Founded in 1860 and having celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010, Casa Labra continues to function as a tavern and restaurant to this day. Its specialty is codfish and it is well-known for its fried cod and cod croquettes. Naturally, Casa Labra gets packed on the weekends, with patrons spilling out onto the street from the crowded dining hall. In 1947, the Molina family bought the business from its previous owners and today it’s run by the third generation of the family
El Mercado de la Reina is probably one of the best tapas places in the Chueca neighborhood. The restaurant is nice and spacious, with doors opening onto La Reina St. (this is the restaurant side) and onto Gran Vía (the tapas side). The tapas are stupendous and the place is usually pretty packed, proof of the great price/quality relationship. One important detail is that the kitchen is always open and this makes it a great choice for a meal or a quick snack at any hour.
By the way, you can’t miss the sensational Spanish potato omelet, especially when they’re fresh out of the kitchen. They melt in your mouth.
Very good atmosphere and service are two of the things one can find in Ojalá...
You can go on almost any occasion: you can start the night enjoying one of the best mojitos I tried in Madrid with funk, rock or chill out music, but it is also great for group reunions and to enjoy a very good lunch or dinner.
There are two floors, the upper one with the bar and some tables to eat, but if you want a summer atmosphere all year long, the best is to go downstairs where sitting between pillows and sand, with the light of candles and with a space for dinner in groups, the waiters take your orders...
There's a variety of food, from meat (the wild boar brochettes are incredible) to salads (the foie one is delicious), although the first time it is probably better to order the tasting menu so that the next times you already have an idea about the culinary aspect.
This picturesque Cafe, founded in 1879, tells stories of Segovian traveling salesmen that went there to buy wine and spirits from Chinchon. It is also said that in their rooms the bullfighters would put on their suits before leaving for the ring. The Cafe has a lovely balcony-terrace and several dining rooms full of charm, although the Toreros, and the Patio are the most successful. On the menu, the following dishes are highlighted: ham, lamb sweetbreads, and the variety of dishes made with grilled fish and meat.
The Sala de Despiece is definitely the star of Calle Ponzano, a street in Madrid’s Chamberi district which has seen a meteoric rise in popularity and is now one of the city’s top destinations for foodies and bar hoppers. Sala de Despiece offers and ultra-modern take on traditional Spanish fare, even making nods to molecular gastronomy and incorporating flavors from Asia and Latin America. The results are simply amazing. Really, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Madrid in a long time.
They hand-written menu is divided into various sections (appetizers, meats, seafood, preserves, vegetarian, desserts, etc.). We ordered a few bottles of La Virgen, a local beer, and opted for the grilled sweetbreads marinated in the bizarre but ultimately amazing combination of oyster sauce and whole grain mustard, razor clams with roe and algae which tasted like a mouthful of the bright blue ocean, a steak tartar which was nice but nothing out of the ordinary, and the restaurant’s luxurious star dish, the “Rolex,” consisting of a fat hunk of foie gras topped with an egg yolk, wrapped in pancetta, and briefly cooked table-side with a blow torch. It was, no joke, one of the single best bites of food I’ve ever had. It literally melted in my mouth. To finish up, we ordered a dessert of brie cheese mousse, fresh berries, apple juice concentrate, and puffed quinoa balls which was the perfect way to end the meal.
Given the quality of the food, the prices are more than acceptable, often times not rising more than a Euro or so above those found in traditional greasy-spoon type Spanish bars. All in all, with four beers, the sweetbreads, clams, steak tartar, Rolex, and dessert, we ended up paying around 50 euros. Unbeatable! One thing to remember is that the place itself is tiny and very, very popular so be prepared to eat on foot at the bar after a 15 or 20 minute wait. A lot of foreign visitors balk at this prospect, but tapas at the bar is the Spanish way, so get into it! If you want the best chance of getting a good spot, make sure to get there early on a weeknight. Don’t miss it!
La Antoñita, located in an old soap shop, is the restaurant of the Posada del Dragón, even though it’s open to everyone. One must go there to discover its delicious Iberian secret with guacamole, prepared in front of everyone in the grill, or the delicious tart tatin with vanilla ice cream. Meanwhile, the Dragónate bar will be the best choice if we are looking for original tapas and plates, such as the delicious patatas bravas.
If you go there, don’t forget to look at the floor of the main room to contemplate the remains of an ancient Christian wall of the 11th and 12th Century. On summer days, a table in the terrace of the yard will be the perfect place to taste its delicacies.