasty as the food, lots of sultry low lighting and artfully dishevelled bookshelves, making the whole place feel cosily lived in rather than sterile Scandi in tone.

Unlike La Musa, they do take reso’s so I implore you to make one – you can thank me later.

Info

 




El Andariego, Your Argentinian Corner Bar in Madrid


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

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

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

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

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

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

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

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

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

Ariego Argentine bar by Naked Madrid

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

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

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

Info

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