MADRID, SPAIN. I was six when I first set foot in Paris, my first time in Europe as well. As an ordinary six-year-old kid, I was obviously impressed by the sight of the Eiffel tower and the Champs Elysées; however, what grabbed me most was, without a doubt, the French food. Ever since that trip, I have – rather unconsciously—managed to turn all of my travels into gastronomic voyages. Unsurprisingly, my semester abroad in Madrid is one of them. Below are four of my favorite Madrilenian restaurants, secrets to those that might not live here:
Definitely my favorite place for brunch! I just went there last week with a friend of mine and we ended up having a feast. There is something for everyone here: the seafood that they offer is very fresh (their oysters are especially great), the curry chicken is just perfect (the sauce is the secret) and the tarte tatin is an absolutely must! The restaurant is divided into two dining areas, likely done to attract different crowds: for the younger crowd, on one side, you have a very casual ambience with contemporary paintings and images on the walls and a bar-service while on the other side, the restaurant offers you a more elegant and classy dining experience where the room is lit with chandeliers and candles.
Bonus: During the weekend’s brunch hours, there is always a saxophonist who plays beautifully while you and your friends enjoy the delicious food!
Although there are two different restaurants of the same name, this one is situated in my favorite barrio – Malasaña – here in Madrid. The restaurant itself is built very small and narrow but I think this helps create a very cozy and comfortable feel to the place. Again, there is something for everyone here as the dishes served are fusions of many different cuisines. As this is a tapas restaurant, I think it is a great place to come and order random dishes to share with your friends. Let the cooks surprise you with their creations! Regardless of whether you like desserts or not, the Sweet Sushi is a must. And don’t just order one to share: you will end up wasting a lot of time waiting for the second round to come!
Harina is great in absolutely every way (at least the ones in Malasaña and Puerta de Alcalá). The service is great, the atmosphere is excellent and the food is literally to die for. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a lazy day (or any day really) as the people who eat there are usually very chill and hip. I once went there and although my friend didn’t show up, decided to stay and eat there. No one looked at me or found it weird because there were a couple of people that day who came alone with a book just for the food and the brief chat with the waiter. Clearly, a great place with fantastic food and a relaxed atmosphere.
For me, Naif is a very special place. During the day, it is the perfect place to come have a coffee while working on your laptop. At night, however, everything changes: the lights dim poco a poco and, soon enough, you will see crowds of people coming in either for a cocktail at the bar or for dinner with friends. The food there is good, though nothing very sophisticated as they serve wraps, sandwiches and hamburgers. The Norwegian rolls are my personal favorite, which, in normal words, is a salmon wrap. Their tinto de verano seems to be quite famous (or it might just be a part of the Spanish diet) as every time I go there, everyone has it as a before, during and after-drink.