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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

tuk tuk asian street food

Monday night, Calle de Alcalà 167. Welcome to the newest Tuk Tuk asian street food restaurant, or even better south east asian street food restaurant.

Not my first Tuk Tuk comida, but definitely the first relaxed one.

tuk tuk asian street food

I’ve been previously in Calle Barquillo and ordered from Deliveroo several times, but I’ve never heard the history of the restaurants (more than one, and even more than the two mentioned), and had the chance to try so many different dishes sharing the bowls like if they were tapas, between spicy lovers and spicy kind of haters like me.

The first thing to take into consideration when ordering at Tuk Tuk restaurant is the spicy level of food that you can handle.

I am definitely not an harder spicy taster, but I am really into ginger, curry and chilly too, so I can dine with all the comidas with one and two peppers in Tuk Tuk without any problems, but this is a very personal choice.

I can state that if you are a spicy lover you’ll be challenged in Tuk Tuk, there will be a lot of great food for you, from the entrantes to the desserts, and the same story for the sweet flavour lovers, like me, you will desire the chili mango bowl as the ultimate favourite asian food.

Let’s start from the begin.

Why Tuk Tuk and why southeast asian street food?

The founder of Tuk Tuk restaurants is Ricardo Alexander, a british bollywood actor and entrepreneur that has lived a lot of years between the tuk tuk streets of Asia. Exploring different countries and food tradition of south east Asia he was able to live the spicy world of asian food cuisine. His travels and researches brought him to start experimenting with all the most common ingredients and recipes he had tasted around Bangkok, India, Philippines, and Vietnam.

If you have never been to Asia you can start understanding the real complexity of a pad thai or the hokkien, which might be less know but is to me a masterpiece of the Tuk Tuk menu.

I guess Ricardo should be both proud of teaching and letting newbies about the south east asian street food traditions and as well of the people that have already visited one of those countries. They can really appreciate all the details in the restaurant design and the in the food menu felling the same atmosphere they have already lived, every sip of Tom Ka Gai soup and every bite of the Ayam Sambal brochetas.

I’ve to admit that I’ve really appreciated both the design of the menu divided mainly into rice, soup, noodles, curry, and the very useful explanation of the Tuk Tuk master.

To be honest the sexy bao in Tuk Tuk asian street food is the only one I’ve really appreciated so far in Madrid, because of the softness of the dough and for the shape too. It is much easier to eat when the toppings are vertical and not horizontal. The taste is really great, soft and crispy with the these delicious red onion in escabeche.

And mint, lots mint and herbals, the sexy bao like many other dishes has a good portion of mint leaf on the top of it. I am really into mint and usually you find it cooked, but this is really fresh and gives a twist to the strong pork taste of the bao and same thing for the main courses.

tuk tuk asian street food

Not sure if a spicy beginner like me can handle a whole portion of Malay Curry Laksa but have for sure need to try it, because this is really a special dish, a real asian gem brought in Madrid straight from the asian markets. Curry and coconut soup with prawns, chicken, tofu, eggs and noodles, and it’s so beautiful, look at this strong yellow colour, impressive.

tuk tuk asian street food

My suggestion? Find 4-5 mates with different tastes in terms of spicy addiction and share with them one rice, one soup, at least a noodle meal and for sure half bao and some brochetas. You’ll end up with a more complete south asian street food experience as if the bowls were tapas, and be back to Tuk Tuk sharing or ordering your favourite, which in my case will be really hard between the chili mango chicken and the hokkien, really really hard.

Make sure also to find a sharing desserts mate because the match of white chocolate and ginger of the lemon cheesecake is massive, I mean, white chocolate and ginger, could you ask for more?

Not to mention the superb Dorayaki with banana ice cream and spicy chocolate sauce, unmissable.

You can find the full menu here.

The Tuk Tuk restaurants are actually 5 (+ street food festivals), and these are the locations:

Tuk Tuk C/ Cardenal Cisneros 6 (Metro: Bilbao)

Tuk Tuk C/ Barquillo 26 (Metro: Chueca)

Tuk Tuk Av. General Perón 16 (Metro: Santiago Bernabeu)

Tuk Tuk C/ Alcalá 167 (Metro: Goya)

Tuk Tuk Mercado Vallehermoso C/Vallehermoso 36 (Metro: Quevedo)

 

 

I’ve always been in fashion, this means not only to buy fashion but also to live it.

My very first working experience was as assistant of a really young fashion designer for a really historic Italian fashion brand.

Staying by her side meant a lot for me, because she was in charge of everything, design, production, fashion shows, researches, and I was living with her this day by day, studying at university in the morning, going in the atelier in the afternoon.

The fashion world of that tiny ecosystem of an historic fashion house trying to renovate with a young recently graduated designer impressed me a lot.

I travel and visited the most prestigious textile trade fairs, I learned a lot about the fabrics, I was studying economics, so I didn’t have any knowledge about the fashion world.

When I graduated I didn’t have the chance to work in a big fashion company, I started my career in the digital world, working with startups and advertising agencies.

I have learned a lot from that experience and that’s why I am really interested in connecting with young Spanish designers, I want to know the history of their brand, how they conceived it and how they developed it, because I like the stories behind the brands, more than the product itself, if I trust a entrepreneur I’ll marry the product too.

To me quality is the main point, I always need to touch the fabric and see where it was made from the label, how much cotton in it.

rojo piruleta madrid

When I’ve met Arantxa and Yomara from Rojo Piruleta I was so glad to discover a young Spanish fashion brand focus on quality rather than trends.

Finally a simple idea, making cool t-shirts and sweaters, that will last more than one season, even if none of them is a simple cloth.

It can be a sentence printed, an embroidery sewed on the shoulder like caviar or even a weaving on the hip. Nothing is left to chance. Even if Arantxa and Yomara are not fashion designers, they do design together all the collections of Rojo Piruleta.

They come from a totally different sector, the sanitary, but they have always had the dream of a collection produced by themselves.

They were both already entrepreneurs, so the organizational part, how to set up a company was the easiest part for me, but the research of the right fabric and the right company to print and produce the collections was not that easy.

I believe that when you do something well it is easier to attire people, because of the word of mouth between customers and retailers too.

If you consider how long these products will last compared to the fast seasonal fashion product you won’t need any added reason to start buying Rojo Piruleta.

The thing that impressed me the most, after the quality of the fabric, is for sure the commercial network that Arantxa and Yomara were able to build so quick, with the most famous multi-brand retailer in Madrid (NAC) for example and so many resorts locations, like Pura in Tarifa.

Not to mention that Arantxa and Yomara did not quit their previous jobs for Rojo Piruleta, they maintain both the activities 247, the designer together but then the rest of the tasks are divided into them. And of course they also have a third job, the most beautiful and complicated in the world: being mothers.

What I really liked about them is their planning, they have really clear who they are, what they what to do and especially when, they won’t produce too much or go too fast, they will grow at their own trend, step by step, they will keep the control of the productions, the communication, the design and the sales.

Last but not least I appreciated the fact that both Arantxa and Yomara always wear Rojo Piruleta and that they mix and match them in so many ways, like for example wearing a shirt on the opposite side avoiding the prints using the back side on the front, because they don’t have labels on the back. It’s such a simple thing that was not conceived to be kind of double face but it is really a double face with a simple idea.

Rojo Piruleta is a simple statement for something that we were all missing since Arantxa and Yomara started the brand in 2015, simple t-shirts and sweater with a magic touch of originality.

benares barra madrid

It’s hard to fully explain the experience of the new barra at Benares Madrid.

It’s hard mainly because it’s the first time we see the reinterpretation of the most famous Spanish tapas by an Indian chef, and he is a star chef, he is Atul Kochhar, the owner of two Michelin stars and the reputation of having completely changed the way we enjoy the Indian cuisine.

It’s hard to explain how the bocata de calamares was edited in Benares Indian way, but as you try it, and we have tried it, everything is clear, taste the different but also the similarities.

Each Spanish tapa can easily match with one if the new cocktails. Each cocktail has been realized by Santiago Dorado, the official bartender of the new barra at Benares.

Each cocktail represent a city in India, following the naming of the Restaurant tradition, because Benares is the name of the most sacred Indian city.

And the new menu is a like a travel diary with strong leather cover and soft white papers in the inside.

It’a a challenge but we’ll try to bring you in India without exciting Madrid, tasting known food in a different and innovative way, and new cocktails that we’ll bring you to the very heart of India, passing through Jaipur, Old Dehli and Kochi.

Let’s start from the cocktail Benares and the tapa “patatas bravas”.

benares barra madrid

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is rightly called the religious capital of India. This cocktail, that takes its names from one of the world’s oldest living cities. It’s made from gin, homemade lemon grass, cordial, green cardamom and a touch of wine. We accompanied the Benares cocktail with a reinterpretation of a typical spanish dish, the “patatas bravas”, with crunchy bananas, chutney of mango with indian canela, tomato sauce, and spicy yogurt.

Now it’s time for the main course: paella, the spanish queen of the comida can be matched with the City (and cocktail) Old Delhi.
From Benares we move to Old Delhi, and we step across the Old Delhi’s ancient silver market with its different aroma types. Finally we arrive to the Red Fort and its gardens.

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 this cocktail Old Delhi.

While puffed rice, fondo de pescado al azafrán and macerated shrimps makes the unique “La paella” of the Benares’s barra.


Last but not least the “buñuelos de bacalao” really transformed into a work of art, which is again a musically food, because the silver fried skin of the bacalao is super crunchy, that your can ear that noise, like for the paella crispy sound.

benares barra madrid

They call them Bacalao en texturas instead of“Buñuelos de bacalao” because the base of fried balacalo has a completely different texture than the fried skin, the base really melts in the month, it’s delicious.

The “barra” experience ends with a very particular cocktail called Kochi, a non-alcoholic cocktail served is a cocoa dusted glass.
Considered as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice trade center on the coast of the Arabian Sea from the 14th century. The cocktail is composed of passion fruit juice, natural pineapple juice, fresh squeezed lime juice, white chocolate syrup and homemade spicy syrup.

We have really appreciated how the Chef and its team have tried to surprise us with spanish tapas twisted in creative revisitation inspired by tale of a Thousand and One Nights.

More information: Benares Madrid.

 

There are many gateways from the Spanish capital that you can handle in a day in a relaxed way, just one-hour drive or half an hour train journey would take you to awesome retreats.
The most common are: El Escorial, Segovia and Toledo. Every touristic stall in Madrid offers all these one-day trips for usually more than 50 euro with the bus tickets and some museum entries.
The truth is that you can organize a very pleasant route for half, or even less than half of that price.
Between these three options, the first unmissable is Toledo.
Less that one hour by bus, around 10 euro for the round trip, and amazing escalators will load all the tourists right at the top of the hill where all the main attractions are.
The first thing that everyone needs to know about Toledo is that it is called “the city of three cultures” which is its most emblematic feature, intertwining three different worlds.
As most of our favorite sights, Toledo is a part of the UNESCO Heritage for its unique history and untouched patrimony.
The first thing to visit is the Museum Santa Cruz, very close to Plaza de Zocodover. It’s a cultural space born from the merge of the Hospital de Santa Cruz and the Convento de Santa Fe, offering different temporary exhibitions all year.

toledo travel madridiana

The front side of the Alcazar over the terrace

Then it’s time to move to Alcázar, the place where you can spend hours admiring all the historic pictures and military armaments. Four floors, I don’t know how many rooms and topics and things to see, but you should spend at least two hours in here. It is not just about the inside, the special location of this building gives the mind-blowing view from the top of the hill.
toledo travel madridiana

This position gave Alcázar an opportunity to become an important and strategic venue during Spanish Civil war.

Time to rest and eat something typical in one of the numerous tapas bars in the tiny streets that connect Alcázar with the second most important venue of the city: the Cathedral.
Before arriving at the Cathedral, it is interesting to step into these tiny streets where a lot of Arabic buildings can be found, easily recognizable by their architecture and decorations.
As all the city museums have military collections on display, the local souvenir shops also specialise in this merchandise, most popular tourist take-aways are souvenirs dedicated to the war history.
Knives and guns are everywhere, it is really impressive. By the way, the choice of marzipan is enormous, at it is considered the most typical food of the area.
 toledo travel madridiana

The Cathedral of Santa María de Toledo is huge and gothic, and the entrance ticket is 10 euros, but there is a dedicated free entrance (in the picture) if you want to pray, exactly on the opposite side from the main entrance.

Of course, there is a sort of a fence of this area, but you can at least see and have an idea of the style and the dimensions of the church from the inside.
It was built in 1226 during Catholic monarchy and is considered one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture in Spain.
On the 15th of August, there is a strange tradition during the Virgen del Sagrario celebrations. The Cathedral is full of water from the Pozo (well) del Claustro because it is considered miraculous, and you can later buy this water all year long, at the entrance.
On Sundays at 9 am when the holy mass starts, it is also great to hear the incredible pipe organ.
The Jewish area is very close to the Cathedral, that’s why visiting at least one of the synagogues right after the Catholic marathon is a very good idea.
toledo travel madridiana

The view from the Alcazar (the Cathedral on the left)

Toledo is famous for its tolerance and who different cultures that have coexisted together for such a long time, even though the Jewish community was expelled from Spain in 1492 with the edict of expulsion.
If you are not a staunch devotee of any religion, visiting churches is still a good idea, you can focus totally on art instead of religion.
Inside Santo Tomé church, in fact, there is one of the most famous Spanish works of art by El Greco. 
toledo travel madridiana

El entierro del señor de Orgaz – El Greco (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Foundation)

Do you recognize it? It’s the representation of “el entierro del conde de orgaz” which means “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” right at the entrance of the church. It’s oil on canvas dated 1588. It illustrates a popular local legend. Being an exceptionally large painting, it is clearly divided into two zones: the heavenly above and the terrestrial below, brought together in a single composition.

The entrance is not free, but for meager 2 euros you can see this masterpiece and the church of course.
It is strictly prohibited to take pictures inside Santo Tomé, a bodyguard is constantly observing the visitors ready to block every attempt to shoot.
Not enough of El Greco? Well, Toledo is the right place for El Greco lovers. You can finish the day visiting the museum dedicated to him.
Make sure to visit this city when in Spain because “You haven’t seen Spain until you saw Toledo”.
Curious about the other two one day trip mentioned at the beginning of the blog? A new article about them is coming soon.
[Previously posted on Routes.tips]
georgia madrid khachapuri

Have you ever eat in a Restaurant from Georgia?

I’ve never, until Yesterday night, starving after more than a two hours play at the theatre.

In the middle of Chueca I was looking for something new, didn’t want to try another japanese or thai restaurant.

Here comes Khachapuri. Their logo is super clear, I immediately understood what was the typical dish they were symbolizing, and I thought: “Ok, let’s do it”.

And if I am writing this article is because I discovered something new that I would love to suggest.

Khachapuri you might have guessed right was my choice. The fact that traditionally you have to eat it with hands give to this tasty sort of pizza an advantage because I love eating with the hands. The touch and smell feelings are stronger when you leave the cutlery aside.

Unfortunately Yesterday I went out without my Nikon camera, so the pictures are all made with my phone. I really didn’t expect to discover such a lovely place.

Because in Calle Victor Hugo 5 is not only the food that rules this place, the atmosphere and the design of the restaurant is special. Perfect colors, perfect lights and all the graphics are extremely cool.

I definitely have to come back, the food was great, I mean a cheese overdose is Always welcome. And in the end, my fear was let me be sincere, not to digest all that cheese and the melted butter over it, but I didn’t had any problem.

Enjoy my Sony XZ pictures until I will be back with my camera, or even better, you should go, taste and see the khachapuri yourself.

More information available here: Khachapuri Madrid.

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