Madrid’s LGBT neighbourhood of Chueca is full of cool shops, bars and restaurants, and is increasingly home to some of the city’s best Italian restaurants. From fine-dining options to restaurants specialising in regional Italian cuisine, the area is a great location whether you’re looking for a fancy night out or a quick and tasty bite to eat.
From new-kid-on-the-block takeaway pasta joints that are really pulling in the crowds to traditional trattorias complete with red and white checked tableclothes, we take a look at some of the best Italian restaurants in Chueca.
Located just around the corner from the popular San Antón food market is Gioia, where chef Davide Bonato offers a fine dining experience, which puts a creative spin on traditional Italian fare. It specialises in rice dishes such as risotto as well as freshly-made pasta. Try the tasting menu (€29 (USD$33.70)), which includes two courses, a dessert or coffee and a welcome glass of prosecco, or try dishes off the menu such as oxtail ravioli with a mushroom sauce, or risotto with red prawns and artichokes.
Close to one of Chueca’s top drag shows at LL Bar and just off the Gran Vía, this laid-back restaurant is a local favourite thanks to its melt-in-the-mouth margheritas and great antipasti options like aubergine parmigiana, as well as its warm and welcoming atmosphere. Head there early to ensure to get a table – it starts to get busy from around 9.30pm. The restaurant’s walls are covered in cartoonish murals, and staff are friendly and quick. Try pasta dishes like a hearty lasagne, which is also available in a vegetarian aubergine and pesto version. Pizzas include the diavola, with spicy chorizo and the ham, and mushroom-filled calzone.
Located close to some of Madrid’s best cocktail bars like Del Diego and Museo Chicote, Fratelli d’Italia (‘Brothers of Italy’) has been serving up artisanal pizzas both in its restaurant and takeaway shop front since it opened its doors in 2010. In the shop, pizzas are served the Roman way – ‘al taglio‘ (by the slice). Just pop into the shop and order a slice to go from the pizzas on display. Head to the restaurant for a more Neapolitan-style thin crust pizza (it has another takeaway pizza place in Lavapiés).
Near the Toni 2 piano bar, this popular local restaurant is named after Italian comedy duo Totò and Peppino De Filippo. The traditional trattoria, with its red and white checked tablecloths and walls covered in photos of the famous acting pair, harks back to classic restaurants of the owners’ home city, Naples. It does a great value fixed-price lunch (if you’re shopping on Gran Vía this is a good option). Try a Neapolitan-style pizza fresh from the wood-fired oven and homemade pasta and meat dishes. A great, homely restaurant for a true taste of Italy.
This cosy restaurant, close to craft cocktail bar Macera, is renowned for its excellent Sardinian-Sicilian cuisine, from antipasti including pane frattau – a traditional Sardinian dish of crisp local bread topped with meat, tomatoes and pecorino cheese – to a range of fresh pasta and meat dishes. Don’t miss a Sicilian canelone for dessert. Where many restaurants stick to the classic pizza-pasta combo, this trattoria takes diners right to the heart of Italy’s islands.
The idea of serving pasta in cones, like ice-cream, might seem strange, but it has well and truly taken off in this popular Chueca restaurant. Located near LL Bar, Il Cono, one of the newest Italian restaurants to open in the area, is pioneering Italian street food – shunning plates for cardboard cones and offering a range of tasty pasta, pizza and antipasti dishes – including some great value fixed menu options. Kids will love it, and it’s a great option whether you’re looking for an informal dining experience or a late night takeaway.
On Chueca’s main street, Hortaleza, Massa Pizza brings traditional Italian restaurants well into the 21st century with a mixture of industrial-chic and classic design. Steel beams and low-hanging light fixtures sit alongside distressed wooden shutters that bring to mind old Italian farmhouses. Its artisanal pizzas – with an aged dough for extra flavour – are blasted in its 300-degree stone oven. Options range from the classic margherita with burrata to the massa (gorgonzola, mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan and spicy pepperoni), through to the mushroom and truffle, and the butifarra (with spicy Catalan sausage).
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