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Q. What's the difference between Madrid and every other city in the world? A. Madrid.
A city unlike any other, the capital of Spain has some of the most beautiful parks and recreational venues anywhere. It also has the Prado museum, which in itself is enough of a reason to visit more than once. Of course, there’s great food, but the new trend here is the Heladería, or ice cream parlor. These old staples are being reinvented in Madrid, becoming more stylish and adding a lounge feel, offering cocktails as well as around 40 flavors of great ice cream. Madrid eats late so don't plan on dinner before 10 pm or you'll be dining alone.
Paseo del Prado 8
Tel. +34 (0) 91.369.0151
The 800 or so pieces in this collection used to be on display in relative obscurity at a villa in Lugano, Switzerland, until 1895, and comprised perhaps the finest private art collection in the world. This is a distilled version of great world museums that track many movements of Western art, such as the Met in New York. Here, the visitor gets more variety from world-class painters in a much smaller space than the Prado, from 13th century Italian to 20th century American pop art. You might say this collection houses lesser-known works from the best masters, and the best works from minor masters.
Paseo del Prado
Tel. +34 (0) 91.330.2800
The Prado is the joy of Madrid.To see canvases of this magnitude close up is reason enough to travel to the city. After you see Velazquez's painting "Las Meninas" you will want to see it again and again. The museum contains 9000 works of art but only 1500 are displayed at any one time, just another reason to go back.
Paseo de la Chopera, 14
This alternative art space was created by the City Council. It's purpose to bring culture to the southern part of the city has seemed to work. The vast space is still a work in progress but lectures, films, concerts and exhibitions are free.
Real Jardin Botanico (Adjacent to the Prado)
Plaza de Murillo, 2
Five thousand species of trees with some being over 200 years old. There is 2 Euro entree fee which maybe is the reason its never crowded.
The geometric design with flat walkways make it an ideal place for a jog.
No dogs are permitted.
Calle de Regeros, 8
Located in the upscale neighborrhood of Salesas this restaurant is the invention of two Michilin chef Diego Guerrero. Dstage recently received its first star. Guests are first brought to the kitchen for hors d'oeuvres before they are seated at their table. The tasting menu is 88 Euros and you will be there the whole evening. Sublime!
Cava Alta, 7
Opened in 2006 this very modern restaurant done in black and white has been conceived by the young chef, Alejandro de la Torre. The concept is traditional food with a twist. Mushroom and crawfish fritters, mushroom and foie gras rosotto and lime and red fruit tart are few examples.
Miguel Angel 29-31 (Bajos Hotel Miguel Angel
Tel. +34 (0) 91.399.3437
The menu changes every two months but anything served does not disappoint. The restaurant attracts world class "foodies". Decor and service is sublime. Reservations are a must at this exeptional gourmet establishment.
Handsome Nino Redruello is one of Spain's star chef's. Born into the restaurant business he has taken charge of the family restaurant, La Ancha. Situated next to the Spanish Parliament it is a favorite spot for politicians. It's lentil soup is said to be a legend in Madrid. Consistently great classic Spanish cuisine make reservations here mandatory.
Avenida Pio XII, 34
Chef Juan Pablo Felipe serves some of the best Andalusian cuisine in Madrid. In the minimalist Mediterranean style decor try the langoustines with spinach, wild mushroom risotto or the Almadraba tuna. The regional wines offered here are also some of the best in Madrid
El Fogon de Trifon
A traditional bistro that just happens to be one of Madrid's favorites. No pretense here except for the sophisticated cuisine which includes tinny squid stuffed with sweet onions and bull's tail stew.
Doctor Castelo 2 and Avenida Menendez Palayo 13
The first Arzabal (6 tables) was so popular that owners Ivan Morales and Alvaro Castellanos opened a 2nd restaurant. Still under the radar but not for long, this place has the cities best croquetas. There are two menus; one for the bar and other for the tables but diners order from both. The quality of the ingredients are always superlative.
La Terraza del Casino de Madrid
This gourmet restaurant, despite its name is not a casino. It is, however, a private club which opens it 2nd floor to those wishing to experience exquisite dining. The chef is Paco Roncero. The pre fixe lunch includes more then twenty delicious choices.
La Gastroteca de Santiago
Plaza de Santiago, 1
This modern restaurant with glass doors offering a view of the kitchen turns out amazing food by chef Juan Carlos Ramos. The menu changes often.
El Negro de Anglona
Tel. +34 91.366.3753
Once the former palace of the Prince of Anglona, this designer and gourmet restaurant is a stage set. The cuisine is the work of young chef Aitor Garcia Cerro. Try the Iberian ham.
Tel. +34 91.522.6197
This trendy restaurant offers a touch of Japanese, Thai and French food. The large bar in the entrance has excellent sake-based cocktails.
Piu di Prima
Tel. +34 91.308.3372
This large bisro style Italian restaruant is a fashionable place to dine. Dishes are simple but very good. Try the home made pasta, favioli with liver and zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella.
Juan de Mena, 14
Tel. +34 91.523.4478
This gourmet restaruant features one of Spain's finest wine cellars. Owner and chef Abraham Garcia has what is considered one of the most interesting restaurants in Madrid.
Tel. +34 91.521.7379
The fixed price menu (from 14 Euros) is a real bargain at this fun place that is particularly popular for Sunday brunch.
Augusto Figueroa, 47
Tel. +34 91.521.4256
This is a family run restraurant but the Mom is one of Spain's most well known and best actresses. Her son Xavier is also famous (you'll recognize him immediately if he's working that day.
the fixed price menu is 10 Euros. A la carte: 20 Euros
Tel +34 91 429.1722
(Sorry, No Website)
However, the place is directly across the street from the Prado museum and serves amazing tapas. The terrace during the warmer months is delightful and you should incorporate a visit here with a visit to one of museums in the area.
Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero
Mejía Lequerica 1
Tel. +34 (0) 91.308.0505
Olive oil lovers will giddy at all the choices they find in this store, which sells dozens of varieties of the extra virgin and extra healthy oil. The four main types of olive from which the liquid is pressed are represented, and the helpful staff will clue you in on which are strong, soft, fruity and sweet. Closed Sunday.
Argensola 5 bajo
Tel. +34 (0) 91.319.9138
Classy and understated casual clothes, Loreak Mendian emphasizes comfort and clean lines, with an innate sexiness. Listen to hot tracks in an overall comforting shopping experience. There are stores in Barcelona and Bilbao as well.
Calle Infantas 19 (Chueca)
Tel. +34(0) 91.523.8136
Madrid's new shopping "mall" in the trendy Chueca neighborhood combines fashion, lifestyle and food under one roof El Rastro Flea Market Between Plaza Cascorro, Calle Ribera de Curtidores, and neighboring streets This legendary Sunday morning flea market fills an entire neighborhood. There are the usual T-shirts and odd things, but you can also find artisan tablecloths, wood carvings, handbags, shoes, antiques and treasures. Go early before it gets crowded, and be wary of pickpockets.
Plaza Mayor 30
Baruc Corazón has been stitching to the torsos of members of the Spanish royal family to flamenco singers. His shop is located high above the Plaza Mayor. His custom-tailored shirts come in a colorful array of Italian silks, linens, heavy cottons and poplins. There are also pajamas, polos and American-cut blazers in luscious heavy cotton, linen and seersucker as well as a small hand-knit collection.
Conde de Xiqena, 12
Small boutique where Laura Caicoya sells her fashions designs with the help of her mother who crochets and sews the feather topped hats. Her grandmother makes collarlike necklaces out of raffia and her sister's paintings hang on the wall.
Mercado San Miguel
This traditional market has been reborn for the 21st century. During the day residents and tourists alike can be seen under the soaring wood and iron roof. Everything from fresh fish, produce, cookbooks to cooking utensils can be purchased. At night the scene changes and the crowd leans towards sampling the local beer and tapas. It's open til 10PM Monday to Wednesday but stays open til 2AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Be sure to stop by Daniel Sorlut, an oyster and Champagne bar. In keeping with living "Green" there is no air conditioning. Instead the air is infused with water droplets. Every few minutes shoppers are bathed in a blast of micro-rain.
Calle Espiritu Santo 1
Tel. +34 91 521.0022
If your looking for shoes that you can't find anywhere else then this place alone may be worth a trip to Madrid. Cynthia Ioli was a former costume designer for theater and opera and now she designs shoes for men and women. You can take shoes as they are but if you want you can have them customized. The process takes about two weeks and will be shipped anywhere.
Visit the new Terminal 4, opened in February 2006, and you will find a 2400 square foot Turkish bath and hydro massage. The perfect way to relax before your flight.
Avenida Menéndez Pelayo 35
Tel. +34 (0) 90.287.6483
Biking may not be the supreme way to get around the city, but it is gaining popularity. Bikes are great for seeing beautiful Retiro Park, next to By Bike. There is also a 60 km greenbelt that slices through various parts of town.
This is a good street for weekend revelry.You’ll find young professionals sipping mojitos here.
José Abascal 56
Tel. +34 (0) 91.399.4873
This chic spot is really three: a club, a bar, and a lounge. The club is red and fiery, the bar greenish and chic earthy, and the lounge wood-toned and cozy (with Vietnamese cuisine). Any way you slice it, this is the spot for Madrid’s “in crowd”.
Calle Cañizares, 10
Tel. +34 (0) 91.369.3394
Searching for popular music mixed with traditional flamenco dancing? You’ll find it just a short jaunt from the center of the city. As second home to Madrid’s hippest residents, this place also features a restaurant that serves great traditional Spanish fare.
Plaza del Humilladero 6
Tel. +34 (0) 91.364.1017
Talk about exclusive: the door is locked and you have to knock to be admitted. Inside you’ll find a subdued taste of Morocco with fez-topped waiters, water pipes, huge cognac glasses and a well-dressed crowd listening to trance and electronic lounge music.
La Reina Bruja
Tel. +34 (0) 915.428.193
Tomas Alia's latest Madrid project, a nightclub, is next door to two of his past creations, Larios Cafe and club Cool. Its a corridor-like, subterranean space, divided by columns. An LED lighting system drenches the dancefloor, a wavy wall and even loos in different colors in time with the music.
Plaza del Angel, 10
This is the club where the true lovers of blues and jazz hang. The art deco ambiance with high ceilings and marble topped tables also a special air. Open til 3AM and even later on weekends.
Calle Echegaray, 15
This very basic Flamenco club is small and attracts an young crowd that appreciate the dancing which is raw, sweaty and fun. Reservations are a must!
Tel. +33 91 532 2826
This has been one of the top Madrid night spots for over 20 years. The success it enjoys is because the place is attractive, the cocktails great and the service excellent. The best time to visit is between 12midnight and 2AM. Mixed clientele.
Gran Via, 12
Tel. +34 91 532 6737
This is a local legend. It opened in 1931 and is probably the first American style bar in Spain. It was once frequented by people from Hollywood who were in town shooting films. Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly. They all came here and today the place is still the favorite water hole of the stars who start the party here.
Plaza de la Independencia, 4
Tel. +34 91 435.1666
This designer bar is by Philippe Starck. The spectacular iluminated bar counter serves creative atmosphere and cocktails until 3AM.