In Chueca, restaurants are open late, in some areas you'll find a mix of tapas, tacos and burgers, and in some places you can't even get a table unless you book in advance. The decor is just as important as the cusine, and there's such a wide variety to choose from, you won't have trouble finding something you love. It's the perfect area in Madrid to go out for dinner and have drinks afterwards. A bit of advice: the farther you go from Plaza de Chueca, the more affordable your bill will be at the end of the meal.
At /M (called 'Barra M'), the chef at Tiradito & Pisco Bar, Omar Malpartida, directs from a distance and thanks to a well-trained team and top-notch products this space that's more informal than Tiradito. Malpartida compacts his creativity and Peruvian roots (and derivatives) into a palatable sampling of tapas and light meals that everyone up for exotic flavours and fusion cuisine will enjoy. You might find a couple of types of ceviche and even Asian gyozas and baos but also other more traditional options such as braised chicken and osobuco stew, which are meant to be shared dishes.
If Diego Guerrero's name is attached to a project, it's a sure hit. Trained in the kitches of Martín Berasategui, Guerrero earned two Michelin stars for his work at El Club Allard. In 2014 he took a chance and opened his own restaurant, and it took just a couple of years to be awarded two Michelin stars for DSTAgE as well. Alonso Martínez is the neighbourhood where he decided to set down new roots with an industrial aesthetic, including exposed-brick walls, metallic pipes, and a kitchen at the back that diners have a view into.
This second establishment opened by the Grupo DeLuz & Cía in Madrid (La Carmencita was the first), is sure to hit the mark if you're going out in search of tapas and small plates to share. A designer tavern that's appeared in culinary magazines as well fashion and interior design/decorating publications, and where reservations are highly recommended the closer you get to the weekend. The menu is the size of a British tabloid, and boasts about 80 dishes. It's impossible not to find something you'll want to sink your teeth into. Everything we tried on our visit was tasty, cooked to perfection, fresh and in decent portions – from the typically Spanish canned delicacies (very meaty anchovies) to the Cantabrian steak tacos, the fried calamari starter or the scrumptious desserts.
If you're into organic food, you no longer have an excuse to avoid hamburgers. The meat and the bread used for buns at Home Burger Bar are organic, and all the packaging materials are recyclable. Don't pass up their gourmet burgers like the Blue Burger or the Caprichosa. They've also got a kids' menu as well as options for vegetarians and some really nice sandwiches.
This is a space dedicated but not limited to the universe of dim sum – steamed, grilled, fried... You choose your filling from an extensive catalog with photos and descriptions. You'll find a diverse crowd, which does include Chinese diners, but also residents of the Chueca neighbourhood and tourists passing by or staying in the centre. There's an informal ambience, simple decor and functional furniture. Xialong bao, ha kao, shaomi, baozi... learn new concepts while you enjoy these appetising treats, from the one-taste stuffings to little intense explosions of flavour on offer. If that doesn't seem enough to you, they've also got Peking duck, ramen, rice and more.
Get a taste of Galicia right here in Madrid. How about some diced razorfish served in its own sauce, or splendid mussels subtly marinated, and cockles perfectly prepared on a bed of lime? These start off the tasting menu called 'Dame de comer'. You can eat your weight in molluscs, one of the identifying characteristics of this resolute, urbanite seafood restaurant. What you get here is an informal restaurant with first-rate ingredients going into the dishes. There's a bar area in the dining area (as well as the Almacén, a space in the bottom floor reserved for private events with friends), decor of wood and white walls, ceramic cutlery with an air of the Japanese, a covered display of fresh shellfish, a lively ambience, wonderfully friendly service, and a big banquet table which is the star of the room, but perhaps a bit too tight of a squeeze.
Film-set traditional, from the bullfight posters and Andalucían ceramics to the old-school tapas and unsmiling, white-jacketed waiters. If you're famous, though, they'll grin for the camera, just as they did with Pedro, Hugh and Mark Knopfler. The photos on the wall are proof.
The kitchen, where Miguel Ángel Valdiviezo runs the show, is sober, and the service is attentive and pleasant – you might need to ask the wait staff for help understanding a few of the ingredients. This is one of those places where selfishly you want them never to run out of customers, but it's also not a place that gets a lot of word-of-mouth promotion. The attractive creations are fruit of a respect for tradition while at the same time they evolve by taking daring steps in cooking as well as presentation. The menu has its own classics but also surprises every season with new recommendations, especially since it changed locations to a modern venue in Chueca with exquisite decor.
Yes, the restaurant bears the name of that well-know district in Berlin. What's inside surprises, even though it's a nod to the artistic element of the German city. It's impossible to tear yourself away from the collection of graffiti art and paintings in brilliant chromatic ranges. As for the cuisine, they start with the most traditional recipes and then take a turn with signature, eclectic touches. That translates into Madrid-style tripe brioche, unexpected 'chistorra' sausage and truffle croquettes, crispy pig's ear pressed with 'mole poblano' sauce, gyozas stuffed with 'cocido' meat and hummus... In the expert hands of Gonzalo Calzadilla, and via his three tasting menus, gastronomy of other latitudes come together with Spanish cuisine in search of new flavours, different textures – all served in showy presentations.
Here's an eatery that does things its own way, with loads of respect for the food but a distinct lack of the kinds of decorations you might have come to expect from Japanese restaurants. And they don't have just one set-lunch menu, but nine to choose from, from the house menu to a tempura-based one or a one where teriyaki don is featured. Everything is served with rice, miso soup, salad, a drink and coffee (from 1pm to 4pm). Those behind the now-closed Samurai restaurant opened this bar and restaurant with an eye on details, both culinary and interior design. Head over and try the scallops, Japanese butterfish or sake mojito.