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Old 10-13-2014, 08:56 AM   #1
tricepilot OP
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Tapas Bars of Madrid

On an Iberia Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Madrid a few months ago, I chatted up the fine looking flight attendant (sorry, no pics of her) and in the conversation I ask where she's from. Right there in Madrid, she says. So I get around to asking her about tapas bars. I had been to Madrid before and had gone to several of amazing tapas places, and I wanted her opinion.

Tapas means "tops" and tapas get the name going way back from the tradition of placing a coaster on top of your glass to keep the fruit flies away from your wine. Restaurants started placing different arrangements of little foodie bites on these tapas coasters and it caught on. To "tapear" (verb) means to go out with your buds and drink wine and enjoy all kinds of small servings of different foods. To "tapear" usually means going from place to place.

If you're going into Barcelona and renting from IMT Bike or if you're just heading into Madrid itself, I scanned her notes and here they are:





I'd be interested if any ADV peeps have been to any of these places and what their thoughts are on them.

I was in Barcelona last year and if I had these notes, I would have caught the train over to Madrid just to revisit Madrid and hit some of these places up.

Alas, I fell in love with Barcelona so just as well I stayed there and soaked it all in.

Enjoy.

tricepilot screwed with this post 10-13-2014 at 09:05 AM
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:23 PM   #2
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It seems to me that the competition for customers is so stiff that almost any Tapas bar there is worthwhile. Any place without too large a crowd. My last stay was near the Atocha rail station. We picked a different one each meal, mostly between there & the Plaza Mayor & Puerto del Sol. You can't go wrong most anywhere. Some real nice ones in the food market attached to Plaza Mayor, trendy & sometimes very busy, but always a first class selection.

Just remember their Siesta hours may dictate unusual opening (to us) hours for cafes & restaurants. Most bars operate 23.5 hours, needing a mandated half hour closure for cleaning.

If there on a Sunday, the Rastro market is well worth visiting. Listed as the largest flea market in Europe. Can't remember the exact location on the north (uphill) side of the multi-street market, but we ran into a pickled everything specialty shop that kept us coming back for days.

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Old 10-14-2014, 01:29 PM   #3
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #4
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It's very hard to go wrong with Tapas in Madrid - or, indeed, in most of Spain. Plaza Mayor and Sol are the touristy areas but even there, it's still good but, for me, the real joy of Tapas is just wandering around, getting hungry, popping in somewhere for a small beer and a plate and then sauntering on and Madrid's great for that.

BTW - the flights between Madrid and Barcelona aren't all that expensive, a lot easier/quicker than the train.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
BTW - the flights between Madrid and Barcelona aren't all that expensive, a lot easier/quicker than the train.
I could have flown between Paris and Marseilles last year but took the TGV instead. 1,000 time better than flying: you can sit and have a drink and watch the coutryside go by - and actually see it. Same plot applies between Barcelona and Madrid.

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Old 10-16-2014, 03:21 PM   #6
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OP your post brings back fond memories of a week I spent in Madrid a few years ago. The tapas were great everywhere I went, and so was most all the food. Many of the "tapas bars" had good food and drink and great atmosphere. I loved going out late at night after a nice siesta and seeing the city vital and alive. I am sure that someone more a "gourmet" than I could make a specific recommendation, but I'd just follow that flight attendant's advice- I doubt she led you astray and you will likely have a VERY good time! If these are her favorite places, maybe you might even get to see her again....
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
It's very hard to go wrong with Tapas in Madrid - or, indeed, in most of Spain. Plaza Mayor and Sol are the touristy areas but even there, it's still good but, for me, the real joy of Tapas is just wandering around, getting hungry, popping in somewhere for a small beer and a plate and then sauntering on and Madrid's great for that.

BTW - the flights between Madrid and Barcelona aren't all that expensive, a lot easier/quicker than the train.
I didn't specifically mean IN Plaza Mayor or Puerto del Sol, but the triangle in between there & Atocha. Other than checking out the Royal Palace, El Retiro, the Prado, bike shops, & a day trip to Guadalajara on the train, we mostly wandered that zone. I lived in Madrid for a while in 1970 & wanted to show my travel buddy my old haunts.

BTW, I left Madrid on a 1964 BMW R27 250 single I picked it up from a fellow Canadian. My travel buddy at the time just bought a Ducati 175 & we spent the next 6 months wandering Andalucia.

As far as train travel goes, in Spain that's a great way to get around. Spain is a large country by European standards. I first took an overnighter from Barcelona to Madrid & later regretted it because of all the missed scenery. In 2009 I took my wife on the same route on the high speed train. Major improvement. Getting through to Sevilla was 8 hours. My favourite train route was Algeciras to Ronda.
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flei View Post
....I'd just follow that flight attendant's advice- I doubt she led you astray and you will likely have a VERY good time! If these are her favorite places, maybe you might even get to see her again....
I remain forever very happy with Tricewife, but let me tell you, if I were a single guy I'd still be on a layover in Madrid

Still kicking myself I didn't take a pic She was stunning.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
It's very hard to go wrong with Tapas in Madrid - or, indeed, in most of Spain. Plaza Mayor and Sol are the touristy areas but even there, it's still good but, for me, the real joy of Tapas is just wandering around, getting hungry, popping in somewhere for a small beer and a plate and then sauntering on and Madrid's great for that.
That's how we did it. Spent all day wandering between a few tourist sights, dropping into almost every Tapas bar along the way. Never been dissappointed yet, amazed at many.
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:53 AM   #10
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Hi,
Sorry to arrive late to this thread. I think I can add some info here:

http://www.casalucio.es/en/ho/home.html

http://en.labola.es/

Two of the best places in Madrid, even for locals
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Old 12-03-2014, 03:42 PM   #11
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good choices

She recommended the Bocadillo de calimares - yes, good stuff.

She also recommended Mercada de la Reina and Mercado de San Miguel -- I've been to several of these and liked the concept a lot. When you are out and about, you may not want to sit and rest in an actual restaurant (they are almost ALL tapas places). The Mercados are like what we consider gourmet delis.... the fresh foods of a restaurant, in a deli/package store format.

I've been to Madrid each of last 2 springs... I decided that if I am going to drink, I go into a restaurant (different one every time). If I am not drinking alcohol, I love the mercado style, for the food.

I recommend you get up early (730) and walk Madrid. Bright sunshine and almost nobody on the streets but friendly locals getting started. Easy to walk end to end and across as you might like to wander. Eat with the workers around a breakfast bar (typ. a "half n half" which is a skimpy ham and cheese hero with olive oil, and a beer or two). You can be back to the hotel and do breakfast again at 10 like everyone else, all the wiser of the locale.
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