Madrid’s Hidden Haunts: the capital’s best bars, restaurants and boutiques off the beaten track
Olivia was born in London but moved to Spain at a very young age. Prior to working at Lucas Fox, Olivia was an interior architect, carrying out projects in Barcelona, Madrid, France and India. Olivia joined Lucas Fox in February 2014 where she combines all her acquired skills with her passion for property as the office manager. Here she shares with us some of her favourite hangouts in the city.
Bar Amor, Malasaña
This unpretentious bar and restaurant serves up simple and delicious food to perfection – perfect for post-work drinks or a low-key catch up with friends. Set in a trendy, vibrant area, Bar Amor delivers a dynamic, hip atmosphere whilst remaining super affordable! Wine, tapas and homemade food served with plenty of character and lots of love.
C/Manuela Malasana 22
This terribly “cool” spot (Revoltosa literally means “unruly”) boasts a bustling atmospheric setting with great service and a fantastic terrace for year-round al fresco wining and dining (as well as extensive people watching). A great local tapas bar filled with local Madrileños till late. For the morning after the night before, they serve up a wicked brunch menu.
Plaza del Rey 4
Buenas y Santas, Lavapiés
Set close to the Matadero Arts Centre in the stylish, gritty neighbourhood of Lavapiés, Buenas y Santas specialises in hearty Argentinian fare. The empañadas are delicious and the steak is probably the best in Madrid (while still offering good value for money!). With their extensive wine list and intimate setting, Buenas y Santas is a fantastic spot for a special occasion or a hot date.
Sala de Despiece, Chamberí
This extremely popular establishment is decked out in the stark style of an industrial butchers, serving some of the freshest high quality produce in the city. They don’t take reservations, so I recommend heading down from Monday to Thursday as it gets absolutely packed at weekends with enthusiastic diners from far and wide.
Zombie Bar, Universidad
Dubbed “the best burger joint in Madrid”, this kitsch space exudes retro style, with graphic artwork and interiors inspired by comic book sketches, street art and the laid-back street style of the skateboarding community.
This gorgeous boutique is a heavenly slice of Paris in the heart of Madrid. Selling incredibly chic and simple French fashion, from an array of independent international designers. This is a must stop shop on charming C/Barquillo. I dare you not to be tempted by their lovely creations. Vive la France!
Margarita Se Llama Mi Amor
This recently opened florist is a breath of fresh air, selling a spectacular array of freshly cut and potted flowers. It is hard not to enter the pastel-hued space flooded with natural light and uplifting bursts of colour, filled with intoxicating scents. Their mission is to spread happiness through their enthusiasm and love for impeccably arranged flowers. Oh so lovely!
C/Fernando VI 9
Originally from the UK, Rod moved to Canada when he was 16 to complete a degree in Marketing and went on to work in Retail Management for several years. Prior to moving to Spain 5 years ago, he lived in Cannes on the beautiful French Riviera where he managed a team of sales agents in an international estate agency. Rod now heads up the new Lucas Fox Madrid office, and shares with us his top hotspots in the capital city.
Bon Vivant & Co., Justicia
This trendy café/bar in Justicia attracts an animated crowd of bright young things on most evenings and boasts a cracking gin and tonic. Overlooking the charming plaza, Bon Vivant & Co. is the perfect go-to establishment for a variety of situations, from coffee and cake with ipad in hand to a raucous dinner with friends. The menu is small and simple but extremely fresh and well executed, and the soundtrack is always top notch.
Plaza San Gregorio 8
This unique restaurant is set right in front of the iconic St Miguel market, serving superb tapas using high quality products (without the high prices one would expect from its popular postcode). Their authentic Spanish cuisine nods to traditional Madrileño dishes with a contemporary twist. Don’t miss their “secret garden” bar (though not strictly a garden), where they regularly host a series of live music events.
Plaza San Miguel 8
La Botilleria de Maxi, La Latina
Authentic Spanish and Madrileño dishes in the heart of the La Latina district, which is now much better than the well-known “Botín” that has become fairly touristy. As in most places in Madrid, the service is friendly as the people are naturally inviting and welcoming.
C/Cava Alta 4
Trattoria Pulcinella, Justicia
This is a superb Italian restaurant in the fashionable Justicia area, serving authentic Southern Italian cuisine. Chef Enrico Bosco (originally from Naples) opened Trattoria Pulcinella in 1993, inspired by traditional comforting recipes that make one feel at home. The fresh produce is imported direct from Italy and the setting is welcoming and quintessentially Italian (think vintage photographs of Sofia Loren).
Located in Plaza de Chueca, Palosanto is a fantastic place for people watching outside on the terrace. Superb fusion food with a variety of exotic influences and great, friendly service time and time again.
Plaza Chueca 8