I had visited Barcelona in 2012 and absolutely loved it so when I planned a trip back to Spain in 2013, I was excited to visit the country’s capital. Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the third largest city in the European Union. This lively city is filled with culture and of course some of the BEST food I’ve eaten!
Alright, so let’s talk food. Whenever I travel I always try to eat at one restaurant that serves traditional food and one upscale restaurant to see how they modernize traditional cuisine. I surely was not disappointed in any of the restaurants I tried in Madrid.
The first night I ate at Le Cabrera Cocktail and Gastrobar. I’m always a fan of gastropubs because the atmosphere is fun and I like eating small plates in order to try more dishes (I can never decide what I want to eat off of a menu because I want it all). We sat at the bar, even though there are tables, and sure enough we were the first people to arrive (Spanish people tend to eat dinner very late).
Till this day I still have dreams about the mini burgers at Le Cabrera! Everything about this restaurant was excellent for me from the ambience, the food, and the service (8/10).
The next day, Tommaso and I wanted to try some authentic Spanish food so we headed down to La Barraca (7-7.5/10).
Ok, I live in Italy and I eat a lot of amazing cured meats from prosciutto to pancetta to culatello to speck but hands down Spain knows how to do cured meat. You have not lived until you have tried jamón ibérico. This ham is the king of all cured meats and nothing can ever come close to it. The best quality of this ham comes from pigs that only graze on acorns which gives the meat a deep nutty flavor. Jamón ibérico has the perfect balance between sweetness, nuttiness, and saltiness with fat that literally melts in your mouth. The only problem is that it’s damn expensive. However, you must try it once in your lifetime.
On our third and final night in Madrid, we decided to dine at Sergi Arola Gastro, a two Michelin star restaurant.
Wow, what a splendid dining experience we had here (8.5/10). Every dish was elegantly presented and the flavors were spot on. My favorite dishes were the sole fish and the rabbit. The sole fish was moist and paired beautifully with the earthy mushrooms. The rabbit was cooked to perfection; tender meat accompanied with flavorful rice. All the little details from the mini savory and dessert tapas to perfectly cooked meat and fish to impeccable service made our dinner a night to remember in vibrant Madrid.