03-05-2011 11:03:01

Let's go eating tapas around Madrid with Juana Martinez!

 Spain is internationally famous for its tradition of tapas. And Madrid is undoubtedly the capital of party and tasty tapas. Madrid's sky is the limit!

By J. Martinez (Murcia)-Translation Tiphaine Loiseau (California)

When you come to think about Madrid, many things come to your mind, like when you visit any big city. But in this case, we think about Madrid's big museums (the Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofía... and many others), and, of course, about the delightful strolls around the neighbourhood of Las Letras, the Plaza Mayor, the wine shops and the magnificent Madrid of the 17th century, or the multicultural Lavapiés and Embajadores neighbourhoods and their ethnic diversity. We can also give a nod to the football players who are the gods of the Santiago Bernabéu and the Vicente Calderon stadiums that you must see, whether you are Real Madrid or an Atlético Madrid supporter.

However, what some people, including me, love most about the Spanish capital, is this passion for tapas. I come from the land of paella (next time I will write a special article about Valencia and its delicious rice dishes), but I am always happy to go to Madrid and find this range of tapas, which encompasses all the national gastronomy.

Spain is obviously famous around the globe for its tapas tradition. However, some regions practice it more than others: slightly in the North, and ardently in the South East (cities like Murcia and Granada are highly representative of this tapas tradition). The incredible thing about Madrid is that, despite being a major city, it has not embraced fast food style. Unlike other big European cities, Madrid has not lost its identity, although this is what happens in this globalized world. Madrid has kept its essential feature, and the whole country is reflected in this very city. So we wanted to recommend you some of these places with identity, which make Madrid so attractive to people, including those who are not interested in other things the capital has to offer.

We started our stroll on a Saturday morning. We found an amazing place next to our hotel, called "La Marisquería del 79", a typical place of the neighborhood in Calle Vallehermoso n°79, where you can eat cheap quality seafood. The highlight of the torero decoration is a picture of José Tomas, a matador from Madrid, who is said to be a regular customer. The meal of the day was interesting and we chose (delicious) oysters. The home-made torrezno was not bad either.

After this first step, we walked down to Malasaña. Between Plaza Dos de Mayo and Plaza Juan Pujol, we found "Casa Camacho", in Calle San Andrés n°4. This is a real tavern, the first of our trip. Waiters wear white shirt with dark pants. You can have a vermouth or a beer with galician empanadas, croquetas or toasts. And please don't forget to go to the bathroom, it is quite an experience. If there was not a plasma TV screen, you could think that you have travelled to another time.

On our way downtown, we passed by Calle Colón, where we found a second bodega, "La bodega de Ardosa", which must date back to the same time as "Casa Camacho", because of its aspect. A lovely waitress described us the tapas being served, and we then drank a delicious Czech beer. We were stunned by the remarkable quality of the varied and diverse tapas; the liver toasts with cranberry were just amazing! As for smokers, they can eat their tapas on a barrel in the street.

With the strength that we had left, we walked to Antón Martín. In Calle Ave María, in the vicinity of Lavapiés, we found "Bodega Alfaro". We had another round of vermouth and we enjoyed, this time, smoked sardine toasts. We even tasted a proper local salmorejo. Manuel, a waiter from Jerez, was very pleasant to us. This red and wood-colored tavern is lovely, and let's not forget to mention bullfighting decoration. In Calle Alfaro, we met up with a friend from Granada and his Italian girlfriend. We decided to have more appetizers with them, and as they live in Madrid, they took us to another nice place, "La Venecia", in Calle Echegaray n°17, in front of the English hotel. There was no vermouth or beer, so we relished a fine andalucian wine.

What happened next is my business, but let me assure you that you will have fun if you follow the route I have just given to you. So enjoy!

I want to thank the two physicists Javier Molina and Miguel Ibáñez, for their collaboration and for accompanying me in this journey. During our adventure, we could chat about quantum physics and many other things!



Fotos Disfruta Madrid.



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