Eating in Madrid
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Ahoy there, sailor! The Spain posts are nearly over (weep), and whilst it may seem strange to post about sunny Madrid in this suddenly chilly November we're having, it's nice to let a little sunshine in. And these foodie spots are places you can hit up and enjoy all year round, so it seems selfish not to share really. This post includes my favourite place to eat in Spain, a strange Madrid delicacy and a famed churro haunt. It's going to be a wild one, can't you tell? Tuck in!
Let's start with a weird must-eat in Madrid. When I was doing a little pre-travel research (yes I do that, yes I'm a nerd) I discovered that Calamari Sandwiches are a must when visiting Spain's capital. And where was the best place to have such a strange sandwich? In the gorgeous Plaza Mayor! A conveniently central spot in the city and great for people watching.
So after working up an appetite on another of Sandemans Free Walking tours we sat down in one of Plaza Mayor's eateries. Nearly every restaurant sells calamari sandwiches so the choice is endless. Just pick your favourite view!
The squid rings are cut thick and only lightly fried. They are quite delicious, but it is still quite a strange experience to eat squid in a sub. Remember to ask if you want (or don't!) lemon and mayonnaise! Calamari sandwiches make for a unique and affordable lunch if you're in the market for squid.
NOW listen up! This is the place if you're looking for a foodie hotspot for lunch or dinner. By far my favourite place I ate in Spain and definitely up there in my top food experiences. Welcome to Mercado De San Miguel.
A beautiful, light, airy structure housing innovative, delicious fresh food stalls.
It functions as both a (pretty darn fancy) grocery store for locals and an amazing place to have lunch or dinner as the Market houses both fresh food and prepared tapas and items ready to eat.
There is pretty much everything you could ever hope for.
(Just LOOK at these meringue cupcakes)
To fresh pasta...
To boxes and boxes of nuts...
To fish stalls...
And an oyster stall, obviously... And so much more!
You can either grab a seat with your favourite pickings or graze your way around the market. We opted for the latter, for maximum people watching and food-consuming opportunities.
Grab a drink and have a wander!
Along with wines and spirits of course there is San Miguel to grab!
We nibbled our way around the market and I took pictures of unsuspecting strangers as per usual.
Incredible, strong manchego. Delissssh!
Would be rude not to try the olives...
J even braved Gulas made from Surimi, which uses only the most nutritious parts of white fish like Alaskan Pollock. Looks a bit creepy, but was surprisingly tasty!
After we'd eaten our fill, I steered us toward one of the bars to sample the local vermut.
I went for a dry vermut, whilst J opted for the sweet.
I'm a very serious sipper, you know.
That is, until I get over excited about how delicious my drink is. An incredibly warming drink, it perked me up no end!
After we'd eaten our way around Mercado de San Miguel we agreed it was only right to sample one of Spain's delicacies: churros. With a little research I found that San Gines was the place to go in Madrid for churros. And I do not need to be told twice on matters of chocolate.
We ordered at the bar and then my handsome chap and I took a seat outside and waited (and dribbled a little) in anticipation.
The churros arrived with two mugs of sweet, molten chocolate. We were crazy excited to start dipping and enjoying this Spanish treat.
Sadly, these churros didn't really tickle our pickles. We'd been dreaming of sweet, sugared, warm tubes of joy. Maybe topped with a little cinnamon. However these churros were unsweetened and a little crunchy, kinda like a tubular Yorkshire Pudding. Perhaps this is just how they do in Madrid but I have a sweet tooth to satisfy!
If you don't have a big sweet tooth, then these might be right up your street, but if you're expecting warm sugary delights like I was, you could miss San Gines and spend your money on the treats of Mercado de San Miguel.
The chocolate though, was spot on. And I could've happily had another mug.
I returned from Spain a little chubbier around the edges, as you can imagine. But it was all soo worth it. I love diving into a culture, fork first. And I think we might just have room for one more Madrid blog. Keep your eyes peeled for my favourite moments in Madrid!