I must admit writing about food is probably one of my favourite things ever. I’ve come to the conclusion that during our stay in Madrid we tried so many amazing flavours they all actually deserve their own place on this blog. I’m hereby inviting you for a small walk through cafes and restaurants we had the pleasure to visit and where we were treated to some awesome deliciousness.
In case you’re a pro burger hunter like us, you will want to know of the Bacoa Burger joints. This cute burger company has already grown into quite a chain in Spain but the one we really liked is located at Carrera de S. Jerónimo, 3 in Madrid. Like all their branches, this one, too, is very minimal, tidy and just nice to be at. Plus, you can build your own burgers – what’s not to love? For those who have never been there, you need to know you don’t ‘just’ order at the bar but you first compose your meal and only then move to order your masterpiece and pay. Sounds complicated but it is super easy! You get yourself a menu with some boxes to tick off with a Bacoa branded pencil and off you go! Choose your bun, type of burger meat (chicken, beef, vegan), add your extras – from cheese, through avo, gherkins to homemade pickled onions which are extra yummy. In the unlikely case this turns out too difficult, the staff are always there to help. We fell in love with Bacoa for just that – they make their own stuff. Apart from getting some really tasty fresh meats and produce, they make their own lemonade, pickles and sauces. All of the Bacoa joints we’ve been to were bright, spacious, comfy and clean. The Madrid place has some really cool, industrial décor with lots of bottles with plants growing inside on exposed brick walls. This style also adds to the feeling of some really cool freshness. Plus, I need to mention something that will make many readers happy – they speak English and have English language menus, which is quite extraordinary for Spain, I find. Over our many trips around the country Bacoa has become some sort of a must for us, so we always visit it and it never disappoints. As a burger connoisseuse I typically attack the burger menu but the next time I’m there I just must try their home-made ice-cream and salads. Normally, the burger and their local beer fill my tummy right to the top and there’s no space left for anything else, so I need to be really disciplined next time and just go for the sweets and snacks. I totally recommend paying the place a visit. You won’t regret it.
Speaking of burgers, there’s also the TGB – another yummy Spanish burger chain. During our stay in the capital, we visited the one located at Plaza del Comercio: San Sebastián de los Reyes 1-12. All you burger-loving people won’t be disappointed here either! Though not as big as the portions at Bacoa, the food is simply delish! And once you finish your meal, you will ask for another one. The home-made fries and local brew are also great. The place is spacious, with cosily dimmed lights so spending your time there feels just awesome. On sunny days you can enjoy your meal outside, too. The prices are reasonable and the staff are helpful, friendly and speak English which, at least for us, is always huge help.
But enough about burgers! Let’s speak dessert! I’d like to recommend you a really special place in Madrid that you just need to visit. It is Chocolatería San Ginés located at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5.
It is one of the most famous chocolate bars in Madrid that offers super delicious churros and drinking chocolate. Chocolateria got its fame thanks to the celebrity guests from the nearby Teatro Real, who often gathered exactly there after their performances ended. The place has become so popular over time that it turned into some sort of a churro Mekka for actors, singers, and whatnot! And the place is just gorgeous inside… and of course all covered with photos of the famous guests. It has been running since 1894, pretty much 24/7, which means your midnight churro cravings and dreams can now come true 😉 And of course, it is crowded with tourists and you need to queue for a while but it is so worth it. Their speciality – churros – are just extremely delicious and go so well with the cup of hot chocolate. Please, do not be on a diet when in Madrid or at least give yourself a cheat moment and try those incredible, fluffy bites. They are worth everything.
Additionally, quite near Puerta del Sol there is a small, local café that also treated our taste buds very well. You will find it at Calle del Carmen 17 and it is called Café Carmen 17. It is a very cosy little bistro with great mojitos and lovely desserts. We tried their ice-cream and a combination of ice-cream with apple pie and a generous portion of whipped cream. Plus, the prices were very pocket-friendly and the place itself really cute. The only thing I could maybe complain about were the staff who did not deal with English too well and preferred to avoid us as much as possible. Even though I understand that you can be shy about a foreign language, that was a bit odd. It also led to some weird, incorrect bill we got that included dishes and drinks that had been ordered by another table but we managed to explain the confusion and all was fine in the end. I also need to warn you that waiting for your order might take ages and we waited for just our drinks for nearly 40 mins! You might also get something you did not ask for because staff did not quite understand your wish. So that may be a bit annoying. However, I will say that we both enjoyed our time there. Not perfect but close enough. Just take along something to read so that you do not fall asleep waiting for your order.
Also close to the famous Puerta there is a really lovely place called Parrilla Alhambra. Exactly at Calle de la Vistoria 1 we had a really tasty dinner. My husband ordered, the famous Spanish soup with ham and I chose broiled aubergine with goat’s cheese and some sauce. Everything was super delicious and fresh, prices reasonable, and the atmosphere very homely. The place got full within minutes since we arrived and the friendly waiters still had a moment for a quick chat with every guest. All in all, I totally recommend this place and will definitely go there again.
We also had a great meal at Fontán Canalejas which is located at Plaza de Canalejas, 6. For myself, I ordered a traditional Spanish potato and onion omelette and my hubby had a veal scallopini in Asturian ‘cabralese’ blue cheese sause, with some beer. The food was really fresh and tasty, very flavoursome and incredibly pocket-friendly, I need to admit. The place itself was really cosy, nice and clean, with a massive mirror on one of the walls. The staff were really nice, except for the restaurant manager who insisted on watching a footie game on the telly, with massive volume on. Even though his staff saw the guests, including ourselves, being unhappy about it, he completely ignored everyone and kept doing his thing. So, he put the volume to way up high, smoked his cigarette and showed no interest in his guests. We had a couple of go’s to convince one of the waitresses to do something, but he seemed to put the volume even higher. For us, is a big NO. Such a shame…
A place that I can definitely recommend is 5J Cinco Jotas, which you can find at Calle Serrano 118. Even though the prices are a bit steep, the quality compensates everything. The restaurant is quite small but also really elegant and charming. The staff were professional and friendly, and we felt really taken good care of. I had a salad with walnuts, goat’s cheese and cranberry sauce, and my husband had his favourite Spanish ham soup. Both dishes were incredibly delicious and even though the portions were not the largest in the world, we had such an amazing meal there. If you have a couple more euros to spend, you should totally pay this place a visit! It’s a delicious spend.
I hope I managed to keep your taste buds going and convince you to go and try Madrid. Everything we had there was always an incredible experience. I personally so often come back to my photos from that journey and simply drool over the images of a Bacoa burger or the churros. Spanish cuisine is one of my very beloved ones in the world and it is somewhat so sentimental to me as well. This is, to me at least, what a sunny, romantic, chilled out Madrid tastes like…