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June 10, 2009
Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

Where to stay. What to eat, see and buy while in Madrid.

Accommodations A. Hotel Orfilia

The Hotel Orfilia is the most understated little gem. Centrally located on a quiet street in the Salamanca neighborhood, it couldn’t be better situated for easy access to great restaurants in the Chueca neighborhood and to the museums further south. It’s all within walking distance, but you get the comfort and luxury of peace and quiet.... full article

Guernica B. Reina Sofia

I studied “Guernica” in art history, and Picasso has always been one of my favorite artists, but I don’t think I could have ever anticipated the rush of emotion that overcame me when I stood in front of the actual painting at the Reina Sofia for the first time, over a decade ago. I lost myself in every inch of this mural that so convincingly... full article

Mushrooms C. El Cisne Azul

This hole-in-the-wall tapas bar/restaurant specializes in mushrooms. I tried two types of mushrooms, porcini with fried egg and shiitake with foie gras — both amazing! While this was one of the dingiest restaurants I dined at, it was also one of my favorites!

Fried Intestines D. El Brillante

Right next to the Reina Sofia, El Brillante may seem like a touristy cafe, but don’t be fooled. Stay away from the tourist trap of the deep fried calamari sandwich and taste some truly good tapas of zarajo (lamb intestines), morcilla (blood sausage), mollejas (sweet bread), patatas bravas (fried potatoes) and more. Both the churros and... full article

Tapas E. Taberna Txakoli

Taberna Txakoli serves Basque tapas, and on Sunday for lunch it was jammed packed. It’s filled with lots of energy and scrumptious treats including the gulas (baby eels) tapas, and a very attractive jamon, Mozzarella and tomato combination, that were delicious!

Huevos Estrellados F. Casa Lucio

Casa Lucio is an institution. Though it’s a heavy tourist spot, the locals cannot deny that the food is really solid. The broken eggs (over potatoes) are a signature that everyone orders.

Fried Eggs with Little Anchovies G. Bocaito

Bocaito’s tapas bar is bustling with energy and delicious tapas, and the restaurant is charming with treats like this broken eggs (fried egg broken up while slightly runny) dish with deep-fried little anchovies. Deep fried little anchovies create a crispy texture that contrast the broken fried egg w/ some green garlic at Bocaito. Delicious!

Bocadillos Jamon de Jabugo H. La Garriga

A friend recommended this as Madrid’s BEST charcuterie shop, and it certainly did not disappoint. In addition to eating Jabugo ham bocadillo with the lunch crowd, I also brought back some Jabugo ham at €129/kg!

Nouvelle Nikuman I. Asiana

I’m not a fan of fusion cuisine, but sometimes that becomes a lame blanket statement. As long as the food is delicious, it shouldn’t make a difference. This Spanish fusion restaurant is hidden within an antique store. This hors d’oeuvre may look like a miniature nikuman (Japanese meat bun), but it’s made with buffala mozzarella and topped with Japanese mushrooms.

Chocolate Apple Tart J. Cacao Sampaka

Spain’s best chocolatier Cacao Sampaka has presence worldwide. The chocolates are good and beautifully packaged for gifting. There’s also a cafe next-door where you can try their desserts.

Cheese K. Poncelet

It’s absolutely wonderful to visit cheese shops that house global varieties with care. There’s a large selection at Poncelet, and the staff are very accomodating in helping customers find a variety of goods to try.

Packaging L. Vincon

Vinçon, located in Salamanca neighborhood, is currently the “it” concept store in Madrid, selling everything from light fixtures to cookware. I loved the check-out counters adorned with rolls of Vinçon’s wrapping paper. It’s good branding, easy access, and aesthetically beautiful.

Clothes M. Bunkha

Bunkha sources a good collection of clothes for both men and women. The Spanish designers are particularly hip and special.