Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Madrid

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...
Acquafredda
Owned by Madrid's principal Italian restaurateur, Ignazi Deias, Acquafredda is a 'multiespacios' which offers the chance for both eat-in, take-away, and plain-and-simple pleasurable browsing. Bookings are a must at dinner.
Al Norte
A mouthwatering a la carte menu celebrates Northern Spanish cuisine with flair - there is even a romantic menu for couples and highbrow debating sessions known as ‰ÛÏtertulias‰Û on Monday nights.
Botin
Typical Castillian food includes gazpacho, suckling pig and a delicious cream tart made with a sweet biscuit base, egg meringue and pastel cream.
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.
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.
Casa Carola
For those in search of traditional Madrileno cocido"
Casa Lucio
Casa Lucio has garnered a reputation for outstanding Spanish cuisine - even prompting the poet Rabal to pen a ditty about its scrambled eggs! Try the salmorejo (a thick gazpacho with grated ham) followed by a bonito (barely seared, delicate tuna).
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.
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.
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.
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.
El Jardin Secreto
El Paraguas
A highly regarded restaurant with real Asturian cuisine, and a touch of French too, in the exquisite Salamanca district.  
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.
Entre Tapas Y Vinos
Modern minimalist interiors and seating arrangements encourage a quick meal. The lunch and dinner menus consist of combination tapas, toasted baguettes and more substantial fish and meat dishes.
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.
Hakkasan
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.
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.
Iroco
There's nothing particularly marking out this restaurant from the rest; nonetheless, it has become the place to be seen, and is therefore popular.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
La Tasquita de Enfrente
Chef Juanjo López’s La Tasquita de Enfrente is a popular restaurant in the Malasaña district offering contemporary Spanish cuisine.
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.
Larios Cafe
Cuban restaurant, bar, club and lounge rolled into one, with ultrachic, New-York style furnishings, Larios Cafe is a great place to sip a mojito any time of the day.
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.
Le Dragon
A menu crammed with traditional Chinese favourites prepared in a lighter way, and beautiful interior design adherent to feng shui. A beautiful place worthy of the attention of Salamanca's beautiful people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Matilda
The most feminine restaurant in Madrid, Matilda is decorated with Robert Garver photos and fresh aromatic flowers on every table. A fusion menu has spicy Cajun sirloin steak (solomillo) and an exquisite coconut shrimp dish.
Negro de Anglona
A labyrinthine venue with a fascinating history; the tunnel which houses Negro de Anglona was once a passage for adulterous royalty to move around the city undetected. After a delectable glass in the Moët bar, enjoy Italian cuisine downstairs.

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