From the heart of the Madrid ‘La Movida’ countercultural movement to the trendy neighbourhood it is today, Malasaña has seen some huge changes in the last century. Today, contemporary eateries and chic shops live alongside the traditional bars and markets that have populated the neighbourhood since the dawn of time. It’s also one of the top areas in town for going out thanks to its central location. The graffiti art you’ll find around this neighbourhood hasn’t only been passed over by the city government’s clean-up crews but it’s treated as real art (some works truly are). What’s more, a new restaurant or gastrobar opens nearly every week in the neighbourhood, and most of them now serve Sunday brunch (something relatively new to Spain), offer the latest in gastronomic trends, let you bring your dog along with you, and even provide an indoor space to park your bike.
Casa Macareno isn’t trying to be anything other than itself. The menu is built on classic tapas and snacks honouring traditional Spanish tastes, but there’s always something new and exciting to try. Dishes like fresh fish crudo, tartares and inventive vegetable preparations marry convention and innovation and leave adventurous diners wanting more.
If you’re searching for crisp gin and tonics, personable bartenders and plenty of yummy snacks, look no further than Santamaría. This cosy cocktail bar - with great music and a central location - is a staple for both locals and tourists.
Here in Malasaña's most well-known square is where you'll find local partygoers meeting up regularly (although gone are the days of the free-flowing public drinking, thanks to a greater police presence). All the merriment is presided over by a great fenced-in arch that represents the entrance to the Cuartel de Monteleón: the square is located on the site where the Palacio de Monteleón was built, and was then made into the Parque de Artillería in 1807. This spot was later razed during a battle against French occupation on May 2, 1808.
One of our favourite hotels in Malasaña is the 7 Islas. Its rooms are designed by the Kikekeller firm, one of the most well-known design studios in the neighbourhood. Three of them feature a private terrace with city views, a bathtub or shower, and a yoga kit, as well as artisan rugs by Gan Rugs and therapeutic and natural amenities from Malin + Goetz. A paradise in the centre of Madrid that also boasts its own art gallery and a lobby bar.
If you do just one thing…
You can't leave town without trying the cracking croquettes at La Gastro Croquetería de Chema.