n26 revolut bnext

A short pros and cons analysis between N26, Revolut and BNEXT

Even if we still have to count on cash because unfortunately the cashless revolution has just started, and much local business hasn’t switched to tech-payments, we have a multitude of alternatives in terms of online bank accounts and credit/debit cards that we have never had before.

As one of the Madridiana co-founders works in Fintech and is always answering to friends dilemmas about:

whose the best online bank account or debit card?

we have decided to prepare our very own view about the best debit cards, starting from our own experience with N26, Revolut and BNEXT.

As always, what is a priority for us (like the design) might not be a relevant feature for you, so we have evaluated different points, and for every card, we have a special bonus if you register from our referral link :) 

Let’s start with the most famous.

1) N26 the german unicorn

Probably we all have seen at least an advertisement, online or offline, from the famous German brand N26. 

I’ve to be honest, when I started following at least 3 years ago the brand on social media I have always thought that the communication was too corporate, maybe too cold, especially when compared to the second card I am going to mention later.

But later on, they have differentiated the brand with a more informal tone of voice and a very cool campaign. 

As mentioned the company is German, so the IBAN of your account will be german (starting with DE) but they are launching new national IBAN for each country, Spain, for example, has already the ES bank accounts. 

PROS ✔️

  • Free withdrawal with no limit amount with the free card
  • The exchange rate with no commission
  • Apple pay and Google pay configuration available
  • Free bank transfers in Europe
  • The customer service is really helpful and has many options of contact

CONS

  • The only available option to fund your account is bank transfer or with Cash26 by cash, but it is not that widespread to be considered an advantage
  • The saving option called Spaces doesn’t have an automatic option, you have to build it manually. 

The N26 basic account is free, you won’t have advantages in the shipping. Right now there are no available bonus for new registration, but if seems this is the best card for your needs you can add my code and help me gaining 15€ ➡️ dianap3313. 

Once you’ll start activating the card you’ll also be able to invite your friends, and then you’ll gain your 15€ for each friend.

2) REVOLUT hacking the system

From Germany to the UK, the second credit card that we have analyzed, but actually the first one we have tried is Revolut. The second unicorn of the list and a very interesting marketing case because they have launched without spending big budget like the other competitors, no banners, no advertising, just hacking the growth with a smart and transparent way of communicating with their prospects, mostly based on emojis. 

PROS ✔️

  • Free bank transfers in Europe
  • The round-up system that helps you so micro savings in every purchase (Vaults)
  • Fund your account with bank transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal (a very good and unique option)
  • Apple pay and Google pay configuration available
  • Buy cryptocurrency through the application

CONS

  • The new trading free of commission feature is only available for premium accounts
  • With the free account, you can only withdraw 200€ a month
  • The exchange rate with commissions during the weekends (when the stock exchanges are closed)
  • The pride card was a limited edition card, I got mine, but I think it should be a standard card.

We’ll both gain 10€ if you register from my referral link, sounds great right? You just need to do the identification process and order your card for free, you won’t have shipping costs with this link ➡️  https://revolut.com/referral/diana3l1!G10D21

3) BNEXT viva España 

BNEXT is the Spanish online credit card, not so famous outside Spain, but if you live in Spain it’s quite a good option.

Actually, being active in the Fintech ecosystems meetups and event, don’t actually remember when, but we have met a few years ago the team members of BNEXT and have started following their path since then. 

They have won lot’s of prices in Spain for emerging payment service and innovative Fintech, everyone loves BNEXT.

Expect for being fuchsia and not presenting any premium version, the card is completely free but in order to receive it, you have to make the first transfer on your account.

It is probably the card I’ve used the most, there is a minimum amount for the transfer of 25€ and the deposit is extremely quick, I usually charge it just when I actually need it and queuing to pay in a shop/bar. 

Probably is not the best option while traveling, but living in Spain there are several advantages for choosing BNEXT

PROS✔️

  • BNEXT is a Visa card, maybe it’s not an advantage but if you, for example, want to have different circuits, the others are all Mastercard
  • A new pro version is coming soon
  • All the cashback and discounts for phone insurance, travel insurance and so on.

CONS

  • Only have 3 free withdraw each month and a maximum of 500€ (than you pay 1.15% of the commission in the EU and 1.5% in the US)
  • Also for traveling you have a limited expense of 2.000€ for free, then you pay 1.15% of the commission in the EU and 1.5% in the US
  • You need to fund your account with at least 25€ in order to receive the card
  • The app is Spanish and so far only available in Spanish.

There is a nice referral program, a few times a year they also usually rise the bonus up to 10€, but the ordinary one is 5€ for both if you register from this link and order a free card from BNEXT ➡️ https://share.bnext.es/391720756

4) More and more coming soon

I’ve just ordered three more cards in order to complete my ranking with Bunq, Transferwise and Monese, whose applications are already on the “Bancos” folder in my phone. I wish my favorite Fintech of all the time, Nubank, a Brazilian challenger bank worth $10 billions was able in Spain in order to try it and rate it.

 

The best avocado toast in Madrid to me are those six:

  • Pum Pum Cafè
  • HanSo Cafè
  • Federal Cafè
  • Lap Cafè
  • Plantate Cafè
  • Propaganda
  • Avohaus.

The best avocado toast in Madrid is mine, the one on the cover page. When I can find the perfect avocado I go to my favorite bakery (Panifiesto) and then I can make the best avocado toast in Madrid right in my kitchen.

But of course I cannot produce the best avocado toast in Madrid for all the avocado toast lovers, so here my short list with pictures and comments for the best bar serving the yummiest avocado toasts in Madrid.

1.Pum Pum Cafè

I love this place and their toast is the best, I mean I can’t reproduce Eggs Benedict, and I don’t know where this bread comes from but it’s great!

And the matcha latte .. look how perfect it looks like!

PUM PUM Cafè – Calle Tribulete, 6, 28012 Madrid

More info here: PUM PUM cafè.

2.Hanso Cafè

Hanso cafè madrid

These japanese guys are latte artists, I love all the videos they have on Instagram. The avocado toast here is great, but to me their very best is the matcha waffle, because it’s unique here in Madrid.

I am so glad to share this picture because it was the first one I uploaded on Madridiana Instagram, and I totally remember that day, with my favourite flower skirt.

HanSo Cafè – Calle del Pez, 20, 28004 Madrid

More Info here: HanSo Cafè.

3.Federal Cafè

federal cafè madrid

This is the coolest place in town because it’s a bar after all, but the design is such fine with all that marble that I really can’t imagine a brighter and modern space. The real example of less is more with a classy hint.

My favorite food here is the bowls, especially when chia seeds are included. Like in this first picture. The well, we were talking about the best avocado toast in Madrid, so I am showing you the second picture, from my personal account (shhhhhh) where I could not resist to the toast and I had to do the “food blogger” picture with half of the food.

But they were great, the nuts dust they put on the top it’s something special.

Federal Cafè Madrid – Plaza de las Comendadoras, 9, 28015 Madrid.

More info here: Federal Cafè.

4. Lap Cafè

I had to update this article and add my actual avocado toast, because I am still in love with Pum Pum but honestly cannot stand the queue and the infinite wait. Now you can eat avocado toast basically everywhere, even in the toda la vida bar, the hype is incredible.

This hype brought me to try new places, especially in my barrio, Lavapies, and discover a couple of hidden gems that I really suggest you to try.

Lap Cafè is the definition of a hidden gem, you won’t find it in Tapas Magazine or in the most well-known blogs, it doesn’t stand out, for its position and you definitely have to enter see the menu and meet the owners. What surprised me the most were the ingredients, real food, great qualities, nice decorations, it’s my fave. 

LAP cafè Calle Embajadores 19, local 1, 28012 Madrid

More info here: Lap Cafè

5. Plantate Cafè

Desáyuno o merienda? 🥑 #madridiana

Una publicación compartida de MadriDiana (@madridiana___) el

Our second favourite place in Lavapies right now (July 2018) is Plantate cafè, finally a good bar en Calle Meson de Paredes! We have seen so many bars open and close in few months in the same streets, but Plantate has its own identity that attracts avocado lovers from different parts of Madrid.

The mood is super international, the bar it’s really tiny but specialty coffee lovers are going crazy with their selection, and again the guys working there are super cool. You can actually buy plants, books, and design while sipping your coffee or biting your toast. Genial!

Plantate Cafè Calle del Mesón de Paredes, 28, 28012 Madrid

More info here: Plantate Cafè 

6.Propaganda

Avocado toast during weekends is synonymous with brunch. If you are a brunch lover and want to try a special tostada with Italian cheese and hams, chilling in one of the coolest wineries in Chueca, well, Propaganda is your place.

The champagne brunch is the best treat you can have on a Sunday morning. The avocado is the protagonist too and can be mixed with salmon, burrata or eggs, and the result is quintessential of deliciousness.

7) Avohaus

We could not mention the first avocado bar in Madrid for the best avocado toast challenge, so here we are, talking about Avohaus.

We have tried it the first week of opening, the place is so well decorated, the staff is extremely lovely and the attention to the details in the food and in the space is really high level. This is definitely the place to be for the Avoaddicted.

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On my ATTD (avocado toast to do) list before selecting the best avocado toast in Madrid I still have to visit:

  • The Toast Cafè
  • Monkey Coffe
  • Toma Caffè (I’ve been but didn’t eat avocado)
  • Hola Cafè (I’ve been but tried other types of tostada)
  • Cripeka
  • Angelica (in Calle Segovia) they also do the Avocado Burger!!!

Normally you wouldn’t visit Madrid for the main purpose of eating and trying the Madrilenian cuisine; most of the time the main purpose is to visit one of the greatest cities in the world in order to have fun, to visit the tremendous amount of monuments, churches, and of course, to learn more of its general history.

While writing the first guide, there were so many things and places I wanted to share as the top bars and restaurants in Madrid, or the best food to try, that I decided to dedicate and entire guide just to the best food within Madrid.

What to eat in Madrid

No experience is complete without trying local foods in an ambient environment. Here you will find three remarkable dishes that you must consider and the best places to enjoy them. For every dish, you also have the ideal drink, only from Spain.

Bocata de calamares

bocata calamares madrid
This is a very typical street food style dish from Madrid. You can find it in almost all the Spanish bars and restaurants. It is very simple, consisting of a sandwich filled with fried squids. Usually, the size of the sandwich (bocata comes from bocadillo which is a sandwich in Spanish) is quite big, definitely not like a tapa. A bocadillo is a kind of huge portion of bread, very different than the montadito which is a tiny little bread. The most traditional are also the simplest, nothing added other than a squeeze of lemon. Different types of the bocata have sauce on it like classic mayonnaise or the Spanish garlic based sauce called aioli.
If you have the opportunity to experience a festival or a special celebration, the bocata de calamares should be your street food choice. If not available on the street, there are plenty of restaurants at Plaza Mayor where you can try them, such as La Campana in Calle de Botoneras 6.
Never pay more than 4 euros for a bocata. Furthermore, do not forget to order a fresh Cerveza (beer) to accompany your sandwich. Prices usually vary depending on where you eat; at the barra or at the table (la mesa); it is common in the bars. Talking about cervezas, if you want to taste the very authentic Madrilenian beer, Mahou should be your first choice, it’s everywhere in Madrid, not difficult at all to find around the city. It’s an institution more than a beer, part of the history of the city.

Tortilla

tortilla madrid
The tortilla is the most famous Spanish tapa. You can start eating a racion (portion) for breakfast, as a pinchos with bread or just a plain tortilla, and finish eating tortilla at night with a glass of vermouth. The main ingredients are potatoes, eggs, and onion, the ideal vegetarian alternative to jamon. In Spain, there are many brands of local vermouth. In Madrid, vermouth or vermut, as they call it, is not only a well-known beverage used as an ingredient for cocktails such as Negroni or Manhattan, but is popular on its own poured over ice or mixed with a little bit of carbonated water, with the sifon. You can find it everywhere in Madrid; in all the tapas bars. When you choose your tortilla, make sure the kitchen of the bar is casera, meaning that it is cooked when you order, not buying it already cooked. It’s very difficult to recommend where to get the best tortilla, but some places we might advise are the Taberna Pedraza that has a tortilla counter and the most liquid Betanozs version of this famous plate and Pez Tortilla either in Calle del Pez or Cava Baja, where you can try some many different tastes, truffle-brie-jamon in the following pic.

My favorite tapas bar is called the Cerveceria Restaurante Padron in Noviciado.  They serve raciones and for every cerveza or vermut you order, a tasty side dish is included for your enjoyment.

Cocido

cocido madrid la bola
It is called Cocido Madrileno because it is one of the most traditional dishes of the city. In the very beginning, it was enjoyed by nearly 100% of the population. It is a very popular dish, cooked by families for special days or events; it is very economical and is not considered to be a gourmet meal. When Madrid restaurants started adding it to the menu as a typical Spanish delicatessen, it became famous and even mainstream. The fact that it is a soup with chickpeas and meat definitely makes it a winter dish. Just so there is no doubt, there are also versions of Cocido Madrileno that can be eaten during the summer. When you ask a native madrileno which restaurant has the tastiest cocido, there will always be one answer: my mother. And it’s not the name of the restaurant. But when asked “What is the best public restaurant in Madrid to try cocido?” the answers will change to  “La Bola” situated in central Madrid.
To end such a typical and enjoyable madrilenian meal, you should order the Madroño. It is liquor made from berries of the madrono tree, which is also one of the symbols of Madrid along with the Oso, the Bear. (the sculpture of El Oso y el Madroño is situated in Puerta del Sol). The Madroño is also the name of a famous restaurant in Madrid, which serves shots of the liquor in wafer cups coated with chocolate; situated very close to Plaza Mayor.

Two additional tips

We cannot finish this Madrid food guide without these two additional tips.

(1) Follow the new wave of food districts (barrios in Spanish) by going to Calle Ponzano. Although it is not situated in the very center of Madrid, it has many of the great gourmet stops of the city. You can find very typical Spanish menu restaurants or very contemporary cuisine. Meals for shortly after work or for a late dinner, Calle Ponzano offers plenty of various alternatives. This street has become so famous that they have even coined a verb for it – “ponzaning” because of the completely different atmosphere than in the usual tourist attractions of Madrid.
restaurant botin madrid
(2) Seek your dining pleasure at the oldest restaurant in Madrid, located at Plaza Mayor. You have to see it, not because of its particular shape, but because the Guinness Book of World Records once named this restaurant as the oldest in the world, which attracts many tourists taking pictures of the old restaurant and the original slab at the entrance which has the date of a refurbishment completed in 1725. It is called Restaurant Botin, founded in 1725, serving traditional dishes and probably one of the best meals of the city with affordable prices.

Madrid is a city full of colours, and we all know, from the metro station to the barrio decoration, which is the rainbow district in Madrid: Chueca.

We wish that this article will be a guide in honour of the World Pride Madrid 2017 that we are more than proud to have in town this year.

Chueca has turned into one of the most lively barrio in Madrid, for sure we have reviewed more bars and restaurant in Chueca than in all the other districts. Calle Pelayo for the restaurants and Calle Reina for the bars are as good as Calle Ponzano or Calle Cava Baja.

If you are in Chueca for the Orgullo and don’t know the city, don’t worry, you can find all you need between Calle Hortaleza and Gran Via.

1)Best Paella: Socarrat

The first thing everyone asks in in Spain is “Where is the best paella?” well, guess what, it’s in Chueca, the restaurant is called Socarrat and it’s real Valencian traditional receipt, the Paella de la Abuela, Paella Valenciana, Paella Vegetariana and much more.

It’s open just for lunch, it’s a tiny take away spot with some tables. Try also the craft beer made in Valencia named as the local. It’s open just for lunch, because paella was born for that specific meal.

SocarratCalle San Marcos, 2, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 663 43 91 10

2) Best international restaurant: diurno

If you know madridiana you will remember the diurno article and posts on social media, we are in love with this place and it’s our first suggestion when friends are in town and want to have a tasty lunch or dinner in a beautiful space. The lunch menu is perfect and you can either try spanish food or international quality dishes. It’s a well known location, a meeting point in barrio also for breakfast and the traditional afterwork.

DIURNO [Madrid] – Calle de San Marcos, 37, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 915 22 00 09

3) Best japanese restaurant: Sr. Ito

And here we are in Calle Pelayo, it’s such a nice street that it is good to have a pleasant excuse like dining in Sr. Ito for walking almost until Alonso Martinez. This is not the typical japanese restaurant, if you are a all you can eat sushi consumer, this is not your place. Sr. Ito in Chueca is the place for beauty lovers and slow life living. The decoration is incredible, we talk a lot about this place in dedicated article where you can see all the dishes, especially the cake, impressive.

Sr. Ito – Calle Pelayo, 60, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 910 81 66 15

4) Best Galician Restaurant: Morgana

Opened less than two month ago and it’s already a hit. The place is tiny but there is no place like Morgana to try galician food with a twist. The owners are Miguel, the chef in the kitchen and Augusto, at the bar making great tailor made cocktails. The ambient is nice, both the higher tables at the beginning and the lighted room with paintings and sculptures. If you are wondering where to have a real smashy tortilla, with the original liquid inside, this is your place.

Morgana – Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 33, 28004 Madrid

5) Best Italian Restaurant: Fratelli d’Italia

We are huge consumers of Fratelli d’Italia pizza in barrio Lavapiés, where there is not a restaurant like in Chueca Calle Hortaleza but a takeaway pizza spot that is a paradise for Italians missing a good pizza at a proper price. In Chueca Fratelli d’Italia it’s a pizzeria and a restaurant, but more than that it’s a Sardinian restaurant, where you can try really good pasta and fresh fish.

Fratelli d’Italia – Calle de Hortaleza, 28, 28004 MadridTel. 915 15 41 06

6) Best bocata: La casa tomada

If Calle Valverde is the west limit of Chueca instead of Calle Valverde, La casa tomada can definitely be included in this barrio. The best bocata in Madrid has Venezuelan blood and it’s address is Calle San Lorenzo 9. José Antonio the owner and chef of Casa Tomada is a perfectionist, his bocatas XXL are works of art. Even if they are so huge you can’t visit La casa tomada without starting your meal with a chili cheese fries, you better go with friends.

La casa tomada – Calle San Lorenzo, 9, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 915 13 84 48

7) Best asian restaurant: Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk in Calle Barquillo is one of the numerous Tuk Tuk restaurants opened in Madrid with the visionary idea of sharing the best asian street food from Bangkok, India, Philippines, and Vietnam.

We have been to Barquillo and Alcalà which is the newer, and widely discussed about how much we are in love with the sexy baos and the delicious pad thai or hokkien.

8) Best east european restaurant: Khachapuri

Khachapuri is a discovery, it’s a typical Georgian restaurant in the middle of Chueca. It’s a mono product restaurant serving that Georgian pizza with eggs in a middle and a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of melty cheese, and it’s mandatory that you enjoy the khachapuri with the hands piece after piece. For this multi sensorial tasting experience and nice modern atmosphere of the restaurant, it’s a worth visiting restaurant. Read more in this article.

Khachapuri – Calle de Víctor Hugo, 5, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 916 68 38 65

9) Best cerveceria: Källa

Recently opened in Calle Barbieri, in the heart of Chueca, Källa is not just a cerveceria, it is also a beer factory, with a nordic name and simple style, even if the owners are two venezuelan entrepreneurs. This hybrid space of a bar and a factory offers three variety of crafted beer branded Källa Origen (IPA), Ritual (ALE) and Esencia (Lager), with an additional offer of beers from Madrid and other locations.

Källa – Calle de Barbieri, 20, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 915 21 01 32

10) Best cocktail bar: Angelita

Angelita Madrid has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because of its craftsmanship. This The accuracy that Borja and Jose Luis put in the preparation of each cocktail, they way you see it served looks more like a work of art rather than a cocktail.

Not to mention the fact that the service should be a benchmark in town, when you seat you already have your fresh water and a little sweet tapa well presented in a tiny box or a box of popcorn.

Angelita – Calle Reina, 4, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 915 21 66 78

+ The latest openening Som Thai Club

In the already mentioned Calle San Marcos a new space has just opened, it’s called Som-Thai and it has a special gastro-barra: the Som Thai Club, offering tapas for less than 2€ that are perfect to pair with a cerveza muy fria. For all the oriental food lovers or for those you want to try it, this tapas are the greatest because they reflet the Thailandese culture.

Restaurante tailandés Som-Thai – Calle San Marcos, 26, 28804 Madrid – Tel. 910 410 429

 

There is no better place than a food market if you want to experience and taste the food culture of a city, and there is no better city than Madrid for doing it.

By food market we consider all the gourmet shops where can be found a large variety of products to eat at a stand, or to take-away. We also consider all those classical markets that produce raw foodstuffs like vegetables, milk or meat.

In recent years a great enthusiasm has been registered for specialists, one-product producers, as well as stands that sell ready-cooked meals.  This has quickly changed the structure of city markets from 100% producer oriented markets to agglomerates of small, mini restaurants that can mobilize at a minutes notice.

1) San Miguel

Madrid has developed this “new market era” in a very special way, and the best example in the city is definitely San Miguel. Here can be found dozens of little stands that are hyper specialized, offering a single product offer.  (80% of them specializing in tapas.) You have the crab stand, the burrito stand, the jamon stand and so on.

A special mention to all the new entries in the market from Michelin starred restaurants like the Rodrigo de la Calle paella, the Javi Estevez mini sandwiches and last but not least the crazy icecreams from the genius Jordi Roca.

The space is great, just behind the famous Plaza Major.  The glass architecture is striking and considered a cultural heritage within the city.

2) San Antòn

The second most important and public market is San Antòn, in the Chueca area. Similar to Saint Miguel with its tapas stands, but with a large terrace where you can better enjoy your pinchos. The delicatessen market is the heart of San Antòn. Here can be found fresh, high quality food that you won’t find anywhere else. There is also a restaurant called, La Cocina de San Antòn, which is a classical restaurant where you can share the huge table with other guests. We are mentioning this market especially for the nice terrace at the last floor of the building.

3) Platea

The third one, which is a completely different experience, is Platea. In this market you probably won’t just go for a quick tapa, but for a night out. This venue is very similar to gourmet stores such as, Eataly, where you have the best of both worlds, a market and various restaurants, in a multi-floor setup, and available at the same location.   You can also pick-up an entertainment calendar featuring the selecting of theatre and music shows available, at the Information Centre on the ground level.

4) Mercado de la Cebada

The fourth one is the Madrilenos, people from Madrid, choice, an authentic market that you don’t usually find in the “Top 10 markets in Madrid” charts, but look at the picture, this structure is amazing, and it’s in one of the most beautiful block of Madrid: Latina. This is a very residential area, great for a lovely walk when you want to enjoy the real Spanish architecture, because it is the oldest part of the city. It’s the Mercadode la Cebada, a real producers market where you find the best meat and fish of Madrid. This venue was built in the XVIII century in order to have the highest hygiene level for food conservation. Now it’s also a cultural stage for music and performing arts due to the huge stage in the backyards.

Additional tips

 

Few other markets that worth a visit are the San Fernando, Anton Martin and Tirso de Molina markets, all of them are extremely authentic places, where people from the neighborhood usually hang out for a beer after work or just doing the groceries shopping.

Also for the most famous tortilla queue (Casa Dani) worth the mention of Mercado de la Paz in the Salamanca district, definitely the chicest and most expensive food market (after Platea which is super close). It also has an Amazon Now area dedicated to the shipment of the groceries shop.

Madrid is definitely a market city, but the best markets are the food markets, no clothes, no antiques or furniture, the only market product is food, either if you want to cook something home, or to consume it inside the market. The Spanish capital is a great foodporn destination, with probably the lowest prices of Europe where you can so many different cultures, tapas after tapas.

Here we are again writing about the main attractions close to the Spanish сapital. We have already written about Toledo, the city of three cultures and astounding architectural diversity. We began that article by mentioning Escorial and Segovia, that are also a day-trip from Madrid. Incorporating them in the first piece seemed unwise, but we could not just let those places go and leave uncovered. So fasten your seatbelt and be ready for our special tips for these two gateways from Madrid.

Let’s start with El Escorial

 

Monastery El Elscorial (Photo Credit: DEZALB)

El Escorial is a monastery built by King Philip II as a residence for the Spanish Royal Family to commemorate the 1557 Spanish victory at the Battle of St. Quentin in Picardy against Henry II, king of France. The work began in 1563 and was completed 21 years later. Sadly, the architect Juan Bautista Toledo did not live to see the completion of his project. The monastery is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and it’s more than a monastery, it’s a complex made by a monastery, a pantheon, a library, a basilica and a royal palace of course. It takes half a day to see everything.
You can get here from Madrid in several ways:
  • By bus from Moncloa, travel time is about one hour, bus fare is 4,20€
  • By train from Atocha Station, the same time, train ticket is 3,30€
  • By car it is also a one-hour drive.
There are many offers in Madrid for a day-trip in Escorial for more than 50€ without lunch, or with an incredibly sad boxed lunch. You can find plenty of nice and super affordable places in the historic center of the town. From 1984, the Monastery has been declared a part of the UNESCO Heritage because the austerity of the style of Escorial broke the architectonic trends of the 15th century, and influenced the Spanish architecture of the following centuries.
From the end of the 16th century, it used to be considered the 8th wonder of the world, both for the huge dimensions and for the symbolism. It is dedicated to the sacrifice of San Lorenzo, that’s why there are several corners dedicated to him. First and foremost is the basilica of San Lorenzo el Real, the central building in the El Escorial complex. It was originally designed, like most of the late Gothic cathedrals of western Europe, to take the form of a Latin Cross. And later it was modified by Juan de Herrera to that of a Greek Cross a form with all four arms of equal length. The altar screen (reredos) of the Basilica is 28-meter high, it is three-tiered, highly decorated, made of red granite and jasper and adorned with gilded bronze statuary and three sets of religious paintings commissioned by Philip II.
Now El Escorial is also a museum because of the great collection of sculpture, ancient books and works of art that have been stored in this place for all these centuries. One of the most famous paintings that can be admired inside the monastery is the Tiziano Vecellio crucifixion from 1555. Among all the works of art, the Escorial gardens are a must-see of this venue. They are designed in an Italian way, and are as beautiful as the most charming gardens in other European royal residences. Even if the winter is quite cold, the whole complex doesn’t lose its allure during this season, you will still enjoy it even when visiting on a cloudy or foggy day. There are special celebrations in August during San Lorenzo and San Bernabé, when the Feria Industrial y Artesana de la Sierra de Guadarrama takes place with incredible food and artisan stalls.
El Escorial half-day trip is very often proposed in a combination with Avila. Avila is very close to El Escorial, and is another UNESCO patrimony. It is sometimes called the Town of Stones and Saints, and it claims that it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain. It’s a maze of religious buildings, from the most important ones like the cathedral to all the surrounding churches and a monastery. Yet, Avila is not just about the religion, it’s very famous for gastronomy with several signature recipes such as the Avila steak, and for vegetarian the renewed yemas of Santa Teresa, there are sweets made with eggs and sugar.
If you don’t want to waste time of your Escorial visit you should reserve a El Escorial & Valley of the Fallen Half-Day Trip before heading there.

And now it’s time to write about the second protagonist of this article: Segovia

Segovia Madrid (Photo Credit: Schnauzer)

Why is Segovia so famous? As all most famous sights in the world, in order to be recognized and remembered a venue needs to be as much unique as it can. So does Segovia with its landmarks. Located on the plains of Old Castile, Segovia is renowned for a very ancient aqueduct dating from the late 1st or early 2nd century AD.  It is still used to deliver drinking water. “The aqueduct of Segovia is – because of its long span, architectural beauty, uncharacteristic slenderness, and dramatic presence in the center of a dense urban fabric – the most impressive Roman structure in Spain, and one of the most famous among the numerous aqueducts built by the Romans throughout their vast Empire,” Lapunzina wrote. Obviously this is another great patrimony of UNESCO heritage, how could it not be part of it? The position of this city is everything and it’s also crucial for the aqueduct because it is build on a little hill crossed by two important rivers, the Eresma and the Clamores. It’s a Roman city because it has been a very important military center during the Roman Empire.
The Medieval era marks its architectural development, Segovia then became an important industrial center for the textile production. It’s in this period that all the Roman buildings were constructed, they are still preserved to nowadays. Of course the aqueduct is one of those buildings, positioned right at the entrance of the city. A real jewel for its engine, the aqueduct used to carry water from 15 kilometres away. The Cathedral and the Alcazar are the second must-see of this route, and it’s impossible not to visit them because they are the first things you see after the aqueduct.
How to get to Segovia from Madrid?
  • By bus in less than one hour, there are a lot of stations where to start the trip
  • By train with the AVE, 30 minutes to the station and then by bus 15 minutes to the town center
  • By car it will take approximately one hour.
Official tour-guided trips usually start at the aqueduct, plaza Azoguejo. You should wear the most comfortable shoes, like the ones for hiking, it will take at least two hours to visit this huge place, and the city of full of uphills and uneven pavements. From the entrance of the city the Alcazar is within a walking distance. But get ready to spend lots of energy there because there is a tall tower, climb 152 steps and enjoy a great bird-view from high above. What might be impressive about the Alcazar is again the position and the surroundings. It is a crucial contact point for the Camino di Santiago, with the homonym door from where a special walk starts. After a two-hour discovery of the aqueduct and some arduous exploits at the Alcazar it is time to explore Segovia’s traditional gastronomy. Plaza Azoguejo and Plaza Mayor are probably the perfect places for restaurant hunt. You can sit outside when the sun is rising or setting and eat while watching the architectural beauty of this city. Typical food is the cochinillo which is roasted pork or milk-fed lamb, called lechazo, but there is also a good choice of fish for sea lovers. Trout usually rules the menu. Segovia is a full day trip and it takes time to visit everything. Segovia is a full day trip not also because it takes time to visit everything, but also because waiting for the sunset in the warm Spanish darkness is a great idea, since the illuminated aqueduct is the perfect end of this great route. Even more so that you ponder over it in a good company of Spanish wine and astounding Roman architecture.
If you don’t want to waste time of your Segovia visit you should reserve a Segovia Day Trip before heading to the city and walk around with the best guides.

Recently opened in Salamanca’s Barrio of Madrid, Santerra is the new project carried on by the young and talented Chef Miguel Carretero and the experienced Alfonso Vega (Premio Nacional de Gastronomía 2009) as Director of the Restaurant.

It’s a kind of a cuisine that comes from the flora and fauna of both Castillas, with its mushrooms, aromatic herbs, garlic and also partridge, rabbit, not forgetting the fishes as the trout and the vegetables from the gardens of Madrid and Toledo.

So that’s the idea: to cook classical dishes but in a modern way, with contemporary techniques and presentations. And that’s exactly what the Chef Miguel Carretro is trying to do through its dishes that reflect his roots and the place where he comes from. It’s an ode to the nature and the simple things which focuses on the importance of the product itself.

 Not one, but two Restaurants

Santerra is built over two floors: the Barra fina de Barrio and El Gastronomico.

Different spaces, different concepts.

Barra Fina de Barrio, is an informal space where you can have a caña accompanied by some tapas such as aceitunas, callos and home made croquetas that are already an hit among the croquetas of Madrid. You can also choose a glass of wine from the wine list on the blackboard that changes day by day.

El Gastronomico is the formal restaurant inspired by a wood that reflects into the decorations, the painting on the wall that remind a real wood, the wooden and stoned chairs and tables, in order to recreate that atmosphere. Even the menu, and it couldn’t be any other way, is conceived by the product of the land.

Tradition, technique and raw materials.

The way in which they treat raw materials is what differentiates this Restaurant.

Bread, olive oil, eggs, etc. Products and Producers: everything that comes to your table is previously chosen and elaborated by Miguel Carretero and Alfonso Vega themselves. Care and diligence in the selection, the accuracy and precision of plating contribute to make every dish unique.

 

General Info

Medium Price El Gastronómico 45–50 euro

Medium Price La Barra Fina de Barrio 18–22 euro

 

Address: General Pardiñas 56

Phone Number: +34 914 01 35 80

From Monday to Saturday, 13:30–16:00h and 20:00–23:30

 

 

I have always asked myself why there is not a successful italian style food franchisee? We are plenty of food franchising restaurant from all over the world at local, national and international level but there is not a world franchisee for pasta.

The risto-shop formula seems to be the most valuable for this kind of restaurants, because with pasta you are lucky enough to consume a delicious ravioli meal and then buy the same ravioli for you weekly cooking at home.

When the filled pasta is made with the right ingredients, both for the pasta than from the stuffing, the result is always a success. In the best case scenario you just need a little portion of butter with sage and that’s it, easy but effective.

Discovering PastaMito

In PastaMito I had the chance to try the pumpkin ravioli which to me are the real masterpiece, and I love them exactly like written before, butter and sage. This is the pumpkin season and we should enjoy it.

While the pasta is getting ready, if you want to have a real italian dinner made with starter, main course (pasta) and second course which might be fish or meat, you have to try and share 2 or 3 antipasti with your commensals.

I’ve tried the burrata which is an essential starter that with the hot focaccia served with bread makes the perfect match all year long. There are several versions with different toppings, if you like salmon for example that’s a really good option or the tricolor version with cherry tomatoes and pesto. If you like aubergine as I do, well, the melanzane parmigiana is a mandatory choice, because it’s a complex dish to cook that requires a lot of patient.

Pasta Mito was born as a market shop in Mercado Chamartin, famous for the italian nowhere to be found traditional products, like pasta, biscuits, beer, wine and oil.

The opening of the second risto-shop this time in Chamberi is a strategic step forward to let madrid people know a tasty italian restaurant and shop in the most residential and energetic barrio in Madrid.

This new restaurant in calle alburquerque 5 is in a perfect location across calle fuencarral, between Bilbao Metro Station and Quevedo.

The interior are really nice and the service is lovely, especially in helping with the choice of the dishes and the wine selection from every region of Italy.

Per tutti i gusti los dulces de @pastamito 🎂 Tiramisù, crostata, pannacotta y cannoli 🍮 #madridiana

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A special italian meal need to end with the best desserts: cannoli, tiramisù and panacotta are three masterpiece, that again like the antipasti need to be shared.

I wish to PastaMito all the best, especially to become the first pasta franchising in Madrid, than in Spain and for sure of the world.

Pasta Mito Alburquerque

C/Alburquerque,5

Email: alburquerque@pastamito.com

Telefono: 917 825 257

The more I know great Galician Restaurants in Madrid like Lúa, the more I am planning my next vacation in this gourmet land in the north of Spain.
Lúa is not the latest glamourous restaurant launched three weeks ago, it’s an institution both in Madrid and around the world.

What’s the strength of this restaurant?

For sure the degustation menu formula is something that is very characteristic about this place. I think we should also ask for suggestions when we visit a new restaurant and I guess a seasonal tailor made menu by the chef is the greatest advice you could ever receive.
Cocina Gallega 100%, from the ingredients, to the name of the restaurant, Lúa means moon in Gallego, and have been dreamed and realized by chef Manuel Dominguez from more than a decade.
The restaurant became popular in its first location, a tiny space in calle Zurbano, which was specifically thought for the degustation menu, kept the same formula when moving to Paseo Edoardo Dato.

A renovation of the restaurant in 2015 opened a new perspective with the typical Spanish barra, ideal for happy hours or afterwork.
Everyone can try exquisite menu dishes in singular raciones, enjoying a starred tapa without reserving for a menu.

Prizes and specialities

So far so good, Lúa Restaurant can spend its name as the only Galician restaurant outside Galicia than has received a Michelin star, and can also count on dos Repsol suns and two M by Metropoli.
I heard that Manuel Dominguez Pulpo a la Galiciana (el clásico à feira) is the most authentic in Madrid, and I have to say that I totally agree especially because of the typical presentation, the octopus in its simplest form.
A dish that it’s typical from Galicia, but that it’s also so hard to cook and to find such in perfect texture like in Lúa.
This classic version is one of the dishes you can try also at the barra in Lúa.
Another tapa that you can’t miss at Lúa’s barra is the bocado de foie micuit on a pear and queso San Simon empanada. Tremendously good.

Where details matter

From the amazing decoration of the space, to the art of designing a menu based on seasonal and market products from Galicia, every detail matter. I have also appreciate the detail of the wine, with more than 150 different labels you can also try a Galician wine produced only for the restaurant, they have their own label, with a white and a red Ribeiro elaborated with the variety coming from the autochtones artesanal.

Un buen plan para terminar un lunes: brownie con helado de almendras y trufa negra, solo en @restaurante_lua 🍫 #madridiana.

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A special detail I really suggest to try, because as it happen to me, you will rarely forget from this restaurant, is the end the meal with the truffle brownie, which doesn’t me truffle chocolate, but real black truffle layers and mixing flavours with a almond ice cream and a chocolate brownie.
Last but not least, two spaces of the restaurant thatntotally deserve the right attention.
First, you can reserve a big space downstairs at the entrance of the restaurant, with a special menu, which is perfect for example for business dinners, high demanded as I could see by businessmen travelling from the all over the world, reserving with months and weeks of advance.
The second space that is accessible in two different ways, from the kitchen (yes, walking through the kitchen) and from a special entrance, it’s a private space for special occasion. When I saw it my mind hasn’t stop thinking for which occasion a could reserve it, and I am still wondering how I’ll be able to try this experience.

Restaurante Lúa
Paseo Eduardo Dato, 5
Tel. 91 395 28 53 | www.restaurantelua.com

Japanese restaurants in Madrid are our second vital food after pizza, every season, no stop, winter, summer, we don’t care. Pretending to be more soupy in winter and more freshy in summer, but we can’t live with our dose of avocado and salmon combo, in a maki, uramaki, temaki or on a well done nigiri.

Every restaurant has it’s differences and characteristic features. Read your “The 10 best japanese restaurants in Madrid” to discover which are our favourite and share yours with us, we would love to know more and more restaurants in town.

[Note: this is not a chart but a list, we love them all equally.]

1) Not an ordinary Japanese Restaurant: Sr. Ito

We already wrote about Sr. Ito in the best restaurants of Chueca, because we really love this place. Here we are in Calle Pelayo, it’s such a nice street that it is good to have a pleasant excuse like dining in Sr. Ito for walking almost until Alonso Martinez. This is not the typical japanese restaurant, if you are a all you can eat sushi consumer, this is not your place. Sr. Ito in Chueca is the place for beauty lovers and slow life living. The decoration is incredible, we talk a lot about this place in dedicated article where you can see all the dishes, especially the cake, impressive.

Update, they have opened a second restaurant in Chamberi!

Sr. Ito – Calle Pelayo, 60, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 910 81 66 15

2) The Japanese guru: Janatomo

Domingo de BBQ, domingo en familiar, domingo en www.janatomo.com con las única barbacos japonesas, las yakinikus en mesa y sin humos.

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I guess you already know how much we love Calle Reina, and don’t really understand why it’s not mentioned as other really hype calle like Ponzano for example. If you have ever stepped into calle Reina we are quite sure you have seen the red windows of Janatomo and felt in Tokyo for a few seconds. Janatomo means “friends of the flowers” and really represent with strong feature the true japanese culture. It’s Japanese barbecue is an exclusivity in Madrid, it’s called yakiniku and it’s even a  European exclusive, because Janatomo is the only one with the bbq included in the table.

Restaurante Janatomo – Calle Reina, 27, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 915 21 55 66

3) Taberna Japonesa: A japanese Kirikata

When you are a great fun of the Arzabal boys, Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales, you can’t mention they’re japanese in the list of the best nipponic restaurants in the city, especially because it’s an innovative concept. The quality of food and the freshness of the ingredients it’s a religion for this restaurant, that takes its name from a japanese technique of cutting the sashimi. The cocktails are as well protagonist of the meal with a special menu and a complete selection of the best spirits.

A Japanese Kirikata – Calle de Antonio Acuña, 19, 28009 Madrid – Tel. 914 35 88 29

4) When marketing matters: Yakuza

The Goiko Marketing team is the benchmark in food marketing in Madrid with their no stop contest and pop contents. Yakuza is the japanese restaurant of the Goiko team. Another time Venezuelan in Madrid knows how launch successful restaurants. Their sushi is outstanding, with a touch of creative madness, like for the sushi pizza, or the “El Malandro”. The menu is super cool as the restaurant and the whole concept.

Yazuka – Calle de María de Molina, 16, 28006 Madrid – Tel. 910 60 94 58

5) Sushi bites: Riko

If you love mexican food why of handling a burrito, and the freshness of a temaki, you can find the fusion of this two cultures at Riko, with the giant sushi tacos. The crabs one are massive and super crunchy with an incredible texture. I really loved them, and the bowls are incredible too, a sort of japanese cirashi but with more ingredients. I haven’t been to restaurant so far, but ordered for delivery but I guess the atmosphere will be as cool as their innovative giant rolls.

Riko Fancy Bites – Calle Fernando VI, 21, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 910 80 28 48

6) Zapan de verdad: Yankepon

 

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El sushiman de @yankenpon_comidajaponesa_sushi está en buena compañía 🍙 Nuestra sugerencia? Prueba los onigiri #internationalsushiday #diadelsushi

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Great sushi and onigiri, the typical triangles of rice filled especially with fish that you can always find in the Japanese manga. Together with one of the best ramen soup in town, you should try Yankenpon authentic Japanese cuisine.

They have two different restaurants, on inside the San Fernando market, and the other one in plaza de Cascorro. Both places are full of original Japanese books, special design that will bring you to the Nippon country bite by bite and sight by sight.

YAN KEN PON Mercado de San Fernando – Calle de Embajadores, 41 – Tel. 672883139 – 914670918
Yan Ken Pon – Sushi Ramen y Librería – Plaza de Cascorro, 3 – Tel. 682822505 – 910573465

7) The supermarket of sushi: Nigiri

We all have stopped in calle fuencarral to see the sushiman preparing sushi in the shop window of Nigiri. In many other countries you can find a lot of takeaway food offered already prepared in fridges like in supermarket. Nigiri does this in the very center of Madrid, with different restaurants in high street location. You choose, pick the box, pay and then take away or eat there, because there are also spacious tables. I am in love with the ceviche and the matcha green tea.

Nigiri – Calle de Fuencarral, 91, 28004 Madrid – Tel. 910 29 67 95

8) Learn how to make sushi: Kappo

La cantidad de wasabi y de soja la decide el itamae, añadir más cantidad por el comensal es una ofensa para el chef #kappomadrid

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The best restaurants are the one selling not only a menu but most of all an experience, something unique.

Probably there is nothing more interesting that learning how to make food, and japanese food has always been a mystery, so that the Kappo courses with chef Mario Payán are perfect for principiants.

Restaurante Kappo – Calle de Breton de los Herreros, 54, 28003 Madrid – Tel. 910 42 00 66

9) Korea has never been so close: Maru Korean Food

Korean restaurant Maru is an exception in this post, but just because mixing japanese and korean cuisine is a genius idea. Kimchi and sushi are best friends when you reserve a table in calle Reina at Maru.

For sure their maki won’t make you regret a classic japanese restaurant, and the bim bim bap. Not to mention their business lunch, really convenient and complete, because you can even get the dessert included and their mango mousse it’s something legendary.

Maru – Calle Reina, 37, 28004 Madrid915 23 95 31

10) おやすみ なさい means Konnichiwa

One of our latest discovery is Konnichiwa, which sound like a shortened version of a full and meaningful greeting, a “Good Day” in Japanese.

We have passed through Calle Fuencarral hundreds of time without giving the right attention to this hidden gems, where you should sit and totally forget you are in Madrid, thanks to the typical design of a street food Asian stall. You should try their wok for sure, portions are huge, and go for the most unusual food like the super tasty tiny purple octopus (tonkatzu) or the very typical Japanese Takoyaki, the ball-shaped Japanese snack or appetizer made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special molded pan.

Calle de Fuencarral, 98 –  Tel. +34 912 30 30 05