Madrid – Eating and relaxing…

A typical cafe with relaxing Madrilenos - (people from Madrid) - across from the Prado Museum

Today I will focus on food. I actually wish I remembered to take more photos…but, hey, I was hungry after all that walking and sightseeing and just taking it all in…!

Food in Spain is NOT like Mexico. There are no tacos, or anything else I can think of that sounds like burritos, enchiladas, tostadas…nope, their food is more ham (jamon), beef, seafood, vegetables, breads, potatoes and desert…also lots of parts of animals and fish that I didn’t want to try…eck.

Since you know I love chocolate, from previous posts...the Chocolateria San Gines was an absolute favorite

The Chocolateria San Gines…I love the name Chocolateria…imagine a cafe dedicated to chocolate…WOW…I LOVE Spain! It was at this cafe, seated on the little alleyway, watching people go by and dipping our crispy, sugary churros into what they call chocolate pudding…that I fell in love….with chocolate yet again…

I could have sat there all day. The narrow alleyways are cool and shaded…people pass by…and then there is the chocolate…mmmm…

Churros and chocolate...OLE'...!

 I never would have found this place if it wasn’t for the book store along the main street (Calle) del Arenal. It is on a little cut through between Calle del Arenal and Calle Mayor. The other reason I wanted to find it was because it was recommended in Rick Steves’ guidebook “Madrid and Toledo”.   

It was worth it.

I’m a bit mad at myself for missing Plaza Mayor. It was right there…phoey…now we have to go back to Madrid! Plaza Mayor is a bit different from others…this one is sort of enclosed by shops. I wanted to see it. Oh well… 

Seems like eating is a major part of the day in Madrid. The hours are much different from the United States.

The adorable bookstore that caught my eye

They eat breakfast around 9 a.m., lunch at 2 p.m., tapas (snacks) around 6 p.m. and dinner at 9 p.m. Many found it very strange that we would go from 6 p.m. at night to early morning without eating…however, they go the same 12 hours between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. I couldn’t get used to eating that late. We mostly had tapas for dinner.

Breakfast at the Hotel Lope de Vega was expensive and Continental style…so we found VIPS…said as one word, not V.I.P.s. They are all over the place and offer a Spanish version of American food. The jamon (ham) was always good, as were the eggs or sausage, but I found their bacon undercooked and fatty. They serve breakfast until about noon. The waiters could speak reasonable English, but they smiled and really liked our attempts at Spanish…ha, ha!

VIPS Restaurants are all over Madrid

VIPS are open long hours and have half of their stores devoted to convenience items…ATM…books…batteries…snacks and drinks, etc…anything a traveler or worker might need quickly.

Los Gatos (the cats) a crazy tapas place

Los Gatos, recommended by Eyewhitness Travel Book – “Top 10 Madrid…looked crazy. We only peaked in. It is small, packed with people during tapas time and has all kinds of strange items all over the walls…and it is crowned by a large chrystal chandelier. Los Gatos was only a block from our hotel. Passed it often…intended to go in…and just never did…darn it…

Hotel Europa Cafeteria - Cheesecake with chocolate

We had a nice tapa style dinner at the outside Cafeteria at Hotel Europa. It is on the main pedestrian street heading up to El Corte Ingles department store. It is also on the corner of Puerto del Sol (plaza). We grabbed a table near the railing for a great view of the passerby in the plaza and walkway. Wonderful people watching. We had meatballs in a sauce with vegetables and fritos (fried) potatoes (basically French fries) and this lovely creamy cheesecake for desert.
We stopped for a quick drink at El Corte Ingles department store. We get a kick out of visiting large historic stores like this all over, such as Harrud’s in London, or Macy’s in NYC and I can’t remember the name of the one in Paris. We order a Coke light (diet) and tried to figure out how to ask what was in a frozen drink machine. Our waiter didn’t know English and our Spanish was so terrible he couldn’t figure out what we wanted to know. Finally, we looked up words in our electronic translator…I love that thing…tried a short sentence…and found out it was frozen lemonade. Wow, it is gratifying when you finally get it right.
Note the name of the cafe…El Rincon (corner) Cafe!

Rick is sipping a Coke light in El Corte Ingles (English Court) department store - at the Corner (Rincon) Cafe

I collect Pandora beads for a bracelet. El Corte Ingles had very nice Viceroy beads…I bought an adorable blue fish! I wanted a bull, but they didn’t have one.

Del Cafe de Oriente - By the Palace

The Cafe de Oriente is great for people watching and cooling off near the palace. We sat there for about five minutes…until we read the menu. The selections combined with the prices didn’t work for us. Maybe you have to have royal blood to eat there…little steep for us.

Yup - It is a Burger King...

Sandwiched between lovely old architecture is a….yup…you guessed it…Burger King.
No we did not enter…who do you think we are…?
However, it was available for an emergency need for a hamburger…HA! Somehow we survived.
Food and sharing food is life for the Spanish and we enjoyed all the varius places we chose.
Other than one surly waiter at the Hotel Europa Cafe…all were pleasant and understanding of our trouble with the language.
If the churros and chocolate didn’t have you running for some chocolate…I’ll bet you are hungry or thirsty now…!
Relax…enjoy your food and those who share it with you…
Sandie Parrott
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4 Responses to Madrid – Eating and relaxing…

  1. Nancy Willis says:

    Hi Sandie,

    Wow, chocolate in Spain, I’d think more France, but what do I know. You are the world traveler and I am enjoying your posts tremendously from my sick bed! Bravo!

  2. TC Conner says:

    I have no excuse for not visiting sooner. You have permission to punish me however you see fit.

    Welcome home!

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