Friday, November 19, 2010

TIME OUT: Madrid Spain Part 3: How to stuff yourself in Madrid for 5 days?

Travel guides gave a lot of reasons to be in love with Madrid...from the wonderful architecture of the buildings, their great museums, numerous plaza and garden up to their well-decorated churches...but they forgot what we loved the most about the city...

the delight it gave to HT couple's tummies!!!

Today, I'll be your "Lonely Planet" on the "must-eat" in this city.

If you're on a budget, drop by at this big supermarket at El Corte Ingles and enjoy looking at the chorizos, jamon and rioja wine and buy a few to bring it with you home...

Or make your own tapas in the hotel instead of going get more meat from your euros (3 euros for a big chorizo sausage and 7 euros for a pack of chorizo iberico).

And don't forget to get a bottle of this rioja wine for half the price compared to dining out (12+ euros).  (This rioja wine is pretty good and also available in Carrefour in Singapore - about 40 sgd as far as I can remember)
We didn't have a corkscrew with us but was lucky to bump to a chef in a convenience store who was well-equipped and admired the bottle while opening it.

Paella, a popular rice dish in Spain but not in Madrid as per the travel guides, is still a must-have when you had the opportunity to visit only this city in the country.  Tourist spots would have signs of Paella for a few euros but pay for at least a better quality Paella than just eating a plate of colored rice to keep your money's worth. 

There are a few places where locals go to but if there's only 2 of you dining out, most of these places won't accept you unless you pull a few more people on the street to share the rice with.  I stumbled a blog talking about La Buginvilla.  It was recommended by a Valencian and the restaurant is situated a bit outside from the tourists trap area.  The Paella are charged per person and not per order (typical in Spain) so sharing is not an option.

Paella Mixta ( about 15+ euro per person - a combination of seafood and chicken).  The dish was good and the grains were nicely cooked to its authenticity and not too salty just like how other tourists consistently find paella in Madrid drowned-in-salt tub...but the seafood and a small piece of chicken leg were a bit of disappointment.  I can't blame them as the city is not situated near the coast to provide abundance with its cost.  Still, HT couple took the train back to the hotel...carrying a full load of rice in our stomach...we were happy campers.

After strolling at the El Rastro (flea market) on Sundays, don't forget to drop by at this bar for a
caña of beer (no matter what time is it).  To avoid stomach problem from drinking too early...

Fill up yourselves with...
 Sardines y de pimientos y panLooking at those small fishes, I miss tuyo (dried salty fish) dipped in vinegar and eaten with rice in the Philippines for breakfast.  Spanish version, is grilled and not too salty.  You can munch from head to tail and if you don't fancy eating small bones, just throw it on the floor and you won't be sued nor kicked out as everyone does it anyway.  I was scared of eating the peppers that it might burn my tastebuds but it was cooked until its spicy-ness were gone but the classic taste were retained.  We ordered the media (half racion) but people here eat a full plate and we wouldn't mind eating the same amount too if we didn't just had spanish pastries.

If McDonald's are for the US, Cerveceria 100 Montaditos are for the Madrileños. 

I can't blame them though...1 euro for a Jarra cerveza (a big mug of beer) as long as you order at least 1 montaditos(small sandwich between 1-2 euros per piece) which goes with free potato chips.  That sangria-looking cerveza (alcohol) in a big mug was my water in Madrid.  Tinto de verano is red wine mixed with carbonated water or lemonade (wikipedia) and French people wouldn't like ruining their wines but Spaniards don't care as long as it taste good, they eat or drink it.

from left to right (Anchovies with quezo iberico, jarras cerveza, Pork in tomato sauce with quezo iberico) - we just love that cheese in this montaditos!  And they have a promo of todo los miercoles (every Wednesday), all items are 1 euro each!  I had 3 tinto de verrano in one stretch.  Guess who got drunk?

Another must-have are the gambas.  But do they take note they're not cheap and it won't fill you either.

But you can't leave this country without savoring into gambas al ajillo (8+ euros) sizzled in garlic and olive oil.  We clean up this divine plate using our bread.  No oil traces left.

These langostinos plancha ( 13+ euro for 6 grilled big shrimps though they were small) was a good tapa plate too!

Me enjoying the shrinps and the way locals eat (standing with bar type tables with a glass of wine or beer).

We also love this shrimps place...for their vino tinto dulce. (sweet red wine)...and this one taste like port --- so much sweeter tha normal sweet red wine.

Whew...I got hungry giving these tips.  And that was how we stuff ourselves in Madrid for 5 days.

El Corte Ingles (supermarket) - near Sol Metro
La Buganvilla (paella) - Calle Almagro 12
Bar Santurce (sardines) - Calle de las Amazonas 14
Cerveceria 100 Montaditos (small sandwiches) - all over Madrid (in every corner)
Restaurante La Casa del Abuelo(gambas) - Calle Victoria 12 (and 2 more branches)


  1. I might just might be visiting spain in dec :D

    But i don't know if i'll get to eat all the good eats you recommended since we'll probably be following a tour group- never been to spain before!

  2. Enjoy!!! :) I'm sure the tour would be great as well. Let me know if you stumble into one of the places and do grab a few as its worth it! :) And can't wait for your Spain adventure as mine was only restricted to Madrid.

  3. Despite not being close to the coast, I see that they still have pretty much prawns and fishes in their food eh? haha

  4. Hi Daniel, Spaniards are in love with seafood. Spain itself is surrounded by waters so seafood is pretty available except that in Madrid, you have to pay a heavy load for those prawns and seashells. But the sardines are still manageable. :)

  5. you are sooooooo lucky to be stationed in europe!

  6. That's alot of fooood! I'm hungry already!

  7. @Harris - yeah, that's the only advantage here is i'm able to go around. I still heart Singapore (living wise).

    @Charlene - I know, if I read the posts about Madrid, I can't believe how much i've eaten. Now i'm slowing down a bit here in NL.