MADRID has gone through a food revolution since I lived there in the early 1990s when it was literally all about roast suckling pig, pinchos de tortilla and there was just one vegetarian restaurant, near the Retiro.

Today, it has as buzzing a food scene as, say Valencia, or Bilbao.

And, the city counts on the same number of top two Michelin starred restaurants as Barcelona, these days. That is five apiece, which is a little short of amazing.

And, while I love the famous joints like Diverxo, one of Spain’s most creative (and most expensive) restaurants, as well as elegant La Terraza del Casino, with its two Michelin stars, I have been more impressed by the amount of medium priced, good quality joints that have sprung up over the last two years.

Triciclo
CHARMING: Triciclo is in the historic Barrio de las Letras

Easily my favourite of the moment is Triciclo , which is a charming spot  sitting in the heart of historic Barrio de las Letras.

One of four restaurants owned by the same group in the Huertas area, this is my favourite.

The menu changes daily and it rests heavily on good seasonal produce, such as mushrooms, seafood and vegetables.

Tapas_in_the_window_of_a_madrid_restaurant
A selection of tapas in a Madrid display

The leeks from Tudela were spectacular served in a red pesto sauce and with Raf tomatoes, as was the Madrid-style Besuga fish, carefully braised.

The steak tartare was beautifully handled and thanks to sommelier Luis Baselga, who is extremely knowledgeable, we had a wonderful light red from Galicia, Pradio, made from Mencia grapes.

Best of all you can have each dish in full, in half and even in thirds. Genius.

Roostiq
PROPERLY COOL: Roostiq

Properly cool right now is Roostiq that even during the recent pandemic has been busy.

On the edge of trendy Chueca, it is all about dark spaces and moody lighting, plus one of the best wine lists I have seen in the capital. That is, if you love, Burgundy, which I do, as well as Champagne, with well over 20 different bottles apiece.

There are of course some Spanish wines, but the food is very much on a local, farm-fresh tip, with the free range chicken a sure-fire winner, as are the spectacular artichokes.

The kids loved the thin crust pizzas, particularly the black truffle one, while the pork-scratching starter called ‘torreznos’ is the dreamy polar opposite of Veganuary.

Finally, it’s worth trying Kulto if you need to get a dose of the best of Cadiz!

A journey to Zahara de los Atunes this place is the brainchild of chefs Laura Lopez and Jose Fuentes, who opened up in the upmarket Retiro neighbourhood in 2015.

It goes heavy on the best BlueFin tuna money can buy and some great Andaluz albondigas.

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