The Great Escape: Madrid


The Great Escape: Madrid


, , , , ,

(EN) Patricia Mateo is an entrepreneur, marketer, and CEO and founder of some of the most interesting gastronomic projects in Spain in the last decade, including @madrEATMarket, the first street food market/food truck in Spain, and Mateo&Co, a leading consultancy firm in Spain’s culinary scene.

Named one of the 25 most influential people in gastronomy and one of top 50 Women in Gastronomy in Spain by Forbes and Tapas Magazine, Patricia is an entrepreneurial and dynamic leader with over 20 years of experience in food, having led strategic consulting projects for the most renowned chefs and food brands around the world.

What should one do, see, buy, eat and experience if they’re visiting Madrid for the first time?

El Retiro Park

Tapas tour close to Retiro Park. Madrid is for tapas as San Sebastián for pintxos and Retiro Park is our green lung. We hang out here, do sports, or meditate. While the tourists crowds the old quarters of the city (where good tapas are the hardest thing to find), Retiro Park is full of locals. The best bars occupy a couple of streets mainly Calle doctor Castelo starting with Arzabal Taberna where you should try torreznos (pork belly delicious fritters are heaven), go then to La Raquetista for a wine and some croquetas, hang out in La Monte where any dish can be ordered in a tapas size or try a Mollete; also try ensaladilla (potato salad) at Salino. Calle Menorca and Ibiza are also full of beautiful local places. Kulto is the place for tuna in all its forms. If you love wine, try Laredo – his wine list and seafood (gambas plancha or carabineros) are stunning.

In the same area, you can find proper restaurants, many of these bars hide a restaurant behind where you can book a table if you prefer to be seated and served. Some other good restaurants in the area include the Basque Casa Julian de Tolosa, where txuleta classic Basque style is made in open fire. Or Marcano, a small taberna with traditional dishes.

Madrid has some of the finest fish restaurants in Spain. Estimar from former El Bulli chef, Rafa Zafra, has an incredible counter of fish that they prepare in front of you using the plancha, the grill or the oven. Señor Martin has some of the best fish that comes every day from the Galician, Basque and Andalusian coasts. Bistronomika has also an open fire grill and the best fish stews in the city.

Estimar Farza

Madrid also has welcomed some young talent from all over Spain. Many young chefs coming from incredible Michelin restaurants have landed here looking for an opportunity. Comparte Bistro reunites a talented young Andalusian chef with a Parisian Four Seasons alumnus. It’s a cozy, authentic bistro which serves good food bistro-style. Chispa Bistró is recently opened by Brazilian and Argentinian Mugaritz alumni doing a more relaxed young international restaurant. Eter, from the brothers Mario and Sergio Tofe, both in their 20s, has been an incredible revelation. This small place is one of the most complicated places to book right now.

Eter. Image credit: @eter_restaurant

Santerra, run by the young chef Miguel Carretero, has won several awards for his croquetas, considered the best in Spain. There are two tapas counters where croquetas are a must and a gastronomic restaurant where game season is at its best.

Mercados Municipales (local markets) are now crowded with good food. Places where young chefs have found easy and cheaper entrepreneurial platforms to develop their concepts. My favorites would be Tripea from Rober Martínez Foronda, traigalicned in Peru with Micha. Having been in a couple Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, his Latin American fusion with Spanish produce is outstanding.

Spain has been a leading gastronomic destination for decades now. Tell of an exciting new place people have yet to hear about and why we should be flocking there?


Bagá in Jaen, one of the less known Andalusian provinces, is the smallest gastronomic restaurant I know. Just three tables and a Michelin star with an open kitchen not bigger that a food truck. Pedro Sanchez is a 40 years old revelation and Bagá is one of the most wanted places in Spain. Culler de Pau, with two Michelin stars in Galicia, is a must with one of the most elegant food I know. Delicacy, km zero produce, amazing Galician seafood treated with a conscious creativity where less is more.

In Madrid, where do chefs hang out? Their not-so-secret haunts and places where they just hang their hats?

Arima Basque Bastronomy, having incredible success for almost a decade, says it is a Basque modern restaurant but has an international soul. You can have a turbot like in Elkano in Getaria but also an incredible lobster roll or a taco de morcilla to die for.

Another small bistro where foodies and chefs hang out is Taberna Verdejo. Marián Reguera makes the best Escabeches in town, coquelet or tuna escabeche are a must. Also classic stews or game season are top here.

La Tasqueria is our very own St John. This is offal Spanish-style and Madrid is the epicenter of it. Tripes stew “callos a la madrileña” are the best you can find. But also the confit piglet head (deep fried completely) is a delicacy.

Sacha has been rocking the madrileña scene since the 70s. A favorite of big chefs, Sacha is a character himself and so his food. Sea urchin lasagna is a must, or tortilla vaga and open omelet with chorizo and piparras. But if Sacha is in the house, let him do your menu.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and
recieve notifications of new posts by email.