Restaurants in Madrid

The city has a recently invigorated dining scene, the capital after all should not lag behind places such as Bilbao or San Sebastian when it comes to creativity. Most of Spain’s regional specialities are represented, especially in the smaller tascas (tapas bars) and mesones (taverns). All major cuisines also enjoy a variety of outlets, and the national obsession with ham is as apparent here as it is anywhere.

The Madrid restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over €90)
Moderate (€40 to €90)
Cheap (up to €40)
These Madrid restaurant prices are for an average three-course meal for one including half a bottle of house wine or cheapest equivalent; they do not include tax or tip.

Tipping is not customary in Spain, and service charges vary from establishment to establishment. At smaller venues, simply leaving the small change is acceptable.

La Terraza del Casino

Price: Expensive
Cuisine: Catalan

Paco Roncero is the creative brain behind this Michelin starred eatery. Booking early is essential with one of Spain's best chefs at the helm. Experimentation in the style of Catalan Ferran Adria is the order of the day. Expect foams, unusual combinations of flavour, constant surprises and an experience unlike a 'normal' restaurant.

Address: Calle Alzala 15, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 532 1275.

Sergi Arola Gastro

Price: Expensive
Cuisine: Traditional

Three years after it opened, this traditional Catalan restaurant earned two Michelin stars. The menu changes monthly, but expect to dig into a range of delectable fare from homemade breads, rockfish and pickled sardines to duck, Iberian pork fillet and sirloin stews. As well as an extensive wine list, it specialises in different varieties of tea. Lovely.

Address: Calle Zurbano 31, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 310 2169.

Restaurante Zalacain

Price: Expensive
Cuisine: Traditional

Probably the best-known restaurant in the city, and certainly the one where people go to be seen. It is a suitably elegant affair, and serves classic nouveau cuisine. The tasting menu is as formidable as the wine list, but both are worth exploring. Foie gras, caviar and truffles are likely to feature heavily, depending on the season. Keep an eye out for the great and the good - regular diners include King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía, plus politicians and Nobel Prize winners.

Address: Alvárez de Baena 4, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 561 4840.

Casa Lucio

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: Traditional

One of the city's most famous eateries, it is not unusual to find a famous person eating here despite the lack of glamorous décor. Situated in La Latina, one of the oldest areas of Madrid, Casa Lucio was established in the mid 1950s and has established itself as the place to eat fried eggs and chips. The dishes served are traditional and include cocido madrileño (chick pea stew) and callos (stewed cow stomach in spicy sauce), oxtails, freshly made crocquettes and baby eel.

Address: Cava Baja 35 , Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 365 8217.

Botín

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: Catalan

Said to be the oldest restaurant in the world, Botín first opened its doors below the Plaza Mayor in 1725, and has been keeping diners happy ever since. The wonderful old dining rooms retain the original painted tiles, oak beams and wood-burning oven. Traditional Castilian dishes are the speciality here - the roast suckling pig and the tender Aranda lamb are delicious. Reservations are strongly advised, as it is very popular.

Address: Calle Cuchilleros 17, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 366 4217.

Casa Paco

Price: Moderate
Cuisine: Steak

Unabashed meat loving is the name of the game here, in what is generally held to be the capital’s finest steakhouse. Hidden in the depths of the old town, this atmospheric two-storey eatery is a must for those who like steak, but booking ahead is well advised. There’s fish soup and chickpea and pork for those a little less carnivore.

Address: Plaza Puerta Cerrada 11, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 366 3166.

La Buganvilla

Price: Cheap
Cuisine: Paella

Enjoy Mediterreanean dishes cooked with flair at this stylish restaurant, particularly rice dishes. Tuck into paella made with lobster, seafood or meat amid subtle nautical-themed surroundings.

Address: Calle Almagro 12, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 319 7550.

La Galette

Price: Cheap
Cuisine: Vegetarian

One of the best things about this well-established vegetarian restaurant is that carnivores are catered for too. From the extensive list of imaginatively prepared vegetable, rice and pasta dishes, one might single out the delicious tartar de chicle (cauliflower cheese with a dusting of fresh herbs), followed by apple croquettes. Diners sit elbow-to-elbow in the two small rooms, decked out in an appealing country-kitchen style.

Address: Calle Conde de Aranda 11, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 576 0641.

Divina La Cocina

Price: Cheap
Cuisine: Contemporary Spanish

A great location on the fringes of trendy Chueca is one reason why this restaurant is such a hit. Together, they have created their own special brand of Spanish fusion - for example, salted cod in a soya and ginger sauce, seaweed salad with shrimps and eggs of sea urchin or prime beef steak with foie gras in port. Designer Carlos Mayoral's powder blue and terracotta tones add a dash of refinement and sophistication.

Address: Calle Colmenares 13, Madrid, Spain
Telephone: 91 531 3765.
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