Neighborhood bars are scattered throughout the various districts of Madrid. We’re talking about the old bars of Madrid which are spread all over our neighborhood since time inmemorial.  Places of Tapas and Wine in Madrid we flocked to in our student years to savor the cheap grandma’s kitchen menu that was served in the dining room at the back. Now that we are older, we stop once in a while to relish a beer with a free tapa at the bar’s counter hoping, in a stretch of our imagination, that the same waiter who served us when we were young is still there. Homely neighborhood bars with a daily menu ranging from 10 to 13 Euros, which you most likely will not find on Trip Advisor. Chalked blackboards in front of the restaurant proudly announce the menu of the day. Once you are tempted and decide to step in, you will not find a fancy atmosphere devised by a state-of-the-art interior designer. What you will find, lined up on the counter, is the best home cooking you can think of, honest and extremely appetizing:

  • the classic Spanish potato omelette (with or without onions),
  • yummy potatoes with alioli sauce,
  • a strip of loin on crusty bread prepared by an artist of the grill,
  • mom’s finger licking good Russian salad.

And, if you are not in a hurry dear traveler, give it a try and walk into the dining room at the back and enjoy the menu of the day. Today, there are lentils, grilled veal fillet, dessert and, most important, drink and bread included for less than 13 Euros!

Actually, it’s a pleasure to go for tapas and menus in Madrid through its neighbourhood bars.

The time has come to discover some of them in this blog of madrid museum tours:

Bar Leyga. Between  Retiro Park and Prado Museum

In Madrid Museum Tours we recommend this tapas and menus  bar because it is in one of the most exclusive areas of Madrid. And it’s not expensive. Quite the opposite. Multifaceted clientele. Officials of the Prado Museum, artists, senior managers, office employees and other laborers . Entering Leyga could bring a culture shock to the traveler. It is like going back 50 years in time. The bar is not sophisticated. Neither is the decoration. Many customers. They speak loud and at the same time. There’s a TV on that some people glance without interest. The owners are Javi and Jesus. They take turns to attend quick the parishioners . Everyone seems to have known each other for many years. But every new visitor is welcome. There are no distinctions. Any new client deserves a personalized attention. Neither Jesus nor Javi can speak English. That’s why we’re going to help you. We advise you to order a portion of Spanish Omelette. With onion or without onion, as the client prefers. Leyga’s Spanish tortilla ( tortilla espanola ) is famous throughout the neighborhood. The potatoes alioli is also delicious. His sandwiches of all kinds are highly recommended. You can see how the owners prepare it clean and fast. Few wines, but good ones. At Leyga, they have the habit of serving red wine too cold. So, ask for it like this : ”Un vaso de tinto del tiempo, por favor.” Javi and Jesus know how to throw draft beer well. Of course, this is one of the typical bars of Madrid with a cheap daily menu.

The best time to go to Leyga is between 9 am and 1 pm. Afterwards, it fills up.

The bar is very simple. But Javi and Jesús are excellent professionals. From the old school. The proof is that, either of them, knows how to make one of the best ”carajillos” in Madrid. A well-made carajillo is prepared with coffee, burnt brandy and a few other things.

Traveling friend, do you like local experiences ? If you are near the Prado Museum, go to Bar Leyga and taste its tortilla of potatoes and other nice tapas. And, in case you are fond of coffee, don’t forget to order a carajillo for desert.

Madrid Museum Tours Blog

Taberna J. Blanco. La Latina

1988 was the year of Taberna J. Blanco opening. It is one of the typical classic tapas and menu bars of Madrid. Family atmosphere. Find it at Tabernillas street, away from the routes of tapas and wine in Madrid that have made La Latina famous. The parishioners live in the neighborhood and are “all life clients”. People who don’t go into fashion. Authentic Madrileños. Tolerant, hospitable and enemies of quarrels. Travelers who enter Taberna J. Blanco will breathe an authentic old bars of Madrid atmosphere. Those places of which very few remain.

Entering the tavern is a journey into the past. Walls covered by white tiles, yellowish photos of old years, the dining room in the background with small tables of plaid tablecloths and antique chairs … The daily menu is very affordable. Since inauguration’s year it consists of simple recipes of grandma’s kitchen. In fact, this is like another world, where time has not run out.

On winter nights you have to stand at the bar. Ask for a red wine (there are very good ones) accompanied by delicious homemade meatballs. Or some hearty stew prepared by the owner, Dona Esperanza. In fact, we are at another family bar, where the adjective “homemade” is fully justified.

On summer afternoons, the doors of the bar open wide. A soft breeze impregnates then with peace and friendship the tavern atmosphere. The time has arrived to taste a fresh white wine and the classic bell pepper and bonito salad .

Most visitors know each other. Small groups talk peacefully about “neighborhood issues” or anything else of relative importance. Serious conversations, another time !

Despite this, no traveler will feel like an intruder. AT Taberna J. Blanco hospitality is a natural gift.

Curiously, in front of the tavern, there is the modern headquarter of Ommayau. A center of economic studies. To study ”value investing”, cycle theory, ”block chain” and other essentials of the New Economy. Judging by the look of Taberna J. Blanco’s clients, no one care for what is taught at Ommayau. We hope that it will stay like this for long. And that everybody enjoys for many years the tavern. A true “anti-stress” refuge, where people like to remember those good old times that everyone thinks were better, even if it wasn’t true.

Casa Dani . Barrio de Salamanca

Foodies who like Casa Dani will enjoy 2 attractions in one : The Tapas of Casa Dani and the Market of La Paz. Its iron architecture dates back to the 19th century. A wide range of attractive kiosks for daily shopping: Butchers, fish and fruit shops exhibit quality products only. And more : unisex hairdresser, watchmaker, dry cleaner, shoe shop, floristry and herbalist. The market’s corridors look clean, all the time. Salamanca has the reputation of being a ”rich neighborhood”. True that you can ”do your shopping” in cheaper places. Yet very few ones boast the spectacular architectural framework and cleanliness that exhibits the Mercado de La Paz.

There are 2 Casa Dani bars, located next to each entrance at Ayala and Claudio Coello streets. In 2019 Casa Dani won 2 awards. The Best Bar in Madrid and the Best Spanish Omelette. But, for the founders, the best prize is to witness how customers fill their facilities on daily bases.

The owners are a first and second generation family of vocational workers. And honest. Always focused on satisfying their clientele. It is nice to witness the diligence and sympathy with which they dispatch diners at Casa Dani.

There are many kinds of Tapas, apart from the famous Spanish Omelette. A big variety of sausages, croquettes, pork ear, salads, as well as many more culinary specialties of Madrid…

Around 1 P.M. people begin to stand in line for the menu of the day which it’s served in the small restaurant behind the bar. The price, well, you won’t never believe how cheap it is. In few words, the quality and price of the daily menu, compensates the time spent in the queue.

Foreign visitors have to visit Casa Dani. Apart from making stomach happy, they will attend a typical Spanish life experience. They will see elegant businessmen, shop clerks, workers in blue uniform, neighbors and few tourists taking position at the bar. All united by the sacred cult of honoring Casa Dani’s spectacular Spanish Omelette.

Madrid Museum Tours Blog

Ca Vicente. Chamartin District

A family bar/restaurant located in one of the most expensive areas of Madrid. A 10′ walk from the Real Madrid Stadium. Ca Vicente survives a lifetime in an upper class neighborhood. But, it is also close to 2 hospitals. Among patients, neighbors and workers of all kinds, it has enough clientele to get ahead. The inflow of parishioners begins at breakfast time and reaches its peak at noon, when the dining room opens. It offers the typical daily menu at a reasonable price. Quick service, simple dishes to take away the hunger. Not suitable for refined gourmets. Still, the affable treatment of the owner, confers to Ca Vicente a competitive advantage. His staff doesn’t lag behind. The tasty potato omelette is always served hot. ( How different from other bad menu bars where you get an insipid, cold omelette ).

The Spartan decoration may intimidate inexperienced tourists in neighborhood bars. English is not spoken at the bar either. No problem. You ask for the same thing that people are having around you. It will be very tasty, for sure.

The restaurant’s menu is monotonous. Which is not necessarily negative. The repetition of the recipes assures that rarely will any bad dish come out of the kitchen.

In short, Ca Vicente is the affordable option in a neighborhood of ostentatious restaurants. Here, parishioners get honest good breakfasts, tapas and menus. All served in the classic good neighborhood bar style. Traditional and lifelong. Don’t let it fall.

Bar La Perla Asturiana. Barrio de Salamanca

Walking along Lagasca Street is a pleasure. Exclusive apartment buildings, boutiques with the latest in clothes, shoes, bags and accessories, bars for ”beautiful people”, trendy restaurants, all in all, a street that shines prosperity and ”good vibes”.

But in the number 12 of Lagasca survives a redoubt of past times. La Perla Asturiana has its name printed on white tiles, above the blue door. Aside, a blackboard announces the daily menu. Here we have another bar that hasn’t changed in 50 years. For the main course you can choose today between meatballs, eggs with bacon or fish. A homemade menu, traditional, succulent, for less than 13 Euros. Definitely, thanks to its menu bars, Madrid is the capital of Europe where you can eat the better and cheaper!

Asturian cuisine comes from one of the most beautiful historical regions of Spain. So, it bears an authentic seal of identity. It is not just another Spanish cuisine. It consists of blunt dishes. Many years ago, most Asturians worked in mining, iron and steel. Hard work that required regaining strength through big meals. Nowadays, Asturian food got lighter. Their fish and shellfish has hardly any calories. Asturian cooks have a lot to choose from. The cuisine of Asturias is so rich and diverse. La Perla Asturiana offers a traditional daily menu . This means that its clients will face up the afternoon work with renewed energies. (Those travellers who would like to try avant-garde and expensive Asturian cuisine, should book El Paraguas).

For having lunch at La Perla Asturiana is convenient to book by calling +34 914 31 14 36. When you enter the bar you will see on the right the bar counter, very often, full of clients. In the background, the small restaurant. If you arrive before the opening of the dining room, join the bar counter and point out some of the exposed tapas. To drink, beer, wine or vermouth, just like the locals do. After all, it’s about enjoying an authentic and simple local experience !

Madrid Museum Tours Blog

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