Eating our way through Madrid
Our first trip since we moved to London was to Madrid. Our first time there! We had friends from NYC visiting Madrid so we decided to join them for the weekend. Why not! I mean,,, this is why we moved to London in the first place - to live it up and see the world!
I wouldn’t say we are avid foodies, but we do LOVE eating some good food. In the past few years, food has definitely been the center of our travel planning. Some of our favorite places to travel to for food are Oahu (Hawaii), Japan (Japanese food is our favorite!), Italy, and etc. We’ve been to Barcelona a few years ago and enjoyed the food there, so we were excited for our visit to Madrid!
Our first stop after checking into our hotel was to the Plaza Mayor, to get an afternoon snack.
The Plaza Mayor was bustling with people, music, cafes, restaurants, and etc. We pretty much passed by the plaza everyday and it’s lively in the morning, afternoon, and at night.
Our first stop for our snack was at La Ideal to try the local favorite, Bocadillos de Calamares (Calamari Sandwich).
As you can see, it’s a very simple sandwich. Literally, bread + calamari, that’s it. My husband and I both love bread and calamari, but never had those two together. To be honest, we were skeptical until we tried it. Somehow, this simple combination goes so well together! Butter is always great. The bread - soft and chewy, YUM! And the calamari - crispy yet so tender, and perfectly seasoned! Perfect for the on-the-go lunch or a quick afternoon snack!
Then for dessert, we had to go get some delicious churros.
Chocolateria San Gines
This place was highly rated on Google reviews and had a line outside, so we decided to try this place out. Spain is known for its warm & fresh churros with a cup of hot chocolate to dip your churros in.
We are used to the cinnamon and sugar coated churros, but the churros here come plain. And that’s when the cup of hot chocolate comes in to play. Not your typical hot chocolate, it’s literally melted gooey chocolate in a little cup as your dipping sauce. We ended up coming here twice during our quick weekend trip!
Madrid is a great walking city! We love exploring a new city by foot because we feel like you get to see so much more and can really immerse yourself in the city. All these places are walking distance, at most 20-30minute walk.
Tip: Take the free walking tours at new cities! They are free, run on donations and tips. They are tons out there and we have tried Sandeman a few times, and we recommend! You get to learn the history of the city while you are admiring the city. So much more context when you are looking at things and taking pictures of beautiful historic buildings.
Royal Palace of Madrid
We ended up not going into the palace but admired from the outside. Even just from the outside, you can see how beautiful and grand it is! It is apparently the largest palace in Europe.
Tip: We’ve visited the palace in the morning, mid-day, and right before sunset. Visit right before sunset to get a nice view without the crazy crowd. During the morning and mid-day, you will be mixed in with all the tour groups and it’s super hard to get a clean picture without all the people.
Mercado De San Miguel
This is a must-visit place if you are in Madrid, especially if you love food markets.
It’s not a huge place, so it’s easy to do a whole loop to see what’s there. The place that caught our eye was the JAMON place, of course! We had to try them and when you order a small plate of fresh jamon, below is what happens.
The worker will start carving the jamon for you right there! Never seen this before so it was a cool experience just to watch him. And yes, that little plate of jamon was quite expensive (I think it was around 10-15 euros), but let me tell you… it was the BEST JAMON we have ever tried! It’s just salty enough but not too salty where you need some bread with it. It was amazing just on its own!!
There are tons of food stalls here with amazing tapas, wine, cheese, and etc. We were already full so couldn’t try everything but decided to try the below little dish, which was so fresh and delicious!
If you want to fully enjoy the food market experience, go there HUNGRY and try all the different types of food!
Juana La Loca
We were looking for a casual dinner spot and a friend highly recommended this restaurant. Not knowing much at all, we just headed over here. We got there around 8pm and without reservation, had to wait about 20-25 minutes to get seated. We waited at the bar and ordered some drinks and olives.
Spoiler alert… This place was SO GOOD! I’d say one of the best meals I’ve had in my life! The food is so yummy, ambience is great (casual but chic!), service was awesome, it’s a must try!
We weren’t sure what to order so asked for recommendations. The waiter had some great suggestions and we went out of our comfort zone and tried new things!
Left: Sirloin fillet & fried quail egg on bread. The steak was perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned! And the little tiny yolk of the quail egg added so much to the dish. Each bite of the steak, heavenly!
Right: Black fideua with homemade squid sausage. THIS IS A MUST TRY! We would have never ordered this on our own. First of all, had no idea what fideua was (it’s pretty much paella with pasta instead of rice), and squid sausage.. what is that?! Fortunately, the waiter HIGHLY recommended this dish so we decided to be adventurous, and we are so glad we tried it. This was definitely highlight of our dinner.
Left: Wild mushroom black truffle & egg yolk ravioli. If you are a truffle fan, this would be your dish. It just melts in your mouth! Warning though, this dish is very rich, so definitely share with others. But that one bite..YUM!
Right: White chocolate & mascarpone with wild berries. This was our pick for dessert. Sweet, tart, fresh, flaky, great way to end the dinner.
Mercado de San Anton
A multi-level food market. A slightly different feel from the San Miguel market, so still worth a visit!
We came here with our friends and ordered a platter of cheese and jamon to munch on while we chit-chatted and caught up.
If you don’t know what to get, a platter is a great choice because you get to try a variety of cheese and jamon.
Museo del Prado
On our last day, our flight was in the late afternoon, so we decided to visit the Prado Museum in the morning.
This museum is famous for Goya’s work. Great art museum with a variety of artwork, which made it more interesting and fun to walk around in. We got one of the audio tours, which was helpful in understanding the context behind each piece.
We visited Madrid in early September and the weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, late summer weather.
Overall, our Madrid trip was so much fun! It wasn’t too big of a city so a quick weekend trip was perfect to see most things!