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meat

The brunch at MEAT is like THE BRUNCH with bold capitals letters in Madrid.

If you know Meat for its burgers or cocktails, or just because you hang out in Alonso Martinez and for sure you’ve seen the space, well, you might not be surprised but this blog post, because we are talking about an institution for Saturdays and Sundays.

meat madrid 4

To be honest, I am not the biggest brunch fan in general, as a concept, because a lot of time you find buffet or fixed menu and you can’t choose.

Of course if you are reading this is because in MEAT let you choose exactly what you want to eat and combine everything. You can choose a sweet brunch or a tasty one, or a mix of the two, it’s up to you.

And what is even better is that when you are undecided between the burgers and the avocado toast you can share it with friends, because this place is amazing for a date but also for a friendly relaxed brunch with your mates.

What I loved about MEAT is their focus on a high quality burger, they opened two years ago with this idea of a mono product restaurant with cool music, atmosphere and great cocktails.

meat madrid 4

The quality is guaranteed not only by the meat which is their mission, offering a selected beef from Sierra de Madrid and just adding salt and black pepper, less is more I would say, and the bread is custom made exclusively for them.

I have a pending “The 10 best burgers in Madrid” list and MEAT has for sure deserved a place a in that list.

The brunch is more recent, since 9 months, with a very simple but effective menu, guaranteeing fresh and quality products.

meat madrid 4

The founders Guillermo Ramos Albritton, José Luis Martín de Bustamante y Gabriel Santaeulalia Yarte, have travelled a lot before opening the successful MEAT in Madrid, thinking about a place to be friendly and well integrated in the barrio, living a sort of slaughterhouse experience with many elements taken from a real Spanish Matadero.

meat madrid 4

As mentioned before there is also a strong component of amazing cocktails, I’ve always knew MEAT as a cocktail bar, and tried the cocktails before the brunch, hanging out in Alonso Martinez.

The atmosphere at night is really cool, the barra is incredible, but the real thing is to try the cocktails with the brunch, pairing avocado toast with gin.

You can’t end a real brunch with something sweet, and relax with a dessert. This chocolate cake is really impressive, so good, probably the best I’ve ever tried in my life, you need to share is because the portion is huge but worth the calories.

More information: MEAT.

I’ve always thought that the hardest kind of restaurant to advise is the fish restaurant, because it’s difficult to make sure that you will always find fresh fish, coquillage, that can be cooked in several ways, but even in the most simple ways, fried or grilled.

Where you can find a great pescado restaurant in Madrid?

Now that I’ve been to Circulo Marisqueria I have finally answered to this question related to Madrid fish restaurants.

circulo mariqueria madrid

Starting from the open air kitchen where you can see how they the chefs deal with a 2.000 meters restaurants, to the smiling faces of the clients, and the impressive quality of the fish market, you can definitely state that this is the Marisco paradise in Madrid.

The space is really curated, with many different areas and terraces, open all year long, serving caňas from midday to late night.

There are also lots of events, and the restaurant is great both for a quick tapa than for a full course menu.

I’ve been in particular to a special event, which is well known in Circulo Marisqueria, and in June will see the last happening of the season, starting again in September.

It’s the maridaje night.

Every third Thursday of the month it’s all about pairing, that can be either with beer or wine. The menu and the wines are decided together between Circulo chefs and the producers, it’s different and specific everytime.

It’s an occasion to try all stars wines paired with the best pescado in Madrid, from the starter to the dessert.

circulo mariqueria madrid

And it is not an event for wine masters, everyone can participate and learn something about the wines or beer present in each Thursday night.

This experience is called #CirculoClubDay which is a great way to get to know this hidden gem outside the center of Madrid, for a really affordable price, just 30€ for the whole wine degustation and food portions, which are normal portions, not tiny tapas or half glasses of wine. Next one will the on the 15th of June.

circulo

I was at the Circulo Club Day number 14, so more than one years of success for this monthly format rendez vous, and had the chance to try Bodegas Muga wines, which is a well known brand in Spain for excellent productions of wines plus japanese Nikka Whisky for the dessert.

Just to give you an idea of the success and professionality of this restaurant that opened just two years ago and why you should consider to try it asap, these are some numbers:

  • 370.000 people served in two years
  • 60.000 liters of beer served in 2016
  • 13.000 portions of octopus
  • More than 4.500 portions of mussels in 2016
  • More than 4.000 portions of fried fish in 2016
  • More than 10.200 oyster units in 2016
  • 47 employees working every day.

More information: Marisquería Círculo

C/ Oliva de Plasencia, 1, (C.C. San Ignacio)

28044, Madrid | Tel: 91 73 70 421

www.circulomarisqueria.com

bUNS AND BONES MERCADO

Buns & Bones in Madrid is an institution for bun lovers, with three restaurants in the coolest barrios of the Spanish capital.

What is always interesting to know about this successful restaurants is the behind the scene, answering to the owner questions like:

  • Where does the inspirations for the menu comes from?
  • Where do you get the ingredients?

This second question in particular has always been my constant curiosity about how do restaurants manage thier daily shopping, because to me, getting the ingredients and do the grocery is the most difficult thing for a restaurant, respecting the seasonality of food and trying not to waste.

Buns & Bones not only answered to my question, but brought me on a grocery tour in Mercado Anton Martin which is actually one of Buns & Bones restaurants location.

I was able to hear from Wilmer López words (Buns & Bones founder and chef)  the story of each market stall and what is his daily shopping for each plate of the menu.

buns & bones madrid

Besides the classic butcher’s shop specialized in white meat or beef, we also saw very particular stalls, like the only Spanish seaweed shop in all the countries selling mediterranean seaweeds, or the greengrocer proving incredibly refined and rare fruits and vegetables.

The Buns & Bones menu changes with the seasons and the trends, it was the first restaurant in Madrid starting offering the poke, the ultimate foodie trend of the last months.

Poke is an Hawaiian dish, it means  “to slice or cut”, usually made with raw fish served as a salad as a starter. The most popular is the tuna, but also the salmon and octopus are getting more and more famous around the world.

bunes & bones madrid

It reminds me of a Japanese Cirashi but with a different disposition and much more ingredients than just sushi rice and sashimi.

I really love the fresh avocado at its perfect maturity point, obviously bought at the greengrocer in Mercado Anton Martin, and the cashew nuts giving a crunchy shift to the plate. It was not spicy but really tasty and fresh, the perfect summer bowl.

The fact that Buns & Bones in Calle Isabel buys food at the Mercado makes it the perfect example of a street food restaurant, because it’s not just about the final result, but the whole process, and asian street food in the market stalls are part of the market.

The routine is that at the end of the day Wilmer verify what he needs for the day after, on a daily basis, ordering for the following day at the market.

The first one is usually ‘Carnicería Ismael’, a very well known and established stall known for its selected meat Spanish meat like: ternera gallega, cordero castellano and carne de cerdo de Toledo. This butcher is the supplier of the best seller costilla from Buns & Bones with an average delivery of 60 kg every week for each of Buns & Bones restaurants.

buns & bones madrid

Even if these are all tiny suppliers, ‘La Huerta de Sánchez’ is considered as the best greengrocer in Madrid, searching for rare fruits and vegetables for Wilmer like the pachoy (the one he is holding in the picture) or the lotus roots, a key ingredient for the crunchy chicken recipe.

All the times I’ve been to Mercado Anton Martin I’ve never deepen the knowledge of the shop ‘La Mar de Algas’, selling only Spanish seaweeds, serving the best choice products for Buns & Bones famous ramen soup.

Talking about the buns I’vet tried the duck one, which is totally recommended, but have seen how great the prawns look like I might suggest to share a poke for starter and then a fish bao for main course.

Lunch time in @bunsandbones at @mercadoantonmartin 🌟 Streetfood estrellas, esto es el bun de Pato 🦆 #BUNSANDBONES #madridiana

Un post condiviso da MadriDiana (@madridiana___) in data:

And these are the costillas first and then the pranws, as mentioned before, two of the buns best sellers.

More information: Buns & Bones

⛩ Santa Isabel, 5, 28012, Madrid ☎️ 810 521 705

⛩ San Bernardo, 12, 28015, Madrid ☎️ 913 928 953

⛩ Guzmán el Bueno, 69, 28015, Madrid ☎️ 910 562 091

 

Morgana_Madrid

Madridiana is the goddess of hunting cool places, when she meets another goddess they will be friends forever.
Morgana is a strong woman, a Celtic goddess, una mujer de fuerza.
Madridiana met Morgana on a sunny Sunday morning, while she was hunting new places in the very center of Madrid, the barrio Chueca.

Morgana immediately appear to be for the naming, the atmosphere and the Galician origin of the founders, as a big deal, a recently opened restaurant with a brand new unique offer.

Why restaurante Morgana Madrid?

The answer is simple, as Augusto and Miguel, the two owners, immediately explained that they wanted to have a strong identity, that’s why they chose a woman, and a powerful message, that’s why they chose a mitologic figure.

Augusto and Miguel are the two owners of restaurante Morgana Madrid, they are really young but at the same time they have gained a lot of experience around the world. Their competences complete each other because Augusto has studied and worked in hostelry while Miguel is the chef. This special mix of skills has on the other side the most important thing in common: friendship. They are good friends and they both come from La Coruña. So two common features: friendship and roots. Their provenience need to be explained a bit because it’s because of their Galician roots that they have started the Morgana adventure.

Galician water, beer, food and tradition and ingredients. They are focused on spreading the Galician food best products in Madrid, modernizing the most famous traditional food with a touch of international cuisine, because Miguel, the chef, has travelled a lot, in Europe and outside. The ceviche is for sure the result of his Peruvian experience. Not to mention that he has also worked at Diverxo with the awarded chef David Munoz.

Galician traditional best sellers as new, more contemporary, reinterpretation. I will write about my experience, which will be personal as always and “non replicabile” because every week Morgana changes the menu. The best food for sharing like the tortilla, the croquetas and the empanadas are the only fixed food of the menu, but especially for croquetas and empanadas the flavors usually change as well.

What attracted my attention was the scallop plate with pork and a pumpkin creme, impossible to resist. What I really loved about this plate, above the taste of course, was its concept, Miguel explained me how he balanced the fat savor of the pork with the acidity of the pumpkin creme.

Everything from a simple burrata to a more complex dish, is expressed in a new custom version edited and invented by Miguel.

Even the dessert I ‘ve tried had a twist of unconventional, with the crunchy texture of the bizcocho and the sweet cheese cake cream.

Morgana has just opened but for sure it will become an addiction to all, for Miguel innovative cuisine and Augusto detailed attention to the clientsn and for his special cocktails

More info: Morgana Restaurante.

paperboy hot dogs

When you think about the US and their street food culture, the hot dog is definitely the king. This article is all about hot dog, but a completely personal style, the Paper Boy hot dogs have their own unique concept and taste.

For sure we are talking about the best hot dogs in Madrid, no doubt, and the newly opened restaurant in calle Luchana is true love.

Because thanks to Alfonso Bortone, PaperBoy founder also known as the “chef perrocalentero” we are talking about a hotdog revolution and Chamberi is the perfect place barrio to spread the perrito culture.

Why should we eat these delicious hot dogs standing and wasting toppings on our shoes when there is a nice restaurant with affordable prices ready to receive us?

Moreover the menu and the concept inspired by the famous paperboy guy is so nice. Basically when you chose your hot dog you are choosing a world newspaper, so that the toppings are inspired by each food culture.

I has for example a “Le Parisian” with goat cheese and caramelized onion with a special green mustard sauce on, it was delicious.

Not to mention the “El Caribe” with pulled pork, mango chutney and platano chips.

Doesn’t it look delicious?

Trust us: it is delicious.

You can choose the newspaper and the toppings are already matched and then chose how your meat should be, not like hamburgers that you just decide how they should be cooked, in Paperboy hot  dogs you can choose between several types of wurstel, from the classic Frankfurt (pork), to the more spicy Bratwurst (white pork), than you also have the beef or chicken option and for sure the vegetarian alternative with a tofu wurstel.

The wurstel come in two sizes, the normal and a bigger one when you are more than hungry.

All the hot dogs comes with delicious crispy fries that you can also personalize with different toppings.

While waiting for your tasty hotdog you can try a venezuelan treat, if you down know them yet, the tequenos are roll usually filled with typical cheese, the perfect starter to share and discover more about the Paperboy’s founder origins.

We also tried the chocolate cake, and I have dreaming about that incredibly delicious meal for days, like literally waking up craving for one more bite to that delicious cake.

I guess I will order it on Deliveroo when I’ll be too lazy for leaving my cozy home.

And don’t forget to leave a post it on the wall, look at mine, perfectly expressing my experience at Paperboy hot dogs.

paperboy hot dogs

bEST COCKTAILS MADRID

Quote for the best cocktails in Madrid: My life is 50% wondering if it’s too late to drink coffee and 50% wondering if it’s too early to drink alcohol – Anonymous [This article is written by Enzo Lauretta]

First thing to say: this not a chart. It is based on my experience as Cocktail Lover spent in almost all the most particular cocktails bar in Madrid.

The experience of drinking a cocktail it’s only not about drinking what each barman serves but also take a sit a the counter, meet the bartender, listen his story and most of all the story of the cocktail.

In this short time frame between the cocktail preparation and my first sip, I always need to hear what he/she has to say, about the cocktail chosen.  What I appreciate the most is to hear their ideas about bartendering, their vision and how those ideas are transmitted into each cocktail, and while they are explaining I love to take these kind of pictures that I’ve been collecting in one year here in Madrid.

And I am already feeling the smell of cocktail and how they mix it, it’s craftsmanship, artesanal work, the more I see that sort of maniacal detail attention and the level of the cocktail rising perfectly until the glass limit, the more I’ll be back to that bar, spending more time with the mixologist, enjoying new tastes and new stories.

Best cocktails in Madrid

1. Angelita Madrid

Angelita Madrid has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: craftmanship. This is the keyword, even if it sounds a little weird that’s exactly the impression I had. The accuracy they 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.

The space is really nice and what surprised me was also the great number of spirits that Angelita does, 100% homemade with serveral tastes, that are added in all the cocktails of the menu.

Angelita Madrid, Calle Reina, 4, 28004 Madrid

2. Benares Madrid

Benares has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: the way they reinvented the barra as we wrote in the article “The barra esperience in Benares” is something really unique in Madrid, but I guess even in Europe probably.

I’ve never tried an indian cocktail, but I know really well how reach is the indian variety of tastes that I had really high expectations about the experience, but than what I’ve discovered talking to Santi (the barman) is a Menu where each cocktail is dedicated to an Indian city and where you can taste the differences of every city through a unique mix of ingredients.

For example, vodka, beetroot “rubidus” juice, homemade chutney with just a hint of spice, lima sour, silver dust, accompanied by aromas of Delhi’s market and a jelly from the gardens of the Red Fort, is the composition of the cocktail Old Delhi.

Benares Madrid, Calle de Zurbano, 5, 28010 Madrid

3. Museo Chicote Madrid

Museo Chicote as one of the be cocktails in Madrid because: historical. Museo Chicote needs no introduction. Chicote is a stop on the Hemingway trail in Madrid. His tecnique and his way of mastering the mixology art has fascinated not only the cocktails lovers, but but also artists like Salvador Dalì and international actresses and actors like Ava Gardner, Rita Hepburn and Frank Sinatra.

The Museo Chicote is the history of mixology as it was the first cocktail bar in Madrid, with the best position, on the most famous Street of Madrid, the Gran Via, it maintains the classic allure with some shift in modernity with special nights and video mapping shows, always maintaing the focus on cocktails. The red lighted barra makes the experience even better because it catches the attention, and the barman are all great professionals. The Menu spaces from the unmissable classics to the new inspiring creations of the new generations of bartenders.

Museo Chicote Madrid, Calle Gran Vía, 12, 28013 Madrid

4. Del Diego Madrid

Del Diego Madrid has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: familiar. Don’t waste your time looking for website and social media accounts, Del Diego in calle Reina is a familiar bar, at its second generation of Del Diego batenders. We met Fernando junior that is the son of the founder,  that is keeping alive the family tradition of how to manage a bar and prepare cocktails as they should be done.

They have a very old school barra, where you can comfortably sit and relax, admiring the Del Diego’s barman in action. The new bottles and the spirits collection are protagonists, both at the entrance and behind the barman. During the week you can have the opportunity to speak with the Del Diego Brothers and hear about their passion for the family business.

Del Diego Madrid, Calle Reina, 12, 28004 Madrid

5. Harvey’s Madrid

Harvey’s has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: it is pure old fashioned, what you expect from an american bar in the 50es.

Located in calle Fuencarral, really close to Tribunal Metro station, with its shiny neon lights and the american style seats. But as in all the other locations, I never seat on the table, I want to stay close to the barman, ask some advice on the menu and see the magic. Because of course I’ve been to all these bars, but to more and more, and from one reason or another only these ten are on the list.

Perfect service also here, and they passed the test of my favourite cockail: Manatthan, and I cannot tell you how many bars can’t do a Manatthan or a Margarita, the basics.

Then with the Sazerac and the French55 on the menu they are stating “we know the history of mixology” and they really know how to mix.

Harvey’s Madrid, Calle de Fuencarral, 70, 28004 Madrid

6. Hermosos y Malditos Madrid

Hermos y Malditos has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: you feel like you are out of space. I had the impression to be suddenly catapulted in a downtown diner late at night portrayed by Hopper in one of the most recognizable of paintings.

Distinguished, elegant, sophisticated that captured me for one of the best Instagram profile in town, exactly when it was opened.

Reading a bit more about the cocktail bar I also discovered the cocktail menu had one super hipster mixology tresure called “Wes Anderson”.
When I ordered it the very kind barman told me that due to the decision of creating this Scott Fitzgerald atmosphere, this key cocktail was renamed as the famous writer. Hermos y Malditos is infact the spanish version of the very renowned “The Beautiful and Damded”.
Well, the cocktail was very good, and I also appreciate the candies and the still water as soon as I sat down to the blue velvet sofa (yes, another Director’s quote, Mr. David Lynch).

Hermos y Malditos, Calle de Hermosilla, 23, 28001 Madrid

7. Meraki Gastrobar Madrid

Meraki gastrobar has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: special. Yes this place is special and deserve a place in this list, because as for Hard Rock barman, talking to the master of mixology you hear a completely peronal why of developing and creating a cocktail. Unique.

I had the chance to meet the bartender Joaquin Poyatos at the same event where I’ve met XXXX from Hard Rock. Joaquin prepared a special cocktail that it will be included in the new menu of the restaurant than I was able to try and preview; a cocktail made with Spinach, called Popeye, paired with a spinach biscuit that perfectly matches with the taste of the drink.

His idea of the contamination between the cuisine and the barra, as a liquid exchange of knowledge really fascinated me, and the same it was during the Made in Love event when his creations were aromatized with olives, like if the tapa was inside the cocktail.

Moreover they have in Meraki a tremendous complete selection of Vermouth, with the Martini Italian version called Riserva Speciale Rubino, Cinzano 1757, then Casa Mariol, the classic Zecchini and much more. Every thursday and saturday there is always live music in Meraki so that know you don’t have any excuse to not trying this unique place.

 

Meraki GastroBar, Avenida de Carabanchel Alto 138, Madrid

8. Salmon Guru

Salmon Guru has one of the best Cocktail Bar in Madrid because: Diego Cabrera. In Madrid when you talk about mixology of cocktails, the first name that you will hear is him, Mr. Diego Cabrera, born and raised in Argentina, he is the owner of Salmon Guru. The service is excellent, when you sit you already have a fresh glass of water and some candies waiting for you. Details makes the difference, and everytime I go to calle Echegaray I find the same perfect service, and it’s unusual that Diego itself is welcoming with like this. The bartenders serving at the table create a connection with you, because they are making your cocktail so they need to know you and wish you to enjoy it.

It’s a chic bar, the ambient is amazing for sure, but the cartoons inspired neon are all part of the experience, a different experience where you can feel that connection to Diego’s passions.

You can find some pictures of Diego mixing but for this blog post we have chosen this funny one with Alex.

 

Salmon Guru Madrid, Calle Echegaray, 21, 28014 Madrid

9. El Palco Platea Madrid

El Palco Plate has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: theatrical. The space is unique.

For those who don’t know, Platea is an old theater turned into a gastronomic center, with chic bars and restaurant. El Palco, located on the second floor offers an impressive view on the stage that can distract the atterion for the original reason why you are there, and it’s so hard to sit at the bar with the theatre on the back, but it worth a chat with the bartender, and than back to the seats.

 

El Palco Platea Madrid, Calle de Goya, 5-7, 28001 Madrid

10. Torre Barcelò Madrid

Torre Barcelò has one of the best cocktails in Madrid because: design. Yes, no doubt, it’s strenght is the design, in the spaces, in the menu, in the business card too. Nothing is left to change in this men made paradise.

Barceló Torre de Madrid really strenght it’s uniqueness with an incredible architecture from the outside and a great design on the inside. The view is reserved to the higher floors for the hotel accommodations and the spa. The cocktail bar is on the ground floor, right in front of Plaza de Espana shining through the fountains water.

I loved the atmosphere of the bar and service was perfect. I mean, if you bring me nuts and candies I’ll be in love with you forever.

 

Torre Barcelò Madrid, Plaza de España, 18, 28008 Madrid

My advice is to try it all as I did it. And I am quite sure that my barra experience will not end here, my research will continue as long as there will be new cocktails to try.

tu pasta retiro italian

This is my first article dedicated to an Italian restaurant in Madrid, and it’s not about pizza even if there are quite a lot posts about pizza in my the Instagram feed.

I have to admit that I always need to feel that spark, the Spanish chispa, in order to start shaking my hands on the keyboard composing a new article.

tu pasta retiro italian

Tu Pasta, the brand new italian restaurant in front of Retiro, made me do that, because it is not an ordinary shop selling italian food and they don’t have pizza, but they do have the italian soul, or even better the Sardinian soul, a very precise idea of what they want to offer and how they want to offer it.

Sardinia is a land of seafood, tradition and have a strong culinary identity, and you can find some of the island best seller in the menu.

But Tu Pasta is not a Sardinian restaurant, you can find many different food from all part of Italy, there is a lot of research for offering the best of each Region, both in ingredients and receipts.

The caponata for example which is a typical Sicilian starter, it’s really similar to a Spanish pisto manchego but aubergine, olives and capers are the protagonist, usually cutted in bigger pieces than in Spain.

tu pasta retiro italiantu pasta retiro italian

About the starters, cheese and hams are also from different regions, the pecorino with black pepper is typical of Sardinia, than the Gorgonzola of the north and Mortadella of Emilia Romagna.

The core part of the menu is the pasta, of course, which can be stuffed or not staffed pasta, always available to enjoy in the restaurant or to take away, and in this case you can bring the already cooked receipt, or just the homemade ravioli and cook them later with your favourite sauce.

tu pasta retiro italian

I am a huge fan of gnocchi and I miss so much the homemade I was used to buy any given Saturday at Papiniano food market under my house.

But know I can go to calle Menendez Pelayo buy the fresh gnocchi of Tu Pasta and cook them home with a kilo of gorgonzola cheese. Best food in the world.

The Tu Pasta menu will make it quite difficult when you will decide which pasta to order, so my tip is always to share it as much as you can, try the carbonara with real guanciale, then move to a stuffed pasta, I had the scamorza and the truffle and they were both incredible, and don’t forget a taste of seafood. I would recommend the fregola, which is something really unique, looks like rice but it’s made of pasta with a similar sauce of the classic “spaghetti alle vongole”.

There is also the concept of experimenting the classic italian pasta with some of Spanish tradition like rabo de toro, and I find very interesting to see how the power of such a famous and strong taste can be mixed with the delicate textures of italian fresh pasta.

If you want to have an idea of what the a real tiramisù or cannolo siciliano are, then you know that in front of the Retiro you can sit inside the restaurant or in the terrazza, really in front of the park and bite these two delicious desserts, again, perfect for sharing.

tu pasta retiro italian

What should not be missed during a truly italian meal is for sure the wine, red, rosè or white, it doesn’t matter, the wine list shows Amarone Della Valpolicella, the classic Barolo, or the prestigious Chianti.

Don’t be afraid of carbs, Retiro is waiting for you if want to run after the perfect starter to dessert italian meal at Tu Pasta.

More information here: Tu Pasta.

How many times your favourite bar or restaurant was so full of people and impossible to get in on a random weekend? What about the bruch? Sunday morning queueing, the Madrid revisitation of Sunday Bloody Sunday by the U2.

Madridiana has the solution for this annoying weekend madness.

The method is: hype cool centric location on Monday or Tuesday, leaving the M30 for peaceful and relaxed locations during the weekend (remember that weekends start on Thursday in Madrid, or better Juernes).

meraki madrid

Meraki is a great example of the perfect weekend location.

Lore and Cris, the owners of Meraki restaurant decided to open their first venture in Carabanchel instead of a more centric barrio.

It’s a challenge but most of all it’s an innovative idea and proposal, and when I see innovation I see future and I have to support it.

The name, Meraki, is the first step into this wonderful world, because Meraki comes from the modern Greek and means “do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention”, exactly what Lore and Cris transmitted me.

Even if there is a lot of green and blue, cold colours, Meraki it’s really a warm restaurant welcoming clients with a unique atmosphere, also thanks to history of how it was built and which materials have been used like the woods that  comes from the Iglesia de Fuente el Saz del Jarama.

At this point you might have already reserved a table in Meraki for the weekend and I haven’t talked about the food and the barra (which will be explained by Enzo Lauretta, the drinks expert).

And to be totally sincere I haven’t mentioned the first two part of the atmosphere that I guess are the most appreciated, the green walls and the beautiful murals in the terrace.

So let’s start with the core point of a this gastro restaurant: the menu.

meraki madrid

This fantastic ensaladilla rusa is the first bite of Meraki cuisine, as a welcoming tapas.

The starter best seller is the tartar, in the veggie, fishy or classic meat version, it’s really special, and the famous guakamola, which is a sort of avocado tartar, the paradise of avocado lovers.

meraki madridmeraki madrid

Look at the mango and the tomatoes in the veggie version, no filter picture of course, with my Nikon, it was delicious, I could have two more, even if the portions are huge, and dine with it, as starter, main course and dessert.

Choosing the main courses was not an easy task, the burger with beer bread sounds incredibly tasty, the tuna tataki perfectly matches with the tomatoes tartar, tortilla and croquetas for the classic spanish food with a Meraki touch.

In the end as for the guakamola we went for the funny naming, with the Maki taco as a mix of japanese uramaki and mexican taco, and a classic dish de toda la vida, the carrillera de ternera with patatas purea.

meraki madrid

Like a happy kids I was surprised to find my favourite water, San Pellegrino, the best sparkling water in the world.

Not to mention the tablas of quesos and jamon, cecina de Leon, with many starters and main courses made with cheese, Italian with the Burratina and French with the queso Camembert.

So many different cultures in one menu, totally in harmony between each other as a fusion concept should be considering that our tastes are changing every time we travel to a new destination and its culinary tradition and culture.

Creativity is the fil rouge of Meraki, it’s in every mesa, in every sofa, in every dish, that’s why this is not an ordinary restaurant.

Enzo’s thoughts

meraki madrid

As it was for the San Pellegrino water, the same accurate selection for the coffee with Illy and for a tremendous complete selection of Vermouth, with the Martini Italian version called Riserva Speciale Rubino, Cinzano 1757, then Casa Mariol, the classic Zecchini and much more.

Last but not least we also had what we call a “barra experience” with the bartender Joaquin Poyatos that we already had the chance to meet in occasion of the regional final of the bartending competition Made with Love, in collaboration with the Campari Academy, that put together the best bartenders of Madrid.

Joaquin prepared for us a special cocktail that it will be included in the new menu of the restaurant than we were able to try and preview.

meraki madrid

A cocktail made with Spinach, called Popeye, paired with a spinach biscuit that perfectly matches with the cocktail.

His idea of the contamination between the cuisine and the barra, as a liquid exchange of knowledge really fascinated me, and the same it was during the Made in Love event when his creations were aromatized with olives, like if the tapa was inside the cocktail.

Every thursday and saturday there is always live music in Meraki so that know you don’t have any excuse to not trying this unique place.

Wishing all the best to Lore and Cris, we can’t wait to be back to Meraki, convinced that their passion and dedication will be the key for the success and growth of this restaurant, which might be only the first of an amazing series of locals.

More information here: Meraki.

Donde Marian

There are a lot of things that can occur during a dinner. The focus is always on what you eat, the taste, the smell of it, and in some cases it can also involve the touch feeling when the food should be eaten with the hands.

Well, in Donde Marian I also listened a lot, probably the most used taste was definitely hearing, and it rarely happen to enjoy a meal at restaurant while learning a lot of interesting thing about the quality and selected ingredients that you can find on the menu.

Even if the historic founder Marian de la Peña retired in 2016, the service and the key dishes are at the same level as they have been for more than two decades.

Donde Marian

Marian left her restaurant to her niece, Ana Hernández and her husband Alfonso Luca de Tena. Ana as a successful architect took care of the restoration of the different areas of the restaurant with a classy restyling of powder blue tones and modern lighting.

What didn’t change is the core and most important part of restaurant: the team. Same chef, same waiter and waitress. The star dishes of Donde Marian like the seasonal vegetables, artichokes and white Navarra asparagus are still the same, as the chuleton, a huge ribeye grilled in the best way.

In the end, Donde Marian continues to take good care of his clients.

And this is probably why in Donde Marian in two decades became so popular and has so many trusted clients, season after season.

Like I did last week, all the clients have learned when they’ll find asparagus and when artichokes because the strength of this place is that almost military selection of only the most valuable products, with a special reference to the vegetables.

I’ve learned a lot about how the white Navarra asparagus is so white and how taught is life of an artichokes collector. As my father worked as greengrocer and I never had the chance to hear from him how passionate he was about his job, I found really interesting and inspiring to hear the passion that Alfonso’s suppliers, La Trailla, put into their daily job, proud the have the best white Navarra asparagus of Spain. Which by the way as a really tiny percentage of worldwide production because most of the white asparagus in commerce are from China, like the 95%.

la trailla

What also impressed about Alfonso is that he defined the Donde Marian kitchen as a “cocina honesta”, because they want to be honest, the chef have always, and will always, cook only the seasonal products, presenting to clients only the best real food when it has to be eaten. The menu has the same high requested meat, vegetables and fish typical Spanish food for the trusted clients, but now as also some new entries like Italian Burrata as starter or two different tartar, one with beef solomillo and one with salmon, both perfectly hand-cutted.

Everything is homemade in Donde Marian, from the starters to the desserts, and the wine selection is really impressive.

They also have a “menu jovenes” at 28€ when the medium price for a dinner is usually around 40€, and I guess if you see the passion that Alfonso and his historic team put into Donde Marian you’ll understand that all the best products research they do, and their 100% honest food principle is very rare and totally worth the bill.

In Donde Marian you can enjoy a star dinner, or lunch in a beautiful restaurant or in its amazing quite terrace and try a classic of Madrid since two decades.

More Information: Donde Marian.

Casa Tomada Madrid

You can’t say you are a Madrileño if you don’t know La Casa Tomada, not because it is serving typical Spanish food, but mainly because you have to sit in calle San Lorenzo 9 and try the most sculptural bocatas of Spanish capital.

I’ve been hearing about La Casa Tomada since day one in Madrid, because of Instagram, because of Deliveroo, because of friends of friends and positive reviews I saw in the web.

Finally I got the chance to taste those gourmet sandwiches everyone is talking about, that red and white checkered paper that is so familiar after tens of photos I saw in Instagram.

I really enjoyed the history of the restaurant, hearing how it all began right from the founder and head of the kitchen army in La Casa Tomada.

“Hacemos bocadillos con mucho arte” is the mantra of this restaurant but I have to admit the what I really loved was talking with José Antonio, the founder, about how he loves to take care of his crew and make sure everything that comes out from his kitchen is 100% perfect. So art and perfection, Salvador Dalì used to say “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it”, because you need to be confident in order to get to that level of perfection or even better that level of quality, providing each day a high quality product.

José Antonio, who was born and raised in Venezuela, started his bocata revolution while he was at school, in Madrid, studying the art of cooking, training everyday making bocatas for his university’s colleagues. He saw an opportunity, the school cafeteria bocatas were a disaster, and started leveraging his cooking abilities delivering daily orders for all his mates.

La Casa Tomada was born in Venezuela, 2011, when he came back after the graduation in Madrid, becoming super popular, serving more than 100 bocatas every night, from his mother’s house transformed for the occasion into a street food restaurant.

la casa tomada madrid

Madrid calle San Lorenzo 9 arrived in 2014, when José Antonio decided to move to Madrid and started a new La Casa Tomada venture.

The good news is that La Casa Tomada in Madrid is open both for lunch and dinner, so that you can try fight the biggest bocata in Madrid at midday or midnight, I mean, there is not a real proper time for a La Casa Tomada bocata, you can have breakfast with the night before doggy bag bocata or dine with friends sharing different tastes.

Sharing is a key point of this place, if you just take a bocata it might be a pity, because the starters are massive, and if you don’t get a bocata but a salad, well, you’re a loco, even because there are meat bocatas and veggie bocatas, for all the tastes.

The delicious entrantes of La Casa Tomada, the Chili Cheese Fries is quite mandatory, like the unmissable dish of the menu, you can’t see the fries from the top, they are quite hidden but they’re super tasty, not the typical patatas I guess.

la casa tomada madrid

If you want you avocado dosis of the day, the Pulled Pork Fries might be a good compromise, because more than fries and pulled pork the bowl is full of fresh guacamole style sauce that matches perfectly with the pork.

Now that you are already half full with such a starter you see this huge bocata coming and you need to be really hungry and take some courage to start and end it all alone, so that sharing might be a good idea again, because trust me, half bocata is already a bocata.

I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews about the roast beef, so I chose the Fat Roast Beef, with onion, cheese, bacon and roast beef for sure, but the Teriyaki de ternera is a good choice if you love that asian sauce, or all the chicken bocatas are quite special, from the Pollo Italia with pesto to the Parmigiana Sandwich for the Grana Padano lovers.

la casa tomada madrid

There are more than 20 sandwiched between the classic bocata and the hotdog style, and nothing better than a fresh graft beer to sip with them.

The guys of La Casa Tomada can really help in choosing between all the different fancy bottles exposed on the window, starting from Spanish beers (from Madrid) that might be more famous like the Cibeles or less like the Moustache.

I’ve tried the Moustache which is super suave and perfect for me, but if you prefer stronger tastes the black ipa might be the right beer.

Last but not least the desserts, I will never leave a restaurant without trying at least one dessert, I don’t like the unfinished works, and in La Casa Tomada there is really good ensemble of postres homemade.

More Information:

La Casa Tomada

Calle San Lorenzo, 9, 28004, Madrid

Metro Tribunal / Alonzo Martínez

+3434915138448