Madrid Wine and Food

Madrid’s Best Restaurants: Street XO

August 8, 2013
StreetXO:  one of Madrid's best restaurants

You have to eat standing up and you are on the top floor of a department store, but despite that StreetXO is one of the most exciting places to eat in Madrid at the moment. This is the casual street food outpost of the most sought after reservations in Madrid, Diverxo. Chef David Muñoz is now presenting his Asian fusion cuisine at this open kitchen joint where the music is loud, the atmosphere slightly chaotic, and young dynamic chefs prepare each dish fresh to order. Really unique flavor combinations and beautiful presentations made for exciting, adventurous eating. I loved all the dishes I tried and wished I could fit more! The location is actually great…in the awesome Gourmet Experience Gran Via on the top floor of the El Corte Ingles Callao. Stay for a drink afterwards and watch the sun set over the rooftops of Madrid!

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Best Tapas with a View in Madrid

August 6, 2013
StreetXO:  one of Madrid's best restaurants

El Corte Ingles, the famous Spanish department store, launched the Gourmet Experience several years ago and it’s a great concept. It’s a luxury food court concept, with eat-in and take-away gourmet food and drink stands, eating areas, bars, and gourmet market….all rolled into one. Each new inauguration has stepped up the concept and the latest one is by far the best: the Gran Via Gourmet Experience on the top floor of the Corte Ingles Callao. Located right at the heart of Madrid and convenient for both tourist and locals alike, the space offers spectacular views of the Madrid skyline. It’s also initiated extended hours and is open until midnight seven days a week! There is a wonderful terrace, great tapas bars and restaurants…it’s the perfect place for a full meal, or just drinks and dessert. Lots more detail after the break…

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Madrid’s Best Bars: The Dry

July 25, 2013
Best bar in Madrid:  The Dry

Besides friends, wine, and food, one of my greatest pleasures of going back to Madrid is the gin culture. Spain remains obsessed with gin and despite persistent rumors, the gin and tonic wave is still going strong. The Spanish really know how to do justice to a gin tonic, with a huge selection of premium gins and tonics, carefully selected garnishes and proper preparation. Though we have great gin cocktails in many parts here in the US in what I am happy to see is a growing trend, I’ve been generally disappointed with the gin tonics. There are many places to get a great gin tonic in Madrid, some pretentious and overpriced, others cozy neighborhood bars, but the place to go for great cocktails, perfect service, and to feel really special is the Dry Bar in the Hotel Melia Fenix.

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Best steaks in Madrid: Vaca Nostra

July 21, 2013
Vaca Nostra restaurant in Madrid for great steaks

Great meat is easy to find in Spain, we are spoiled with fantastic chuletón steaks and amazing ibérico pork. The best quality cuts are prepared most simply, grilled, rarely a sauce in sight, allowing the meats to shine. I have such great memories of simple Basque steakhouses or asadores, where the only thing on the menu is a great steak served with peppers, green salad and Rioja wine. Restaurante Vaca Nostra in Madrid, takes the cult of meat in Spain to an even higher level. An almost all-meat menu, with rare cuts of dry-aged beef and special artisanal lamb, a meat consultant to aid you in your selection, and a great supporting cast of starters, side dishes and wines to support your meat experience. It can come at a price, depending on how far you let yourself go, but you will have an outstanding, truly carnivorous experience.

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Madrid Tapas: Mercado de San Miguel

January 15, 2013
Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid for great Spanish wine and tapas

Mercado de San Miguel is the eat-in market concept taken to its highest level and is not to be missed on any visit to Madrid. You can expect insane crowds at peak hours, but that’s part of the fun, and it gives you a fun atmosphere in which to wander, edge in for some seating, try some tapas and have a few drinks. When I lived in Madrid, I loved to complain about the crowds like everyone, but I was always there anyway. A few more markets have opened in Madrid with similar concepts and the best of them is the Mercado de San Anton in the Chueca district…it is also worth a visit. But you can’t can’t beat the location, atmosphere, food, and wine at Madrid’s original tapas market, San Miguel.

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Casa Ricardo: Traditional Spanish Tapas in Madrid

December 19, 2012
Casa Ricardo for Spanish Comfort food in Madrid

Casa Ricardo, in the Moncloa district of Madrid, is one of those old fashioned places, tiled walls, bull-fighting memorabilia, local clientele, that really represents the spirit of Madrid. All the new, fashionable places with their upscale tapas, their fusion cuisine, and their multi-page wine list are re-inventing Madrid’s culinary scene….but sometimes you have to get back to basics. Luckily for every one of those new-tangled palaces, these are still ten Casa Ricardos…these places are what still gives Madrid that truly Spanish feel. All the traditional comfort foods are there, fried in vast quantities of good olive oil, and your drink options are only beer, red or white.

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Wine Lovers Madrid 2012

December 14, 2012
Madrid for Wine Lovers

This is a much needed update to my 2010 post on good wine bars in Madrid. Madrid is still a challenging wine place….getting better, but challenging. Great tapas and easy-drinking quaffable wines to wash them down abound, but if you are visiting and really want to explore some of the better wines it’s still not easy. For wine lovers visiting Madrid there are a few vital wine places I would recommend….the top two being Casa Lucas and the Mercado de San Miguel.

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Taberna Arzábal in Madrid: Butter and Truffle Potatoes

December 4, 2012
Taberna Arzábal:  a great tapas restaurant in Madrid

One of the nice new restaurant surprises in Madrid this time, my friend Nancy took me here knowing I’d love it. And love it I did…it has all I’m looking for: great food at reasonable prices, a fine wine list with reasonable mark ups, good service, nice atmosphere, and a huge vat of French salted farmhouse butter! It’s a place I could have returned to several times during my trip, and regretted I couldn’t. I’m still dreaming of the truffled eggs and those cigalas! Highly recommended to anyone visiting Madrid!

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Recession Spain: a fantastic food and wine destination

November 30, 2012
Great Spanish food and wine

Such a lovely trip to Spain! So much great food and wine! That bustling, loud, yet warm and inviting atmosphere still prevails in Madrid bars and restaurants, despite the persistently grim economic news. It’s been sad to see some old favorites succumb to hard times, but new, exciting projects are everywhere and the amount of food options at all price points remains abundant and inspiring. Overall value for money is fantastic and Spain remains a great destination and wonderful source of inspiration in difficult times.

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Cheese heaven in Madrid

October 14, 2012
Cheese Bar Madrid for great wine and cheese

Great cheese is not so easy to find in Spain. There often isn’t much variety, only variations on Manchego, and even the quality of the Manchego can vary greatly. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t spectacular cheese being produced out there, just that the great cheeses of Spain are not appreciated as much as they deserve. Artesanal cheese stores such as Poncelet have long offered these great cheeses but now diners can now enjoy the first cheese specialty restaurant in Madrid: Poncelet’s Cheese Bar.

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