It had been a minute since my last visit to Madrid. And by minute I mean a good, long 25 years or so. That’s right, I was an actual child the last time I was in the capital city of Spain, and, I will admit, what I thought I remembered about it, was definitely a memory of a different place. My childhood memory of Madrid involved a small, dusty town where I remember buying a pink hairbrush (that I’d kept up until it broke just a few years ago) but upon my recent return–thanks to a press trip with the amazing team of Osborne Desde 1772–I found myself in a big and beautiful city that was definitely not dusty at all. In fact, Madrid is very clean.
Lucky for me, the press visit with Osborne involved not a whole lot beyond going around to different places to eat and drink (my favourite things to do!) and with an extended weekend stay in Madrid after our whirlwind tour around the country (more on that coming soon!), I had a few extra days to explore and see what else the city had to offer. In case you’re on your way to beautiful Madrid (lucky you!) here are some of the gorgeous (and delicious!) food and drink spots I discovered thanks to Osborne, as well as on my own.
Keep reading for 7 hot spots in Madrid to visit for some of the best food, drinks and rooftop views!
Zahara de Osborne
Zahara de Osborne was the first restaurant we visited once we landed in Madrid, so naturally it was the first to come to mind for this list. As you might have gathered from the name of this hot spot, it is a restaurant that’s part of the Osborne Desde 1772 group. What does that mean exactly? Well, you are guaranteed to be able to drink anything form the Osborne portfolio which is pretty damn exciting! At Zahara we were treated to an endless stream of delicious tapas (my favourite was the plate of fried baby squids!) along with a wine tasting of their range Solaz wines. Unfortunately if you happen to live in Toronto (or Ontario in general) like I do, the only Solaz wine you’ll be able to get your hands on at the LCBO is the Solaz Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon so if you find yourself at Zahara, be sure to explore their full offering that includes crisp whites and even a yummy rose!
La Cocina de San Anton
(image via Wine Mag)
If you’re travelling to Madrid and looking into some of the top places to visit, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about (or been told to go to) the San Miguel Market. And for good reason, because it’s freaking amazing. But, let me totally honest here, even though it’s beautiful and it truly is a must-visit spot when you’re there, the place is busy af and always is. Personally, I much preferred hanging out at San Anton Market which is a smaller and cooler (at least IMO) market located in the city’s gay neighbourhood called Chueca. I loved this market so much that I visited twice, two nights in a row. The first night was for the final dinner with the press group at La Cocina de San Anton which is the rooftop restaurant located on top of the market. Not only is the decor amazing and the food delicious, but it’s a great way to see the city too. Bonus: At La Cocina de San Anton and its rooftop bar, you’ll also have access to the full Osborne range including everything from their Montecillo Wines to their new NORDES Gin (it’s INCREDIBLE) and selection top shelf brandy.
Once the press visit ended and my brother arrived to hang out with me for a weekend in Madrid, we dedicated our days to, well, walking around, eating and drinking. While out one night, we ended up having drinks on a patio with some friends just across from this restaurant. I was instantly struck by the name, Shanghai Mama, and its vibrant decor–it looked so cool! We immediately made plans to visit for lunch the next day. While I wouldn’t describe Shanghai Mama’s menu as completely ‘asian fusion’ there are definitely some stand-out items on the menu that are anything but traditional. For example, the xiaolongbao filled with mushrooms and foie or the xiaolongbao filled with meat and black truffle. If it sounds different, they certainly were and totally worth the try.
Ginger at Hostal Persal
Drinking beer and wine in Spain is as dirt cheap as it is in most of Europe, but I was a little surprised to find that cocktail prices could get a little pricey. There was definitely no shortage of cocktail bars in Madrid, but what we found was that most cocktail menus offered popular concoctions from the late nineties and early noughties (think Sex On The Beach, Cosmopolitans and Long Island Iced Tea) that wee still priced at double or triple what you would spend on the average glass of wine. Still, on a hot day in Spain an Aperol Spritz (or a Gin & Tonic which are now all the rage) might call your name, and it can be hard to resist shelling out the extra money to indulge. My brother and I were surprised to find that one of the best and most affordable Aperol Spritz cocktails that we had while in Madrid (and we had quite a few, mind you) was on the patio of Hostal Persal‘s restaurant called Ginger. We actually ended up at Ginger because we weren’t able to get up to the rooftop pool of Hotel ME (which admittedly was a bummer) but were very happy to enjoy the great drinks at Ginger instead, which is just around the corner.
I could go on about how much I love Spain and Madrid for ages (I really could) but two of the things I love most are: 1. The fact that everything, everywhere is beautifully designed, and 2. That everything is still totally affordable, even when it’s in a gorgeous setting. Take, for example, the El Imparcial restaurant where we dined with a few of my brother’s friends who happen to be ballet dancers in the city. This restaurant is STUNNING from top to bottom and, at first glance, had me worried that I’d be maxing out my credit card to pay for our dinner. But, to be honest, it was one of our most affordable meals of the trip with everyone at the table paying just 25 euros each for everything we had which included a bottle of wine for the table, shared apps and an entree each. Not bad, right?
Cinco Jotas Restaurant
Cinco Jotas is another beautiful restaurant that we were treated to during our press trip with Osborne. It is located in an upscale area of Madrid with streets that are lined with high-end fashion boutiques. Cinco Jotas is Osborne’s brand of Iberico Ham that melts in your mouth like butter and is so valuable I honestly believe it could become a new form of currency in Spain. If you decide to splurge on a truly fabulous dinner in Madrid one night, book your table at Cinco Jotas restaurant.
If you’re staying in and around the centre of Madrid, the good news is that the city is very walkable. In fact, walking (it seemed to me) is more convenient and just as fast as taking an Uber thanks to all of its teeny tiny streets that make it impossible for cars to get around. But walking around when you’re on vacation (and in no rush) is really the best, isn’t it? Because that’s when you get have to stumble across and wander into any and every local business you want to. Gran Clavel was another gem we found while on a late night walk, and couldn’t wait to get back to for a late night cocktail. This place is like stepping back in time, except you feel like you’re in a modern version of an episode of Mad Men. Needless to say, the decor is amazing and they know how to make a mean martini.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)