After an 8 hour bus right from Lisbon to Madrid, we finally arrived! You can check out more about our first day here. Madrid is such a beautiful city, filled with lots of culture and delicious Spanish tortilla.
We arrived late on our first day or should I say, evening, in Madrid. We went to an aesthetically pleasing youthful bar called the Inclan Brutal Bar. I believe it was a Sunday, so we got to hear live music accompanied with our tapas. We ordered delicious cocktails, our first ever Spanish tortilla (with a twist), octopus legs and croquettes. The highlight of our dinner was the Spanish tortilla because it was served warm, it had a yummy truffle flavour and the yolk was lightly cooked. I highly recommend visiting this bar at least once during your Madrid trip. We ended the night off walking through Puerta de Sol, a public square in Madrid and saw some other live entertainment.
We woke up early to beat the July heat. We spent the morning walking through El Retiro park. It’s one of the largest parks in the city and it belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century before it became a public park. I also wanted to see the Palacio de Cristal, which is located within the park. It’s a glass conservatory with beautiful structures within the building. After exploring the conservatory, I tried one of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever tried during this entire Europe trip. It’s called the napolitana de crema from La Mallorquina.
This God-like pastry took me out of this world. My fiancé, Akeel, can vouch that this pastry is delicious and it’s something that we believe everyone should try. It’s a bun that is filled with a custard cream wrapped in a puff pastry. I know it sounds so simple but it tastes extraordinary.
Afterwards, we decided to grab some lunch and went to Casa Toni for some sweet breads, cuttlefish, and patata bravas. Sweetbreads is the go-to dish at Casa Toni. Sweetbreads is essentially the left-over parts of the animal that no one really wants, like organ meat, but made tastefully! In this case, I believe the sweetbreads were lamb neck. Akeel’s favourite dish was the cuttlefish because of the soft texture.
For dinner, we explored Mercado de San Miguel. This is a great place for those who don’t know what they want to eat but still want to try authentic Spanish cuisine. They had everything from stuffed olives to empanadas to Iberian ham. Click here to see what we got. In short, we loved the stuffed olives and marinated in vinegar sardines. The empanadas were dry and lacked flavour.
Nothing starts the day off like having chocolate in it’s most natural form, liquid. We went to Chocolateria San Gines for our very first Spanish churros and boy, I was not disappointed! I don’t understand why we can’t make churros in Canada like they do in Spain. It’s airy, it doesn’t feel heavy and the crisp is everything. Don’t even get me started on the chocolate, it wasn’t sweet yet it was weirdly creamy. It was so good; I just drank it whole.
We then decided to walk to Mercado Jamón Iberico. One of things were looked forward too on this trip was trying true Iberian ham as it originates from Spain and Portugal. We’ve always been a lover of cold cuts and charcuterie meats, so this immediately enticed us. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had it but this felt like one of the more authentic places to grab it. We wanted to splurge a little and try the 100% black-label jamòn iberico de bellota. This meant that they’re produced from pure-bred Iberian pigs. I loved the taste but it was pretty pricy. I think if you want to have an experience, check this place out, but don’t go here if you’re looking to fill yourself up. One of the takeaways here is that yes, we’re glad we tried it, yes, it was delicious but would we go again? Probably not. I’d say it’s a one-time experience and I wouldn’t return.
As a food lover or a general tourist exploring Madrid, I think we’ve all heard about Restaurante Sobrino de Botin. It’s the oldest restaurant in the world and now, I can say that I ate like Ernest Hemingway. We ordered a half order of the Spanish suckling pig and shared it. I think this is a very touristy spot and it didn’t really live up to the hype that I was hoping for. I think we just wanted to try it because of it’s name but I found that the pig itself didn’t give us a lot of meat. Though, the skin was delicious and crispy like a chip! The overall place was pricy and I don’t think the dishes were that spectacular.
After grabbing one more napolitana de crema, we stopped by Bar Cerveriz. This tiny cozy bar that’s known for their yummy tortilla! We ended off our day with a bang and one of our favourite Madrid discoveries!
Highly recommended dishes:
- Napolitana de crema
- Patata bravas
- Tortilla (Spanish tortilla)
- Churros and chocolate
- Iberian ham
- Vinegar marinated sardines from the market
Highly recommended food spots