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Our picks: Madrid

Cuca Bali

Over the years we have shared countless times with Cuca’s customers our favourite restaurants from every city we know. The truth is that people in search of the tastiest food from around the world seem to trust chefs’ picks when choosing food, and since everyone asks our humble opinion, we have decided to start a proper “Our Picks” section where we give you our recommendations on where and what to eat. Go ahead, try for yourself and share these lists as you please, but just because we may help you find a new favourite, please don’t forget about your first love, Cuca!

It is indeed the capital of Spain and by far the capital of deliciousness within the country. You will find great restaurants everywhere in Spain, but Madrid has a huge concentration of brilliant places to eat and a unique opportunity to experience traditional food from all over the country. For its variety and consistently delicious food, there is nowhere else like Madrid!

San Gines
A must for breakfast, this place serves the best hot chocolate and churros in the world since 1894. Just across from the main entrance and the big queue of people waiting, there is also a second store. Same product, same taste without the wait.
Price: $
What to order: Of course Hot Chocolate and Churros. Do try the Porra; it is bigger and thicker than a churro with a slight yeasty taste, our favorite.

La Mallorquina
This place serves basically cakes, pastry and coffee. The main difference is many of the items they serve are their own creation and the rest of Spain now calls them “a tradition”. Hustle in through the small doors into the cramped space filled with sugar-crazed zombies. Watch how others order and follow the organized chaos to sweet deliciousness.
Price: $
What to order: The one and only Napolitana de Chocolate.

Pasteleria Mallorca
Brilliant breakfast venue or if you are just looking for a snack between meals. Service is crispy and professional and the whole experience is superb. It is truly a high-class coffee shop that serves well-crafted food.
Price: $
What to order: Tortel. Visually a badly made bagel and really nothing special but ironically one of the best pastries we have ever eaten. Don’t judge a book by its cover here. The Tortel is a wonderful fine soft almond paste wrapped in flaky soft bread pastry.

Las Tortillas de Gabino
The Spanish tortilla in Spain is a big deal. Everyone has their favorite and the dish has become its own religion with people all worshipping a different standard. Some like it runny, some overcooked, some more potato, some less. We have tried them all but the ones served here are different, delicious and worth worshipping.
Price: $$$
What to order: The classic Valazqueña. The portions are big so don’t get too excited.

La Tasquería
Listen, we don’t love eating liver, kidney, hearts and weird bits but…there are exceptions. This place crafts absolutely delicious luxurious dishes from these less glamorous parts. Unexpected, unrivaled. It hooked a Michelin star for how well things are done.
Price: $$$
What to order: Try the #heart #duck # raspberry dish. Best version of duck you will ever try.

La Barraca
This place specializes in rice dishes like Paella. They are perfection and masters at it and have been serving traditional rice for more than 80 years. Nothing modern or trendy here and that’s what we love about it.
Price: $$$$
What to order: Queen shellfish Paella. Get them to put it right on the table and not serve it up for you in the back. The experience of eating right out of the hot pan is magical.

Casa Lucio
Open since November of 1974 this place serves hearty portions of perfect prepared traditional Spanish cuisine. Not much has changed over the past 50 years here and many of the dishes still remain from their original menu. Quit simply put…a trip to Madrid without stopping to devour the deeply delicious nostalgic dishes of Casa Lucio is unthinkable!
Price: $$$
What to order: huevos rotos (broken eggs), Chuleta de ternera or any beef cut is incredible.

Gofio
With one Michelin star this was the best meal we ate in Madrid and that’s saying a tone. Surprisingly bold powerful flavors are packed into wonderfully unique dishes that play off the traditional food of Spain’s Canary Islands. Where tasting menus today seem to be long drawn out occasions of forgettable mouthfuls this place is not! Undiscovered and still flying under the radar this is one hell of a meal.
Price: $$$$
What to order: Menu Canariedad Maxima

La Bien Aparecida
Traditional grandma style comfort food with brilliant seasonal products, this restaurant showcases some of Spain’s classic dishes done very very well. Slick simple modern dining room provides the space to enjoy the best of what’s in season.
Price: $$$$$
What to order: Our favorites are the Flores de alcachofas con migas de rabo de toro (artichokes with oxtail), the egg croquettes (their specialty and a must to try!) and their steak tartar with mustard ice cream.

Pazo Coruña
This is a Galician restaurant and Galicia is world famous for seafood. A grown-up establishment that serves extraordinary fresh seafood cooked perfectly. What you order is what you get, no surprises, no messing about. Old school proper cooking that everyone would love to have in any city.
Price: $$$$
What to order: A star of the menu is the Merluza a la Gallega. Order some appetizers like clams, mussels or grilled squid to start and then the merluza for main. Order only one portion to share between two unless you’re a Viking!

La Huerta de Tudela
Where age-old tradition and timeless cooking is devoured in clean and modern comfort. Out of dozens and dozens of proper meals eaten in Madrid, this was the most delicious, period. What else can be said?
Price: $$$$
What to order: With their own vegetable garden, ironically, the star of the menu are the veggie dishes. The Potato Duquesa may be the best dish we have ever eaten. Seriously!

La Tasquita de Enfrente 
Spain’s timeless classics are honoured and lifted using the absolute best seasonal products. The food is very simple but reflects purely on the quality of each ingredient. Service is incredible and the entire experience with only a few tables for the restaurant is like dining in the chef’s home.
Price: $$$$
What to order: Take the tasting menu and be careful with ordering the “specials” that are not listed, the price may surprise you…