In Madrid, we are quite lucky to have various restaurants that form part of La Musa group. All of them have a nice and modern atmosphere along with tempting tapas, such as the fried green tomatoes, the glazed wild boar with sobrasada and honey and the “bomba” (an impressive potato filled with meat and covered with three delicious sauces). A special mention to their delicious desserts, such as the cheese pie.
La Musa Latina, located in the neighborhood with the same name, in Plaza de la Paja, also serves as a cafeteria. Two of its most attractive qualities are the terrace, perfect for the summer and sunny days, and its big interior room with a decoration completely renovated and eclectic. It’s a combination of industrial elements with traditional pieces, such as the classic iron columns typical of Madrid’s taverns.
La Ardosa is a typical neighborhood establishment. I first got to know it during the interminable nights of the Movida Madrileña, and ever since, a pint of Guinness or PilsnerUrquell, a fantastic salmorejo, and a portion of one of the best Spanish omelettes in the city has been, for me, the perfect treat.
Quality pintxos (Basque tapas) place near El Retiro. Biotza is kind of a posh place (since it is in the neighborhood of Salamanca, in front of the Retiro) offering a selection of more-then-acceptable Basque-style pintxos.
One of the things I like most about this place is that the kitchen is open all day long, so that you can snack something at almost any hour. The place has two floors getting full every single weekend. The upper floor has a bar and is ideal to snack. Downstairs there is a couple of lobbies, it is ideal to go there in groups afterwards.
The Taberna Almendro 13, located in the street with the same name, is without a doubt a must in La Latina. It is a tapas bar, a classic of the area that is always full. This is why it’s worth getting there early in the afternoon and waiting for it to be opened. Once you have tried their “broken” eggs and open sandwiches (the cheese one is my favorite) you will understand why it is always so full. To drink, I recommend the “clara del almendro con mosto” an interesting combination that is quite yummy.
And, of course, you shouldn’t forget to enjoy the atmosphere of the place, which reminds one of a traditional Spanish place. The restaurant has two floors, on the upper one, one has to pick up their food and drinks ordered once the bell sounds: a tradition of olden days that is still in use in this place!
Melos is a veritable institution among foodies, neighborhood locals, hungry students, and travelers. It’s located on one of the steep streets of Madrid’s Lavapies neighborhood and I’d suggest getting there right when it opens, preferably on a weekday night, or else you’ll have trouble even squeezing in the door. So, why is Melos so popular?
Well, for years Melos has been serving up a gargantuan beast of a sandwich called a "zapatilla," which is definitely the biggest sandwich in the city (and probably the country). The "zapatilla" is made of two generous slices of buttered Galician bread (each one about as big as your forearm) and then it’s piled high with layer upon layer of roast pork and tetilla cheese. The final result is a mountain of cheesy, porky, smoky goodness that is a formidable meal for even the hungriest of travelers (seriously…I thought I could handle it but I’d definitely recommend splitting a "zapatilla" between two people at minimum).
The other highlight of Melos are the homemade croquettes. While many croquettes have warmed-over and doughy fillings, these croquettes are filled with molten béchamel sauce flavored with chunks of salty ham, all surrounded by a perfectly crisp exterior. They literally explode in your mouth. I’m not sure they’re the absolute best, but I’d rank them among the top 3 croquettes in the city. Anyways, Melos is about as Madrid as you can get so make sure to stop by for dinner while you’re in Lavapies.