Favorites from Madrid, Sevilla, Granada & Cordoba
My recent trip to Spain was no different than the rest of my family vacations, which have always revolved around food, but this trip was special because we really took to the Spanish way of life by eating two to three hour meals and never having dinner before 10 p.m.
There is so much to love about Spanish cuisine – the sharing of small plates, standing up to eat while socializing and drinking vino tinto (red wine) at the bar with friends and of course, the copious amounts of jamon iberco (cured ham) at every turn.
Ten days in Spain with the heavyweights who are the Andrews family meant thirty solid meals and plenty of snacks and glasses of wine in between, but instead of writing a novel about our trip, I picked out a few of my favorite restaurants in Madrid, Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba. All are absolutely worth checking out if you ever have the good fortune of visting the beautiful country of Espana.
Mercado de San Miguel & Plaza de Santa Ana: The obvious recommendations here, which you will find in every guidebook on Madrid, are the Mercado de San Miguel and the tapas bars surrounding Plaza de Santa Ana (pretty much any of them). Mercado de San Miguel is a good one to try after you’ve already spent a few days learning what the standard tapas dishes of Spain look and taste like. For food lovers, this market has every thing you’d ever want to try.
Mercado de San Miguel:
La Monteria: We got a recommendation from a local for dinner one night, and – go figure – it turned out to be the best meal we had in Madrid. La Monteria is located on the east side of the city near the park and offers a busy and bustling tapas bar as well as a sit down dining room in the back. We knew the meal would be good because we were the only Americans in the place.
We loved everything, but the opportunity to order our own plates of food after a few days of attacking small plates of tapas (which can actually be a bit dangerous with my family) might have made the experience a bit better. I highly recommend the tuna tartare with a wasabi foam, the lobster risotto and the most incredible piping hot balls of fried dark chocolate which were so good we had to order another round. Although I only speak a small amount of Spanglish and our waiter couldn’t understand a word of English, we still had great service and a bill at the end that was only about 40 Euros per person (with wine).
La Monteria - Calle de Lope de Rueda, 35 - 28009 Madrid, Spain
Dos De Mayo: Sevilla was my favorite of the four cities we visited in Spain. A foodie-friend of mine recommended we try Dos de Mayo for lunch and it was so fantastic we went twice. It’s a real authentic Spanish tapas bar filled with locals and very friendly bartenders. The atmosphere always busy and bustling but never too packed to find a table, and it was lit with natural sunlight coming in through the doors, which were kept open to the streets and the plaza. We ordered tons at the bar – this place had the best salmorejo (tomato soup with ham and hard boiled eggs) of the trip – as well as a few rounds of cervezas, and each time the bill was about 15 Euros each. We loved the enormous grilled squid, the goat cheese and honey on toast and the fried sardines.
Gigantic grilled squid:
Dos de Mayo - Plaza de la Gavidia - 6 Sevilla, 41002
La Azotea: Through some divine intervention, while having lunch at Dos de Mayo we met the chef of La Azotea, where we had the best meal(s) of the whole trip (and possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever had). The menu was Spanish, but perhaps inspired by some culinary mastermind who has developed dishes with twists and turns inspired by many different cuisines:
Poached eggs with violet potato foam and shredded iberico ham:
Lamb meatballs in potato puree topped with grape sauce:
Orange cream with mint ice cream and FROZEN GIN:
They have a few locations in Sevilla, and we went to the one located on Jesus del Gran Poder. As always, when we find something we like we stick with it, so we went back for round two the next night and ordered the second side of the menu. And just in case I haven’t sold this place to you yet, the bill never went over 150 euros for all five of us (and plenty of glasses of wine).
La Azotea - Jesus del Gran Poder, 31 - Sevilla
Mirador de Morayma: If you visit Granada, you have to have dinner at Mirador de Morayma – it overlooks the Alhambra (gorgeous at night) and the Sierra Nevada, and has tons of room for outdoor seating. It’s a very romantic restaurant with a garden setting and delicious food. Skip their tasting menu and create your own – I highly recommend the suckling pig and asparagus salad. I think this place was more on the expensive side, but worth it for the killer view.
Mirador de Morayma - Calle del Pianista García Carrillo, 2 - 18010 Granada
El Churrasco: This restaurant in Cordoba was one another one of my favorite meals of the trip. Tucked into a small side street, it is a gorgeous restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere. It was a rainy day and we took shelter here to find large open grills cooking the most incredible cuts of red meat. We ordered a few beers at the bar and after a small wait sat down to a huge plate of tender steak and a bottle of red wine. It was simple and absolutely perfect. If you’re a red meat lover, you can’t miss El Churrasco (25 Euros per person with wine).
El Churrasco - C/ Romero 16 - 14003 Córdoba