Madrid restaurants are dripping with awards and other accolades, making it one of the most exciting culinary places to explore. However, the gastronomic treasures housed within its restaurants are not the only interesting eats for the visiting foodie to indulge in. From regional street food treats to diverse food markets, the foodie in Madrid will never find their palates bored while in the city.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Botin is the oldest restaurant in the world. With it's opening dating back to 1725, Botin has been graced with some of the most famous figures that have passed through Madrid, from Goya washing dishes during his time here to Hemingway noshing on hearty food before making his way to the bars. Today, Botin is regarded as one of the major tourist restaurants in Spain due to its impressive world record holding, but that shouldn't put any foodies off. Botin is still one of the best places to sample traditional Spanish food in a traditional Spanish restaurant setting. Diners should be sure to sample their specialities which include cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and cordero asodo (roast lamb).
Located on one of Madrid's most stylish streets, La Buganvilla is a must stop restaurant in the city. Their subtle maritime theme accents their special Mediterranean menu, but of all their Mediterranean fare, they are best known for one thing - paella. Paella is one of the most beloved dishes in Spanish culture, but it can be tricky to do the right way. Diners are La Buganvilla will be able to experience authentic paella that utilizes quality ingredients in an elegant setting. La Buganvilla has a number of different paella dishes available including the traditional Arroz Valencia made with chicken as well as the more daring Arroz a Banda that is cooked with squid and Aioli sauce.
Visitors shouldn't be confused by the name, while the Biblioteca restaurant used to be the library of the Duke of Santo Mauro, it is no longer. The restaurant still features the antique fireplace, book-lined walls and cherry wood panelling of its original design, but instead of serving up literature, it now served up modern Spanish cuisine. The lush outdoor terrace is the perfect spot for pre-dinner cocktails while diners will be able to select the perfect wine to go with their signature dishes like their cold cream leeks with fig and sea bass tartar from their wine cellar that boasts 200 different vintages.
While some avant-garde foodies may find it a bit lacking in variety, the tapas at La Venencia is this particular food sensation in its most traditional form. Foodies from abroad may have tried tapas in all its most stylish and creative incarnations back home, but Spain is one of the few places where they can find tapas done the traditional way. La Venencia is as old as it looks with paint peeling away from its exterior and dark stained wood walls inside that give it a feel of authenticity. The dishes within are kept simple, serving just cold cuts of meats, cheeses, chorizo, sausages and cured tuna, but they are delectability in their purest forms. La Venencia doesn't keep a large wine cellar as it has no need to; they only stock the local wines that have been selected to pair perfectly with their simple tapas menu.
El Corral de la Morenia
Corral de la Morería, flamenco en Madrid courtesey of Facebook
El Corral de la Morenia is one of the best places to stop for dinner in Madrid. They take dinner and a show to a whole new level by offering up traditional Spanish fare alongside nightly shows of authentic Flamenco dancing. The restaurant is unique right down to the way its seating is set up. Long tables line either side of the stage so that all patrons have the best seats in the house to watch talented men and women show off their Flamenco skills. As for the cuisine at El Corral de la Morenia, it caters to a variety of different budgets but they all provide a premium taste of Spain. Their Iberian pork cut with caramelized apples, Spanish sausage couscous and Idaizabel cheese sauce is an ever-popular favourite, but their steamed Galician hake loin in pil pil cream sauce is a great dish for those that want to try something different.
Dinner at the Markets
There is no better way to get to know the food culture of a country better than spending time in its markets. For those who have a place to cook in the city, a trip to traditional markets like Mercado de Maravillas is the perfect place to shop for the freshest ingredients that can be turned into a wonderful meal. However, it's not likely visitors will have access to a kitchen. Instead, visitors should make a loop around the Mercado de San Miguel Market. Not only can visitors sample all of the wonderful Spanish snacks like olives, anchovies, and quail egg pincho, but they host prepared food stalls that are excellent for a simple and flavourful lunch. Visitors can even take some of the fresh ingredients they purchase at the market and ask the stalls to cook them up in whatever way they desire.
Have you done tapas in Madrid?
Let us know which flavours you loved - comment below!
Related content on Canadian Traveller