Madrid Guide for Tourist

Madrid Guide for Tourist

TAPAS

Not so long ago, bartenders in Madrid used to tapar (cover) drinks with saucers to keep the flies out. Later, servers began putting little sandwiches on top of the saucers, and there you have it: tapas.

Hopping from bar to bar gobbling tapas is an active alternative to a full sit-down meal. Most tapas bars (tascas or tabemas) are open noon-4pm and 8pm-midnight or later; many cluster around Plaza Santa Ana and Plaza Mayor. Authentic bars pack Calle Cuchilleros and Calle de la Cruz.

Anton Martin. Interior dining room decorated with bullfighting and Cervantine relics; Cervantes wrote the second part of El Quijote here. The tapas are all original house recipes. Get the feel of their gambas at ajillo (shrimp with garlic and hot peppers; ‚8.40) or the canapes (‚2). Sit-down dinner is a bit pricey. Open Tu-Sa noon-5:30pm and 8pm-l:30am. AmExMCV.

The tiled mural at the back depicts famous artists from Velazquez to Goya-as stumble-drunks. Serves tapas by afternoon and drinks by night. Flamenco Tu night. Open daily lpm-late.

La Toscana, C. Manuel Fernandez Gonzalez 10-12 (914 29 60 31). M: Sol or Sevilla. A local crowd hangs out over tapas of morcilla asado (‚8). Spacious bar jam-packed on weekends. Open Tu-Sa l-4pm and 8pm-midnight.

Casa Amadeo, PI. de Cascorro 18 (913 65 94 39). M: La Latina. The jovial owner of 60 years supervises the making of house specialty caracoles (snails; tapas ‚4.80, raclon ‚12) and chorizo made with snails (‚4.80). Other raclones ‚2-5.50. Open Su and Tu-Sa 10:30am-4pm and 7-10:30pm. 0

CAFES

Spend an afternoon lingering over a cafe con leche and soak up Madrilenian culture in historic cafes.

Cafe-Botilleria Manuela, C. de San Vicente Ferrer 29. M: Tribunal. Upbeat music and contemporary artwork contrast with late 19th-century decor. Specialty international cocktails ‚3-5. Traditional tapas menu ‚2-8. Story-telling and live music Sa 9:30pm. Open July-Aug. Su and Tu-Sa 6pm-2:30am; Sept.-June daily 4pm-2am.

El Cafe de Oriente, PI. del Oriente 2. M: Opera. An old-fashioned cafe catering to a ritzy, older crowd. Spectacular view of the Palacio Real from the terraza, especially at night when floodlights illuminate the facade. Specialty coffees (‚1.80-5.60) live up to their price. Open Su-Th 8:30am-l:30am, F-Sa 8:30am-12:30am.

Cafe Gijon, Po. de Recoletos 21. M: Colon. Enjoy thought-provoking conversation and good coffee in this historic landmark. Popular with intellectuals. A perfect stop during a walking tour of the paseos. Coffee from ‚2.60. Open Su-Th 7am-l:30am, F-Sa 7am-2am. AmExMCV.

Cafe Comercial, Glorieta de Bilbao 7. M: Bilbao. Founded in 1887, Madrid’s oldest cafe boasts high ceilings, cushioned chairs, and huge mirrors perfect for people-watching. Coffee ‚1.10 at the bar, ‚1.80 at a table. Open M-Th 7:30am-l:30am, F-Sa 8am-2am, Su lOam-lam.

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