In May I visited Madrid for a long weekend with a friend, whilst the other half was away with the boys. We went for three nights, although the first night didn’t really count in the end as we were delayed out of London because of an air traffic strike in France. They are always on strike! We arrived at our airbnb apartment at 3am. However, we were greeted by our lovely host, a freshly baked madera cake and a bottle of red wine. This definitely helped to ease the pain. I can’t recommend airbnb enough, it’s especially great for city breaks. We stayed in a wicked apartment right in the centre for such a good price. FYI – Malasaña is where we stayed, a mix between Soho and Shoreditch. You are on the doorstep of so many great restaurants and cool bars and plenty of locals live around here.
Obviously, I was mostly excited about all the food I was going to try. I had read and heard a lot about the food in Madrid, many telling me it’s not possible to have a bad meal there. Wow, were they right. The tapas here is amazing, some of the best I have had before in Spain and I’ve been quite a few times. Perhaps its how lively and buzzing everywhere is, there is such a strong pulse to the city. Madrileños are very passionate people.
We tried so many great dishes and I thought I would share some of my favourites. On our first full night we decided to have a little wander and we ended up at a very traditional tapas bar, Casa Alberto which has been around since 1827. The place was heaving, people crammed around tables and stood arm to arm at the bar, so many animated conversations going on all at once. We wandered in and saw that they had a very small restaurant out the back, maybe seating 20 people. We had one of my favourite dishes on the trip here. Octopus with chickpeas and paprika. I can’t wait to try and recreate this dish. The octopus was full of flavour, the use of paprika brought a smoky warmth to the dish and the crushed chickpeas were light and fresh.
Next up is Juana La Loca known for its tortilla de patatas. It was very very good, I like it when they are a bit gooey. But the star was the black fideua (black noodles) with homemade squid sausage. This was recommended by the waitress. This may have have been the favourite of the holiday. It was so full of flavour. Again paprika running through it. So warm and smokey.
One lunchtime we stopped at a place near the Museo del Prado. We tried the “Ali-oli” Potatoes: The luxury version. These were tasty: garlic and potato what is not to like! And just look how well they presented them!
We spent most of our time wandering the streets looking at the beautiful architecture and museums, in between regular stops for a cold drink and a little nibble. My favourite type of holiday. Madrid is such a vibrant place and I can’t wait to go back.
Look at the beautiful architecture – can you tell I like to take photos of buildings and random streets!
I love Spain. I was 3 when I first went. My parents put me on a plane (alone!) and I spent a couple of weeks with some family friends on their farm in Galecia until my parents joined us. I loved being on a working farm and seeing all the animals. I also remember all the amazing home cooked food. I’ve loved Spain ever since.
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