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 clara 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




Veggie Nirvana at VivaBurger in La Latina


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

VivaBurger in La Latina by Naked Madrid

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

22429154_10156662478723835_84919003_o

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

22396574_10156662477643835_2070568707_o

22429455_10156662477518835_1903286572_o

22375632_10156662477543835_1698531103_o

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

22425676_10156662478978835_967472022_o

22403869_10156662479048835_1498625358_o

22449437_10156662478183835_2136452699_o

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

22375640_10156662477433835_1764145817_o

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

Info

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



Peyote San, Mexican fusion at its most fabulous


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

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

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

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

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

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

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

Peyote San restaurant review by Naked Madrid

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

Info

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

You’ll also like:




What to See in Barrio de Las Letras


Madrid’s Barrio de las Letras is a timeless neighborhood that stays true to its Spanish roots, while still giving a modern feel that leaves visitors coming back for more. With its amazing food, culture, and ambience, you can’t go wrong when it comes to exploring this classic barrio.

Here are a few insights into its history, hotspots and 3 restaurant recommendations!

History with a Modern Twist

Barrio de las Letras, also known as Huertas, is less than a 10-minute walk from Sol and was once home to some of the greatest Spanish writers. The streets are paved with recognizable quotes from writers such as, Miguel Cervantes and José Echegaray.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

There are even plazas and streets dedicated to writers such as Plaza Jacinto Benavente and Calle Lope de Vega. The houses of some of these writers still stand today and are open to the public, such as Casa Museo Lope de Vega which offers free guided tours.

Plaza Jacinto Benavente

Plaza Jacinto Benavente

Calle Lope de Vega

Calle Lope de Vega

Nowadays, this historic neighborhood has become a trendy spot for people to get together and have a drink paired with a few tapas. Calle de las Huertas is the main street where you can easily find great shops, cafes, and some of Madrid’s finest eateries.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

While exploring the side streets that branch off the main road, keep an eye out for the various boutiques, art galleries, bookstores, and antique shops that make this neighborhood so authentic.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Must-Sees in Barrio de las Letras

Plaza Santa Ana is a well-known hangout spot in this neighborhood. Here you can find a number of restaurants with outdoor seating areas that are perfect for enjoying the ambience with a nice wine or beer.

Plaza Santa Ana

Plaza Santa Ana

Plaza Santa Ana is also where you can find monuments of Calderón de la Barca, Federico García Lorca, and the Teatro Español, making it a popular spot for tourists.

Monument Calderon de La Barca

Monument Calderon de La Barca

Monument Federico Garcia Lorca

Monument Federico Garcia Lorca

Teatro Español

Teatro Español—Madrid’s oldest theater

 

3 Restaurants in Barrio de las Letras

This neighborhood is a hot spot for some of Madrid’s oldest taverns and restaurants that serve typical Spanish dishes and tapas. Here are some of the best ones.

Cervecería Cervantes is a favorite among the locals. It’s decorated with beautiful tiles that give a traditional Spanish feel. Every time I walk past this bar, it’s always packed with people enjoying tapas and beer. This cervecería is known for its seafood that can be ordered in small portions. So stop in and try them all!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Another go-to place is El Lacón on Calle de Manuel Fernández y González. This place has been around since the 60s and has been considered a classic ever since. It’s known for its drink and tapa deal, meaning that with each beer you order, the waiter will bring a small plate of tapas to your table. Not only is this restaurant famous for its incredible deal, but it’s also known for its full plates such as, cocido Madrileño and the meat or fish tablas that can easily feed 3 people or more.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

And if you’re looking for a place that has it all, Casa Alberto is the place for you. This restaurant is hard to miss with its red exterior, antique writing, and open door which allows people to take a peek inside.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

When first entering Casa Alberto, it’s hard to get past the crowd of people drinking and ordering tapas at the bar. But once you’re in the dining room, you are guaranteed a great sit-down meal. For starters, the croquetas de jamón are an amazing way to start your meal. Another great starter is the gazpacho de melon with a prawn tartar. This gazpacho gives a modern twist on the classic Spanish plate by creating a sweet but savory infusion.

Not only are their appetizers high quality, but so are their main dishes. Casa Alberto makes an incredibly flavorful and hearty callos a la Madrileña that’s perfect for a mid-day feast. As a U.S. Midwestern girl who loves red meat, I had to second guess myself after trying the ventresca de bonito. This fish plate was grilled to perfection topped with quality olive oil, fresh garlic, and a side of potatoes.

Make sure to leave room for dessert because Casa Alberto won’t disappoint. Their cream-filled crepes topped with homemade blueberry and cheese ice cream are the perfect go-to dessert. But if you’re looking for something with a bit of an alcoholic twist, the apple and cider sorbet is highly recommended.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Check out all the spots in Barrio de Las Letras featured on Naked Madrid!




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



El Columpio and Fellina restaurants, two gems on Calle de Caracas (Chamberí)


For those of you who’ve read previous posts of mine on Naked Madrid (hopefully there’s a few of you out there aside from my parents), you’ll know that I borderline patrol Madrid on the lookout for all things new, with the dedication of a big cat searching for prey. The thrill of finding somewhere new to eat, or to simply raise a glass is basically akin to me finding the perfect winter coat – aka, it’s seriously satisfying.

Now a couple of months back I wrote about the lovely Le Coco; one of the long-time offerings from Grupo Le Coco. Now should you venture from Chueca to Chamberí, this restaurant group is slowing staking its claim on the Madrid restaurant scene with not one, but two splendid spots on Calle de Caracas: El Columpio and Fellina. And both restaurants are bound to whet your appetite, figuratively and literally.

First up is the perfectly pastel hued El Columpio 

El Columpio restaurant by Naked Madrid

El Columpio restaurant by Naked Madrid

It’s a riot of colour upon entering and the menu reflects that. There’s something for everyone. The Spanish classic that is salmarejo sits nestled next to tuna tartare. Fret not, if you view all things fishy as belonging well under the sea, there’s a rabo de toro lasagne that was hands down one of the best pasta dishes that I’ve gotten my chops around in this city.

El Columpio restaurant by Naked Madrid

Effectively, El Columpio is the equivalent of that friend you’ll always be able to have as your plus one; a crowd pleaser. The décor is as delish as the food, but what particularly floated my boat was the unstuffy vibe, illustrated by the hordes of Madrileños animatedly drinking by the bar.

El Columpio restaurant by Naked Madrid

This place isn’t just for food, it’s for fun. And if you lay off the gin tonics, it’s the kind of place that you can frequent on a Friday night and still have cash to scour Zara with the following day.

Next up is Fellina restaurant, just across the street

Fellina restaurant by Naked Madrid

In complete contrast to El Columpio is the newly opened Fellina, which literally waves to El Columpio from across the calle. So if you’ll indulge me with a little analogy, if El Columpio is your friendly Spanish locale, Fellina is the chic Italian cousin that just rocked up in town clad in some eye catching D&G.

Fellina restaurant by Naked Madrid

Fellina’s menu is an ode to all things from the land of style and spaghetti. Wander in and you’ll be first hit by the piles of fresh produce that adorn every nook and cranny. It’s part Mercado, part ‘waiting to be discovered bistro tucked away on a side street in likes of Naples’.

Fellina restaurant by Naked Madrid

I was there on a Thursday evening and the service was spot on, as was the carpaccio that I devoured in all of about 47 seconds. It’s nigh on impossible to pick out just one thing to try (as I happily chomped my way through the menu with gusto *all in the name of research of course).

Fellina restaurant by Naked Madrid

Fellina restaurant by Naked Madrid

But you’d be hard pressed to find a more impressive ‘tabla’ of antipasti than if you were holidaying on the sunkissed and perennially popular peninsula that is Italy.

Like two latin lovers jostling for your attention, don’t feel obliged to choose between the two. Akin to earrings, El Columpio and Fellina are to be found as a pair. Maybe lunch at one and do dinner at the other. But make no mistake, these two little gems are bringing the magic of that good old Mediterranean diet to Madders.

El Columpio

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle de Caracas, 10
  • Phone: 913 78 75 12

Fellina

  • Facebook
  • Address: Calle de Caracas, 21
  • Phone: 91 410 92 50



Get interactive at "Mad Improv" theater workshops and shows!


Madrid’s theater scene is brimming with activity. You’ll find live micro-theater being performed in bathrooms and lingerie stores, as well as acting classes and alternative shows scheduled daily throughout the city.

But there isn’t much available in English, which is why I want to introduce you to Mad Improv, an English-speaking improv group that’s been shaking things up in Madrid’s interactive theater scene since 2014.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Mad Improv hosts shows and workshops on a regular basis, all run by its cast members in English. Free improv workshops – called “gyms” – are held on Sundays from 5pm-7pm. Gyms are purely donation-based and absolutely everyone is welcome so you never know who might show up. People have even come in on flight layovers!

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

They also hold monthly open shows – called “jams” – where anyone can get up on stage and play improv games. Jams cost €3 with a drink (which probably comes in handy).

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Locations for gyms and jams vary from Fundación First Team in Sol to Retiro when the weather allows. And right now they have a new set of upcoming shows at La Escalera de Jacob!

So check out their Meetup, Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date. Once you attend an event you can also ask one of the organizers to add you to the whatsapp group.

My experience – great way to step out of your comfort zone

I had secretly always wanted to drop in on an acting class, but never got around to it until this summer when two friends, Riju (India) and Laura (Spain), enthusiastically agreed to join me at one of the Sunday gyms. This was in August so the workshop was held in Retiro behind the Palacio de Cristal.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

An international group of about 15 people showed up – the different backgrounds and languages definitely added an element of fun and spontaneity to the mix. And our organizer, Summer Banks (in the photo below), did a great job at including everyone and making sure the exercises were easy to follow.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

What started out with simple warm-up games quickly gave way to more challenging improv activities that admittedly made me feel ridiculous. But it’s a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone, connect with people and laugh a lot. My friends and I left with the feeling that we wanted to try our hands at improv again (and hopefully do it better next time), which meant the fun far outweighed the awkwardness!

Chat with the founder, Ben

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Just before going to the workshop, I had met up with Mad Improv’s founder Ben Nathan-Serio at the newly opened Plántate Café. After studying drama in NYC and working in the field, Ben moved to Barcelona where he first started working in children’s theater. Four years in he launched his own interactive theater production, The Barcelona Time Detectives, and was also a founding member of BIG, The Barcelona Improv Group.

When Ben came to Madrid, he quickly became involved in Madrid’s English-speaking theater scene and founded Mad Improv in 2014. Ben says, “The reason I started Mad Improv was because there was no improv community here; I wanted to reach out to the community in a bigger way, to get people involved.”

What makes improv and interactive theater so special is that it’s empowering, says Ben, as it allows for genuine human interaction and connection. Not to mention, getting out of your comfort zone is both invigorating and fun.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

In addition to Mad Improv, Ben also recently co-founded Live in Theater Madrid, a NYC-based group whose hit interactive show, The Lombardi Case, debuted here in summer. It’s a truly unique and entertaining two-hour event where the audience tries to solve a murder mystery – read our previous article about The Lombardi Case on Naked Madrid!

More to come

While Mad Improv and Live in Theater are alive and kicking in Madrid, Ben just relocated to Austin, Texas, where he’s taking part in a 9-month research lab called The Interactive Deep Dive. And he can’t wait to “come back with some very fresh, invigorating ideas for Live In Theater, Mad Improv and just the city in general.”

So stayed tuned, because we’ll make sure to fill you in on what’s in store.

Mad Improv Info:

 




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.



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.

fullsizeoutput_2c4b

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.

fullsizeoutput_2c4c

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

20030995_10156330196793835_753610364_n

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).

IMG_4811

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