Restaurants and cuisine of Madrid
Restaurants and cuisine of Madrid
Travelling to the cities and countries, whose language we don’t speak and whose culture is a secret we all want to reveal. We’re often dissatisfied with the places where we have lunches or snacks. It often happens for trivial reasons:
- We find it difficult to understand what dishes are offered in the restaurants and cafes, even despite the accompanying color photographs and detailed descriptions.
• The waiter or bartender often looks at you suspiciously and unbelievingly after realizing we’re tourists (they think that our service can become burdensome), which doesn’t contribute to enjoying the lunch.
• We don’t want to waste money for the food we may not like and leave on the plate.
• We don’t know the restaurant customs of this country and are afraid to show our awkwardness or seem rude.
We can tell you much more reasons why many of us can pull the plug on tasting the national dishes, stop looking for the restaurant and eat in the first American Cafe with hamburgers and French fries. But if you still want to enjoy the Spanish cuisine during your trip to the capital of Spain, you should note the following.
- Working hours of the restaurant.
Almost all restaurants of Madrid and the whole Spain open for lunch at about 2 p.m and close after 4 p.m. Later, they open again for dinner at around 9 p.m and work to the last client.
- “Menu of the day”
Most restaurant offer you the menu in a nice leather folder. The first thing you see when you open it is a plain sheet, called “menu of the day” (“menú del día”). This menu usually consists of two or three first dishes, two or three second courses, several desserts, wine or water and bread. Below you can find a reasonable price for lunch. Instead of looking at the following luxury sheets of the permanent restaurant menu with its expensive dishes, read the menu of the day. Maybe, you will prefer one first, one second course and one dessert and a bottle of homemade wine or water, and have a good lunch without overpaying. The menu of the day is created rather for the Spaniards who have to eat in the city than for the tourists. Therefore, it offers the most typical dishes, beloved by the Spaniards who used to eat these delicacies them since childhood.
If you don’t need the comfortable and peaceful restaurant atmosphere for dinner, almost any bar will please you with the dishes, called “servings” (“raciones”) in Spain. They are usually chalked on the blackboard inside the restaurant or at the entrance. It includes fried potatoes with spiced tomato sauce and grilled “chorizo”, champignons with garlic and ham, chicken wings, deep-fried calamari, and even paella and hearty dishes with beans and meat. Such servings are cheap and very filling.
- Sandwich with calamari.
If you find yourself in the center of Madrid, you should know that many cafes in this area are famous for the specialties – sandwich with calamari (“bocadillo de calamares”). You can see the image of this delicious sandwich on public signs and doors of almost all restaurants and cafes in this part of town, and not trying it means to miss something important. One sandwich with calamari is enough to have a snack and move on. Moreover, you will be offered other sandwiches (for example, with “tortilla”, tuna and canned pepper, chicken and salad, anchovies- there are too many things to list).
Using our advices, you will save money on lunches and learn a lot about Spanish cuisine and will long tell your friends at home about your successful trip to Madrid!