A Foreigners Food Guide to Madrid (Part 1)

Madrid is unlike any other Spanish city, especially when it comes to eating out. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafes and bars on every street meaning you are never stuck for choice, which is also a great way to entertain visitors to the city. The sheer quantity of places to dine means you never have to eat in the same place twice, although having lived here for over a year now, there are of course a few places I have fallen slightly in love with. As my mum and brother have been over visiting me this week, we made the most of the food culture and checked out a few different eateries around the city.

These were some of my favs (and the fanciest!):

La Mucca (de Pez)

La Mucca Header

Photo Credit: La Mucca

La Mucca is probably one of the busiest restaurants in Madrid. I have wanted to go for a long time but getting a reservation is difficult unless you plan in advance. Thankfully however, August in Madrid is much quieter as most of the Spanish use that month to go on holiday. The restaurant (cleverly) also offers you the option to book online, which is how I snapped up a table this time.

If you are looking for incredible tasting food, this is the place. You have the option of dining inside or out on the ground terrace but regardless of where you choose, the atmosphere is fantastic and the décor is quite elegant yet somehow cosy. The menu has plenty of choices to suit both tourists and natives and is not too expensive. We shared four plates between us, two starters and two mains (we were four people). It was the perfect amount of food but of course my brother and I still managed to find room for dessert! Here’s what we ate:

For Starters

Mezze (Taboule, Babaganoush and Hummus)

Starter - Mezza

Quesadillas with guacamole

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For Main Course

Hawaiian Pizza (with added bacon – always add bacon!!)

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Thai Chicken Curry

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…and to save the best for last, Dessert

Apple Pie (La Mucca style)

(I didn’t really share too much of this!)

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(My brother also had the chocolate brownie which was to die for, but he ate it so fast I didn’t get time to get a snap of it!)

How to find La Mucca

Plaza de Carlos Cambronero 4,

28004 Madrid

Telf: +34 91 521 00 00

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Malaspina

There is, quite naturally, an immense amount of delicious tapas places around Madrid but for me this is the one that stands out and I would eat here every night if I could. Malaspina restaurant is right in the heart of the city which means the atmosphere surrounding it is fantastic regardless of what night you go. The first time I went with friends was during the world cup and we chose this place because there was NO screen. Sorry to disappoint but I am not a football fan…at all. Therefore having no screen was a huge selling point for me. Any football fans out there however might want to go here on a non-match night just in case!

Entrance

Photo Credit: Taberna Malaspina

The tapas menu is undeniably delicious. If you like Spanish food, you will want everything on the menu. That is where the waiters really excel – they are extremely helpful in advising you on how much food is enough for your group and gladly offer up their suggestions and recommendations. That kind of customer service can often be hard to find in Spain but in Malaspina, it’s definitely not lacking.

After a lot of deliberation these are the tapas we chose:

Tapas

‘Pisto’ Manchego with a fried egg on top (very typically Spanish)

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Smoked Salmon on toasted bread with cream cheese and a lemon wedge

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Calamares with lemon wedges (my favourite!!)

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After ordering these plates first, our waiter advised us to eat what we had and then to order more after if we were still hungry. Needless to say, with a sangria in my hand and the two baskets of bread on the table, between the three of us we couldn’t have managed any more, but I wouldn’t complain about going back another night to try a different selection!

How to find Malaspina

Calle Cadiz, 9

28012, Madrid

Telf: +34 915 23 40 24

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Harvest

If you happen to find yourself wandering the Paseo de la Castellana (the main avenue in Madrid) and you get a bit peckish, Harvest is the place you want to go. You can find it at number 40, right in the middle of the avenue (and coincidentally/luckily) right near my work! I have had quite a few lunches in Harvest since working here, during 99% of which, I have ordered the same dish – a Thai chicken salad –  because I just cannot get enough of it. I don’t even like spicy foods but the mixture of flavours and textures in the salad all topped with a beautiful, not-overly spicy, sweet chili sauce gets me every. single. time. When I brought my mum and brother here, they had the brilliant idea of ordering something different and as it turns out, all their plates are just as delicious.

Entrance 2

Photo Credit: Harvest

Due to the location, ordering from the regular menu can be a little pricey but the great thing about this place is that they have a huge variety of other less costly options such as sandwiches, bocadillos (baguettes) and salads for lunch. With a take out menu and a ‘menu del día’ (menu of the day) on offer as well, you will definitely be able to find something delicious to keep you going until you get home!

Here’s what we had:

My mum isn’t a big eater so she chose this option. It was the perfect amount for her!

Toasted bread with cheese and bacon.

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My brother and I on the other hand have hollow legs so he had one of the burger options.

The Harvest burger (with spiced pork, lettuce, tomato, bacon, Gorgonzola cheese and again, in typical Spanish style, a fried egg on top).

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This is the Thai chicken salad I had which tasted every bit as good as it looks.

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How to find Harvest

Paseo de la Castellana, 40

28046, Madrid

Telf: +34 91 576 57 04

If you have already been or get the chance to eat out in any of the places I wrote about, it would be great to know what you think of them too! Or if you have any recommendations of other cool places to eat out in Madrid, I would love to hear about them!

Happy eating!!