Your Go-To Local Like City Guide: Madrid Edition
A big part of Gabfoods’ DNA is traveling and getting to know the world, widening our knowledge, and broadening our horizons. We’ve started compiling some city guides to make sure you can enjoy some of our team’s favorite cities like a local. The starting point had to be our newest home, Madrid. ¡Bienvenidos!
A big part of Gabfoods’ DNA is traveling and getting to know the world, widening our knowledge and broadening our horizons. We’ve starters compiling some city guides to make sure you can enjoy some of
Yes, this is a city guide.
But first, let’s create the atmosphere.
Think about it this way: remember when you were little and spent all year cutting off magazine pictures of your favorite toys, and keeping them in a box for you to write a letter to Santa when the day came? Or how well you tried to behave those weeks prior to opening all your presents, for him to see that you deserved all the gifts you were asking for?
Exactly. That's the vibe we’re looking for. The process starts as soon as you start planning on something exciting. Also, it truly is wonderful for your mental health (you know, the one trying to overcome ten work meetings per week) to have short-term plans to be thrilled about. It can be your escape moment for peace of mind too.
It’s literally better than the gym. Endorphins are multiplying to dance the Macarena when you’re disconnecting and thinking of better days to come.
Unlock the tourist in you.
We’re extending an invitation for you to dream about the trip so that it really becomes the best time in as many possible ways. You’re probably thinking about your list of must-see, and that’s an important part of the trip. Yet, we want to present some of our best-kept secrets for you to enjoy the city like a real local. Spots that can fit your initial agenda, or simply some twists and turns to the spots you were certainly considering visiting.
Are you really asking us why we chose Madrid first? Well, keep reading, and you’ll tell us yourself.
You certainly have heard about the city plenty of times, and you already know your trip should include a hit-up to Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. Even maybe some churros and chocolate on the way to the Palacio Real.
Truth is, the endless city of Madrid has way much more than that to offer. It’s one of these places in which you can find just about everything and anything, where everybody is welcome and everybody fits in.
Give it a twist!
You’re right, Puerta de Alcalá is also a must, and everybody knows that already.
That’s why we want to give you a special perspective for you to get inspired from another standpoint when you visit a capital like Madrid.
Let’s start with the outdoor experience. Madrid is a city that’s best enjoyed outdoors. Going out and breathing some air is the first thing to do when finally letting go of the luggage weight. Who knew our whole closet, which we absolutely need for our three-day trip, would be that heavy.
Now, please, only grab what you need to walk around the city, and let’s start crossing some must-see and get some action.
After you’ve visited Cibeles, La Puerta de Alcalá, and have walked by Calle Fuencarral, we’re taking it from here. The places that will have you feeling like you’ve really experienced Madrid and can go further than a simple “I have been to Madrid” and rather say “I know Madrid”.
There are plenty of unique spots in Madrid that you would hardly find in a city guide and that are way cooler and more impressive than what’s there for everyone to see.
Did they keep this all a secret?
You’ve heard, and of course walked, in the Malasaña neighborhood. It’s the one you go for fashion inspiration trends or go out to party. Yet, make sure to pay a visit to a statue we especially treasure: “Julia” on 42 Calle Pez.
A young girl who dressed as a boy back in the 19th century with the sole purpose that she could attend college, and fought for other women’s right to study.
This statue holds a beautiful story of overcoming, and fighting to empower knowledge for women. Pretty much like we like to do at Gabfoods, right? Check this interview with Mola Sasa’s founder who could certainly be a warrior student herself.
La Latina is the neighborhood that embodies the “buen rollo” spirit more than any other. Bars, friends gathering around food, and people laughing. There’s a very cool spot you can also visit that’s actually calmer and a very nice spot to have a break or a more meaningful conversation while the buzz still happens next to you. We’re talking about El Jardín del Principe de Anglona. A true gem that’s still a secret to many due to its unique location behind walls.
Parks, Flowers & Greens.
The Retiro glass palace is a wonderful place all year round. Nonetheless, there is an alternative with fewer tourist cameras around, and that is one of our favorite places to have a coffee and just walk around: the Arganzuela greenhouse and crystal palace.
Feeling a little park thirsty after mentioning El Retiro? We feel you. It certainly is an astonishing park to get lost in. Going for a boat ride on a random Sunday is probably an easy topic, but also forever one of our favorite plans too.
And now that we’re on park conversation, here comes the kind of plan that we definitely should start bringing back: park picnics.
Certainly, a favorite plan of ours in any city that has stunning parks, like Madrid, is to organize a picnic gathering. Every so often it’s ok to forget about the non-stop day activities when traveling, and instead, just take a moment to eat at a place surrounded by locals, nature, and birds, with your favorite people and your favorite food.
Picnic sometimes may sound like something you need to prepare in advance and plan the food you’re going to take with you, yet we have the best alternative. Picnic is the perfect time to check out our menus and enjoy our delivery service. Check around for some street numbers, and we’ve got you. An extra tip? Grab your Shagadelic quilt and enjoy the park!
Visually pleasant storefronts with greens are something that hypnotizes and dazzles everyone out. Here you’ll have to trust us: go and pick up some flowers to carry around to boost your mood. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy a few minutes gazing at some flowers. Whatever the situation, check out Floripondios and Columelas. Both places have workshops, flower art, and certainly will have you feeling absolutely lushed.
Shopping or Shipping?
All trips should consider some shopping time. It can be quite revealing to see what people buy and their consumption patterns. Of course, you should visit Calle Serrano’s Zara, the perfect balance between history and vanguard.
Yet, there are also some other shops you should consider. IKB191 is an antiquary with both vintage and contemporary design furniture. The inspiration for your house you needed more than you knew. Wicker, pottery, dried flowers, and wood, all have their meeting point at Ofelia, the slow-life archetype for interior design lovers.
Who’s a fan of concept stores? ‘Cause we are! Make sure to pay a visit to Anclademar, a carefully curated clothing store that’s much more than just inspired by the sea.
Of course, the one non-negotiable shop that should be included in your list is our Gabfoods showroom in Calle Maldonado 37. We’ve gathered our most iconic items, and placed them in a way that will create an all-rounded experience for everyone to enjoy.
Some extra spots that still made the cut:
It is a challenge for us to think about just a few places instead of lashing out a nearly endless list of shops, spots, restaurants, and places to go. So while you’re enjoying the Madrid outdoors, these are some extra unmissable stops you should consider:
A coffee shop that will offer you coffee, beer, and delicious wine.
An old tradition brought back to Madrid: liquor stores in which you could drink standing, or sitting down in one of their wooden benches. In this artisan place, you can take one of their delicate liquors with a homemade cookie or pastry.
All kinds of wine-of the wine you’ve never tasted.
In La Fisna their goal is to find unexpected varieties of wine that are nothing like the ones you’ve tasted before. It’s hard to believe, right? Guess you’ll have to check it for yourself then. Good thing this is like an old tavern with tables in which to taste it.
Casa Ruiz Granel Selecto
Spain is known for its grains. How about getting them raw and in the most sustainable way?
In the Salamanca neighborhood, they have a wide variety of legumes, nuts, cereals, flours, rice, and other products that you will for sure be able to take home despite the strict airport rules. A way better souvenir than the paella magnet we already know about.
Time for a coffee break. Or lunch break. Or even mojito break, who are we to judge?
For everything and anything, for all occasions and timings, here are a few eating and grabbing-a-bite recommendations.
From the north of Spain in Cantabria right to the middle of the Gran Vía in Madrid.
This restaurant keeps the most traditional Spanish food the way our grandmas used to cook it. The most flavorful Spanish plates are gaining value in a classy restaurant like this one, which opens all day from 8 am to midnight.
A restaurant that reflects the luxe in sustainability. In every corner of their brand, from the plates to the space they’re in, they seduce us with their simpleness.
This restaurant is from two famous brothers and cooks in Madrid, who already have a couple of other restaurants with Michelin stars and that bet for a more affordable option keeping the class in everything they offer.
This is the perfect place to decide while you’re in it, what it is that you’re going to use it for.
When you first get in, it could be a cocktail and vermouth bar, or a typical Spanish tavern in which you will be able to taste the most perfect mix between traditional food with a spice of avant-garde cuisine.
The world’s oldest restaurant
Yes, this restaurant is in the Guinness World Records book.
Apart from that, it has of course the most delicious food that has kept recipes from generation over generation. Also, you will hear curiosities such as the well-known Spanish writer Goya used to work there as a waiter when it first opened in 1725.
Let’s go a little more creative and see how these Madrid people do with food from around the world.
This Japanese restaurant in Madrid is listed among the best ones. The traditional Japanese food perfectly fused with Spanish culture, respecting both.
You can try crazy things like gyozas with chistorra or sobrasada, famous Spanish foods. For more deliciousness, you know what to do.
Another one of the foods to try to evaluate if a city knows what they’re about in the cooking matter: Mexican food.
This restaurant is an all-in-one experience, mixing the best Mexican food with the best cocktails from all over the world, always with some Mexican spice. They have dishes that you can only order if all your friends are there because some of their servings are the size of your last three meals.
It's cocktail o’clock! At the end of the day, we’re thinking of the holidays, right?
Right next to La Puerta de Alcalá, this clandestine place offers a sophisticated, intriguing, and mysterious atmosphere in which they first greet you with a “welcome to hell, enjoy your stay”. The whole place and the staging of their employees take inspiration from the well-known Italian poet Dante and his amazing poem “The Divine Comedy”.
This one is on the famous list “The World’s 50 Best Bars” and it’s the best one in Spain ;)
This list is like the bible of bartending, and the fact that this one is in the 19th position is for a reason. Avoid the “let’s go to this cocktail bar around the corner” and trust us on this one.
That’s all folks! How well did we do? We hope the tips will make you enjoy and have an exciting Madrid trip. We certainly enjoyed preparing this list and hope to have you dreaming and planning your next holidays to the beautiful capital.