If you only think of Paris, Florence or Rome when you think of European fine dining it’s time to think again. Madrid has emerged as one of the top foodie destinations in the world. From inexpensive local fare at charming eateries to gourmet, word-class restaurants – Madrid’s dining scene has been piling up awards and accolades for years. Whether you’re adventurous enough to order a seaweed lollipop at La Terraza or prefer a more traditional Spanish dish, Madrid is certain to serve exactly what you’re craving. In the spirit of adventure (and because it’s always just a few hours until mealtime) we’ve assembled an inspired list of the 5 best restaurants in Madrid. The next time you’re in Spain, make a point to dine at one (or all) of these culinary gems.
Modern Masterpiece: Biblioteca at the Hotel AC Santo Mauro
Even if you don’t speak Spanish you probably understand that Biblioteca translates to library. This fantastic restaurant is housed in a building which was formerly the library of the Duke of Santo Mauro. Book-lined walls, the original fireplace and rich cherry wood panels have been preserved, offering Biblioteca an air of scholarly distinction. In a perfect fusion of old and new – Biblioteca’s classic design collides deliciously with chef Carlos Posadas’ modern take on traditional Spanish recipes. A small restaurant, Biblioteca can only accommodate about 24 diners at a time, a fact which can be attributed to the square footage dedicated to Biblioteca’s expansive wine cellar. With over 200 worthy bottles and terrace views over the Santo Mauro walled garden, you won’t want to leave – and this is all before the first course arrives! While you’ll certainly want to linger over dinner and share a few bottles of exquisite wine with those closest to you, Biblioteca also offers an exceptional a la carte breakfast – a treat for early risers looking to fill the tank before exploring Madrid.
Get Creative: La Terraza Del Casino
To offer you insight into La Terraza’s culinary pedigree, Ferran Adria is this restaurant’s gastronomic consultant. Ferran Adria is the most influential chef in Spain, serving as head chef of the three Michelin starred El Bulli restaurant – a food-mecca which has earned a global reputation for fantastic innovative eats. At La Terraza diners will enjoy an experimental, cutting-edge menu which will accommodate those seeking comfort food in addition to more adventurous eaters. La Terraza’s head chef, Paco Roncero, is considered Adria’s protege and this two Michelin starred restaurant offers a twenty-three course menu. Try the Kellogg’s paella – a gourmet twist on tradition which integrates inexpensive breakfast food. Combine Rice Krispies, vanilla-infused mashed potatoes and shrimp heads and what you’re left with turns out to be heavenly! Jamie Hayon designed the sophisticated modern interior of la Terraza, but in spite of its adventurous spirit, traditional elegance is preserved here and if you plan to enter the Casino de Madrid (a private club) you’ll need a jacket and tie. La Terraza is a one-of-a-kind dining experience and easily makes our list of the 5 best restaurants in Madrid.
Captivating Catalonian: Sergi Arola Gastro
Though Sergi Arola Gastro is a young restaurant it made waves right out of the gate. Within three years of this eatery’s grand opening it had gained two coveted Michelin stars and with a menu which changes monthly locals and tourists are equally delighted with the offerings. Arola, the owner, operates this Madrid restaurant with Sara Fort, his wife, who also serves as the restaurant’s manager. If you’re planning a unique night out with 12 or fewer friends consider calling well in advance and reserving Sergi Arola Gastro’s private dining room. Here you’ll enjoy a direct view of the kitchen, a separate entrance, private restroom and the most exclusive dining atmosphere you can imagine outside of your own home. We’re willing to bet the food may be a few steps up from Tuesday night dinner.
Elegant Innovation: Indice Restaurant at AC Palacio Del Retiro
Whet your appetite with stunning views over the famous gardens of Retiro Park at Indice Restaurant in Madrid – the epitome of elegance. David Herranz is the head chef at Indice and guests are treated to traditional Mediterranean dishes updated tastefully for a fresh take on old classics. Large windows, colorful art nouveau furniture and caramel colored fabrics create a warm, relaxing atmosphere where diners are invited to enjoy quiet conversation and linger over some of the best food in Madrid.
Bread-Lover’s Dream: Pan De Lujo
Pand De Lujo translates to “luxury bread” and this desirable restaurant, housed in a historic Madrid bread factory amid the bustling shopping haven that is Jorge Juan, rises to earn the fifth spot on our list of the best restaurants in Madrid. The old factory’s facade remains to greet diners, but the interior of Pan De Lujo has been transformed: offering a bold design with patches of exposed brick. A long pool of water and eye-catching glass wall occupy space in the restaurant’s interior – capturing and reflecting the brilliant light from three large light-boxes. Attend at night and you’ll marvel at the illuminated floor – transitioning from one color to another throughout your meal as if the restaurant itself is in tune with the intense flavors captured in each bite. If you’re a lover of fine wines and oils then Pan De Lujo should shoot to the top of your “must visit” list – this eatery offers an extensive collection, proudly on display in glass cabinets throughout the main room. While there are a number of attractive offerings on the menu, we encourage you to try Chef Alberto Chicote’s most famous dish: a glorious rice pudding sandwich which serves as an homage to Pan De Lujo’s bread factory roots.
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Whether you’re visiting Madrid for a day or you plan to get lost here for a week or more – this city’s excellent culinary offerings are waiting to be discovered. Navigate this Spanish gem in comfort when you cruise Madrid’s sun-soaked streets with a rental car from Auto Europe. With our guarantee of the lowest rates in the industry and 24/7, toll-free customer support you can book with confidence and leave the legwork to us. During your next trip to Spain keep your attention where it should be: on enjoying the 5 best restaurants in Madrid!