Madrid, with its picturesque streets, cosy bars and vibrant nightlife, is an ideal location for a romantic getaway. But where should you take your date? From intimate neighbourhood haunts to seriously high-end experiences, discover the best restaurants to impress your date next time you are in Madrid.
Madrid is home to the world’s oldest restaurant, Sobrino de Botín, a wooden-fronted place just off the central Plaza Mayor that dates back to 1725. Unsurprisingly, it is quite a touristy spot, but the atmosphere alone makes it worth a visit. Ernest Hemingway used to write here in the morning before enjoying long lunches with his friends. The speciality is roast suckling pig, so it’s not one for vegetarians, but a romantic destination for carnivores.
Cheese lovers look no further. Poncelet Cheese Bar is dedicated to providing possibly the cheesiest dining experience you have ever had – there are cheeses from around the world showcased on its cheese bar, just choose several from the menu to construct your own bespoke cheese board. Alternatively you could choose a sharing dish (what could be better on a date?!) like a fondue or raclette. And don’t forget to leave room for cheesecake for dessert.
This hip restaurant brings tapas well into the 21st century by fusing it with other world cuisines, creating an interesting menu with everything from mash-your-own guacamole (it comes in a big pestle and mortar) to prawn bao, roasted sea bass and fried green tomatoes. Head downstairs into the restaurant’s cave for a romantic atmosphere; there’s a huge ping-pong table if you want to challenge your date to a game.
You’ll find it hard to walk past the big front windows of this cosy deli/restaurant without wanting to enter; Casa González is a family-run restaurant and bar that has been serving Madrid’s literary neighbourhood of Las Letras since the 1930s. It has a range of excellent Spanish wines by the glass and hot and cold tapas dishes. But where it really shines is its jamón (Spanish cured ham) and local Spanish cheeses. Grab the window seat and settle in for a romantic evening of watching the world go by.
Madrid’s only three Michelin-star restaurant is a good choice if you really want to go all out to impress your foodie date. Chef David Muñoz makes every plate his canvas, showcasing amazing creations that bring a real sense of theatre to the dining experience. If you want to check out similar food but in a more laid-back (and less expensive) setting, head to the restaurant’s ‘street food’ spinoff, Street XO.
Juana La Loca, in the La Latina neighbourhood of Madrid, elevates classic tapas dishes to a new level, bringing creative touches to classics and showcasing new ideas and flavours. There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, too, which is not always the case in Madrid. Juana La Loca is often cited as having the best tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) in Madrid – the huge slices are full of caramelised onions and are a must-try.
Ático, the restaurant perched at the top of the elegant Principal Hotel on Madrid’s Gran Vía, is the brainchild of two Michelin-star chef Ramón Freixa. The Spanish chef has constructed a menu of Spanish classics with little twists that will make your meal an exciting adventure of the senses. The restaurant has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views over Madrid, where you can relax with a cocktail after a day of sightseeing.