This may be hard to imagine because, why the hell would anyone EVER get over tapas, especially in Madrid. Alongside Flamenco, La Tomatina and Antonio Banderas, it’s pretty much a national treasure.
But when you’ve been in Spain for a few days, the love of tapas can start to fade (it’s sad but it happens).
If you’re visiting Madrid, and you’re tired of tapas, here’s where you should go:
Perched on an unassuming corner in what is considered to be the oldest district in Madrid, El Rastro. You really wouldn’t notice La China Mandarina unless you were actively looking for it.
Serving food that is Mediterranean with Asian overtones, you are bound to find something interesting and unique. Think slow cooked pork cheek, salads with wakame seaweed, and homemade sweets.
The staff are super friendly and the food is delicious. Grab a table by the window because this neighbourhood is perfect for people watching.
A little cafe hidden in Madrid’s backstreets. They call it hipster, we would call it a run-of-the-mill Sydney or Melbourne style cafe. The fittings are sleek, the coffee is good and the patrons are fashionable. You’ll find a mix of students, business types and expats here, and the free wifi means the communal table is pretty much always coated in MacBook Pros.
Federal’s menu consists of salads, burgers, sandwiches, hearty breakfasts and a range of unique cakes. It’s obvious this place is owned by an Australian, with the likes of Vegemite and Coopers Red on the menu.
Insider tip: head up to the counter when you’re ready to order, the waitresses are unlikely to remember that you walked in. I guess this is what happens when you’re so popular.
Taberna la Carmencita
Guess what? You can avoid tapas and still eat traditional Cantarian and Madrid meals. Taberna la Carmencita is a classic establishment; the second oldest restaurant in Madrid and a once popular meeting place for poets.
Having recently acquired new management, the restaurant has reinvented itself, and it really shows. No detail has been overlooked, from the furnishings, through to the food. The owners take their menu seriously, and choose to utilise a lot of organic and locally sourced ingredients. Not a bargain restaurant, but certainly worth it for the quality alone.
Cervezas le Virgen
This place originally started as a microbrewery and is now operating a food truck on the premises. The menu is a take on Madrid style street food, largely focused on sandwiches laced with traditional Spanish fillings.
You might fancy an authentic squid sandwich, or perhaps, one made with avocado, gazpacho and chipotle mayonnaise. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Crusto Coffee Shop
If you’re craving pastries, healthy salads, dense breads and the juiciest tomatoes on earth, then Crusto is a must. Walking to this cafe you will pass corporate types in chambray and linen, fluffy pooches, and cute little Spanish abuelas wheeling their trolley carts with their cigar wielding husbands in tow.
The interior of Crusto is straight off a Pinterest board; it’s stunning, from the lighting, to the intricate tiles – so if you’re into that kind of thing, along with delicious food, then you’ll find Crusto to be a total pleasure to eat at.
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