According to the Guinness World Records, Botín is the world’s oldest restaurant, having opened its doors in 1725. The dining rooms retain much of their original decor including azulejos (tiles) and oak beams, and the atmosphere is convivial. Botín is famous for Castilian fare and the house speciality, roast suckling pig.
Chef David Muñoz, who trained at London’s Hakkasan and Nobu, was awarded a third Michelin star in 2013 for his exceptional Spanish–Asian fusion cuisine at DiverXO. There are two tasting menus. The restaurant seats only 30 people so booking is essential. A €125 deposit is required per person and will be refunded from your final bill.
This sleek former outpost of the late Catalan chef Santi Santamaria is one of the city’s finest restaurants (see Santceloni),, with two Michelin stars. The menu features superbly prepared, imaginative dishes, such as kid with roasted pumpkin, black garlic and hazelnuts. Booking is essential.
A Madrid institution, founded in 1839, Lhardy’s upstairs dining rooms are wonderfully intimate and more than an elegant touch with belle époque gilded mirrors, wainscoting, Limoges china and Bohemian crystal. The cooking is Madrileño rather than French and the house speciality is cocido (chickpea stew).
A family restaurant (see Casa Lucio) a meeting point for locals with more than 40 years of history, Casa Lucio is located in the premises of Mesón El Segoviano, where chef Lucio Blázquez began work at the age of 12. Enjoy traditional Spanish dishes made with the best local ingredients – try the delicious egg dish and stews.
Named after the Buñuel film, this cosy modern locale (see Viridiana) is located between Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, and is the life’s work of its inspired and inspiring chef, Abraham García. This is the perfect restaurant for a special occasion: the menu is imaginative, the dishes are exquisitely presented and the wine list is superb.
Named after the long row boats in the Bay of Biscay, where the restaurant has a fishing vessel, Restaurante La Trainera has expanded into a labyrinth of rooms with pine tables and chairs. The menu uses a variety of seafood, not only from the Bay of Biscay, but from Cádiz and the Mediterranean as well. Try the shellfish salad.
Savour award-winning gastronomic tapas at this funky informal establishment (see Estado Puro) run by famed Spanish chef, Paco Roncero. The menu incorporates molecular gastronomy and fusion cuisine to create a medley of sublime flavours and an array of small dishes to mix and match. Try the delicious asparagus tempura.
Imaginative chef Ramón Freixa blends tradition with innovation in his two-star Michelin restaurant. Choose one of the three tasting menus or from the à la carte selection.
With three Michelin stars to his name, Dani García’s tapas bar won’t disappoint. Take a culinary trip around the world with some 80 international dishes and an impressive cellar.
This classic Madrid stew might include pigs’ trotters, beef shank, chicken, sausage, chickpeas and vegetables.
The Castilian countryside is famous for its suckling pig, slow-roasted in a wood-fired oven until the meat is tender and the skin is crispy.
Tripe may not be to everyone’s taste, but try it “Madrid-style”, with chorizo, tomatoes, onions and paprika.
There are many ways of cooking salted cod. Ernest Hemingway relished bacalao al ajoarriero, a cod stew made with tomatoes, peppers and garlic.
Hailing from Andalucía, this famous cold soup’s main ingredients are tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, olive oil, green peppers and vinegar.
Octopus “Galician style” comes in slices on a layer of potato, with a large dose of olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika.
This white bean stew is served piping hot with morcilla (black pudding).
Spider crab is a Basque delicacy served mixed with other seafood in its shell.
Another north country favourite is hake fried in breadcrumbs.
The most famous Spanish rice dish is traditionally cooked with rabbit and chicken, but today it is more common to find seafood variations.