Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Madrid

Celso y Manolo
A contemporary tapas joint in Madrid’s Justicia area, Celso y Manolo has a neighbourhood vibe and a prodigious selection of delicious, creative dishes.
Mama Campo
Found in the Plaza de Olavide area, Mama Campo encompasses a restaurant, a cantina, a shop and a space devoted to encouraging kids to eat healthily.
OTTO Madrid
At once a lounge, terrace, bar and restaurant, OTTO Madrid is a chic place to refuel in the Spanish capital’s fashionable Salamanca district.
La Tasquita de Enfrente
Chef Juanjo López’s La Tasquita de Enfrente is a popular restaurant in the Malasaña district offering contemporary Spanish cuisine.
Olsen
Thai Gardens
This is as authentic a Thai as you'll get in Madrid, and it has both its lush garden and the excellent service to commend it.
Laydown
Hake steaks marinated in lime juice or succulent ribbon fish go down perfectly between sips of an amazing list of stimulating cocktails. Look out for troupes of belly dancers who come out on certain Las Mil y Una Noches theme nights.
Finos y Finas
The food at Finos y Finas is delicious and fabulously presented, though the décor is a little too clinical. Frequented by people in the know.
La Finca de Susana
With a wonderfully cheap lunch menu, speedy service and elegant surroundings, the team behind La Finca de Susana have hit on a winning formula. Unsurprisingly, the atmosphere is buzzing - and a short wait for a table is common.
La Isla del Tesoro
Vegetarian house specials such as boletus mushroom raviolis or mojito sorbet are not to be missed. An amole wine list includes many organic labels and some surprising gems, such as a 2000 Barranc dels Closos from Priorat.
La Mordida
Stuffed with trinkets harking to Mexico at La Mordida, the chef's collection of street fighting masks sit proudly on display along the downstairs stairwell. Traditional cocktails are prepared by expert waitresses and food is very reasonably priced.
El Estragon
Bienvenido Alarcón is head chef at El Estragon Vegetariano (Vegetarian Tarragon), where paella is cooked to perfection without meat or fish, using white couscous or basmati, organic or integral rice.
Lhardy
Super luxurious piece of old-school elegance. On the ground floor and bar area, traditional tapas are served, and the second floor houses an elegant dining room with chandeliers, mirrored walls, antique display cases and 17th century oil paintings.
Madrilia
Madrilia provides high-quality Italian cuisine suitable for either a light lunch or a romantic dinner. Any of the pasta from the mains are recommended, with the chef particularly noted for the magret duck tagliatelle with vegetables.
Ottocento
Ottocento is yet more proof of Checua's rise as the epicentre of all things cool in the city. Expect Italian-Argentine fusion on the menu, but some very questionable cheesy Italian-themed music as a backdrop to your meal.
Cluny
Just off the thronging Plaza Santa Ana, this understated tasca has put the spice in Spanish cuisine. Sample the edible flowers salad with mushrooms and vanilla dressing or the succulent and tasty Basque Kokotxas (hake steaks).
Dilola
Best visited during the evening when it's less crowded, Dilola provides the ideal romantic setting for a no-fuss dinner date or intimate group dinner. The nouvelle Italian cuisine includes olive oil and green pepper flavoured sorbet.
Home Burger Bar
Hamburgers? In Madrid? Surely not. Unlikely though it may seem, this American diner-style restaurant is the most popular kid on the block, with the whole of Madrid flocking to sample its perfectly crisp chips and all-organic burgers.
Nina
This restaurant is definitely more Manhattan than Malasaña - though the street it is on is gradually becoming more up-market. The venue attracts a relaxed and affluent crowd who come to enjoy the large selection of Mediterranean dishes on offer.
La Musa
The first of Madrid's restaurants to make bare, red-brick decor a vanguard fashion statement, replacing the wine tavern classics. Try the charcoal-flavoured partridge with crispy pig's ears.
19 Sushi Bar
Despite its location, Madrid abounds in excellent fish, and 19 Sushi Bar is no exception. In addition, this stylish restaurant is just minutes from the bustle of Gran Vìa...
La Chantarella
Inventive combinations such as couscous with foie gras or a surprising egg dish cooked with Emmental cheese make this one of the city's favourite eateries.
El Chaflan
Most famous for its cheese board, this restaurant's nondescript location belies its excellence. A large, double-glazed window allows diners to see exactly what goes on in the kitchen - fascinating, albeit distractingly so.
Jellyfish
In an area already buzzing with fashion-friendly bars and restaurants, it takes something special to make its mark on the Chueca scene. With quirky decor, a sound menu and great weekend party, Jellyfish Cafe has certainly succeeded.
Le Marquis
The food may be so-so, but the decor sets Le Marquis apart - nowhere else in Madrid will you find a chair trussed up in a corset. Fetishism needs darkness to thrive, so definitely a dinner-only option.
Luna Mulata
A sophisticated, multi-use space. Head chef Inés Montiel has gone for fresh and imaginative creations, such as pineapple shrimp rolls or duck magret with mango.
La Piazzetta
La Piazetta and La Dolce Piazetta are two new top-notch Italian eateries situated amidst the perennial buzz of the Plaza Chueca. One is a smart restaurant; the other caters to the sweet tooth.
Kikuyu
This chic contemporary restaurant located on the edge of the Chueca uses atmospheric candles, good background music and a delightful small, private garden to woo its fashionable clients. Make sure to book at weekends.
Korgui
A lovely lunch spot by day; in the evening, the cocktail bar comes into its own. Outside on a private terrace with chic black awnings and chRome metal chairs, they serve medium-sized pincho dishes, fusing Mediterranean, Mexican and Japanese tapas.
Toma
Owned by an American, its brunch is especially popular and thus oversubscribed. However, Toma would also be perfect for a romantic dinner for two, given its low lighting and magnificent view of the Conde Duque cultural centre.
Brasserie de Lista
Popular with business people at lunch time and more intimate for evening pintxos, this bistro's specials are grilled meats and oven-roasted fish, with a good selection of wines and beers to accompany both meat and fish. French slant.
Champagneria Gala
Set on a narrow and quiet alley near Plaza del Sol, the bright dining room is lined with white-washed trellises, giving the illusion that you're dining on an outside patio of a Spanish villa on a sunny day.
El Jardin Secreto
Nicolas
Fashion for men and women at Nicolas.
La Viuda Blanca
The vibe here is relaxed; informal waitresses crack jokes whilst still providing a punctual service. A light lunch menu offers three courses of small dishes such as breadfruit stuffed with goats' cheese.
Indochina
Mixing recipes from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, dishes include house specials, oxtail stew with bitter hot sauce, Thai noodle pasta with almonds and shrimp, and green Papaya salad drizzled with cashew sauce.
Botin
Typical Castillian food includes gazpacho, suckling pig and a delicious cream tart made with a sweet biscuit base, egg meringue and pastel cream.
Entre Suspiro Y Suspiro
The menu offers expertly prepared fish dishes such as salted cod (bacalhao) or grouper (mero) as well as seasonal mushroom dishes and spicy tiger prawns. Try the house vuelve a la vida (back to life) which mixes all of the above in chilli sauce.
Café Oliver
Cafe Oliver serves straight Italian, Moroccan, French and Spanish dishes without being too experimental and losing simple flavours. Main courses offer juicy entrecote steaks with Sant Marceliny sauce and a selection of wholesome salads.
TAO
Tao is one of the most exclusive sushi and tepanyaki restaurants in the city and is surrounded by luxury hotels, major banks and smart office blocks on the Paseo de la Castellana. Fortunately, the wine list is also comprehensive.

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