Madrid is an ancient city with a rich, complex history which can easily be tasted in its cuisine. Moorish influences rounded out by mediterranean sensibilities, flavored with a bit of panache from Gaul, Madrid has a cosmopolitan palate to suit any taste.
My first stop was the Mercado de San Miguel, which is classified as food hall but is much more a cathedral to cuisine. Truly expansive and well designed, this cavernous delicious depot has flavors, food, and drink to satiate any desire. From small plates, to fried delights, to fresh produce, and delicious wines, you can easily spend hours wandering through the stalls, sampling all the flavors that make up Madrid.
For a more entrenched experience La Huerta de Tudela is a must, which is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever had the pleasure of dining in. Light, warm and with a welcomed attention to detail, La Huerta is a self contained experience all to it’s own. Here ingredients are brought fresh every morning from their local farm to make some of the brightest and flavorful dishes in all of Spain.
Madrid is of course no stranger to tapas, and Casa Macareno located in the flirty malasana district is its finest example. Locals fill the joint starting with Russian salads, then finishing with epic house cured charcuterie platters that will leave you howling.
For a more modern approach on tapas La Musa will amuse you for sure. Sit al fresco in the lovely Plaza Paja and treat yourself to fresh burrata, asian croquettes, Indonesian roasted cauliflower, camerons buns, and of course ice cold vermut to wash it down.
For an experience you simply won’t forget, reserve a stage-side table at Corral de la Moreria. This place is no secret and has been graced with some of the most talented actors in history and Brendan Fraser. Corral’s dinner service is exceptional, which it really doesn’t have to be, considering they provide the absolute best Flamenco dancing in the world nightly. Dancers have been picked by hand, and shows rotate every week, and have been since 1956. Unfortunately I witnessed Belen Lopez perform, and left my heart at the table. If you go see if it is still there for me.
Finally, if you want to have an experience you simply cannot anywhere else, experience Botin who make the best suckling Iberic pig you will ever have. They should know what they are doing since they’ve been making Suckling pig for over 300 years, and is the oldest restaurant in the world. It was so special I did a short documentary about them which is worth seeing if you’ve just eaten.
Thank you Madrid, you are a city that fills the soul as well as the stomach like no other city in the world.
And stay tuned as I cover Madrid for Get Lost Magazine (www.getlostmagazine.com) this week, celebrating this ancient city who is about to host the amazing Davis Cup Tennis Championship in November.