Madrid - Around Town : Royal Madrid (part 2) - Shops, Places to Eat and Drink

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A Day in Royal Madrid


Catch the first guided tour of the morning (10:30am) at the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales . On leaving, cross Plaza San Martín to Calle de Hilera, then turn right onto Calle del Arenal. Follow this busy street to Plaza de Isabel II, the best place to admire Madrid’s opera house, the Teatro Real. Follow Calle Felipe V alongside the theatre until you come to Plaza de Oriente and the Palacio Real . The palace is closed at least once a week for official functions but, if it is open, it is worth allocating an hour to looking around.

There are plenty of places to eat in the vicinity of Plaza de Oriente, for example the café of the same name (see Places to Eat and Drink). A plaque on the wall nearby reminds visitors that this was once the treasury house where the artist Velázquez had his studio.


After the frantic activity of the morning, enjoy a restful afternoon in the Casa de Campo park. If you didn’t lunch at a café, a picnic may be a good idea. You could stock up at the Oriente’s delicatessen, just round the corner at Calle Carlos III, 3 (see El Obrador del Café de Oriente). To get to Casa de Campo take the metro from Opera (on Plaza Isabel II) to Lago (line R to Principe Pío, then line 10). Here you can either enjoy a spot of peaceful sunbathing and people watching, or take in one of the many attractions of the park.


  1. La Metralleta

    This large store specializes in second-hand records. Every taste and period is catered for and the staff are both helpful and knowledgeable.

    • Calle del Postigo de San Martín

    La Metralleta
  2. Cántaro

    A treasure trove for admirers of pottery and an excellent place to shop for gifts. Products from all over Spain at very reasonable prices.

    • Calle Flor Baja 8

  3. Antigua Casa Talavera

    If you’ve been bowled over by the 18th-century Talavera ceramics in the Palacio Real, you’ll find that the modern descendants of these craftsmen have not lost their touch. This outlet offers a wide range of hand-painted jugs, plates, mugs and more.

    • Calle de Isabel La Católica 2

  4. Manuel González Contreras

    Good guitars don’t come cheap and there’s usually a long waiting list for a handmade instrument. This workshop may already have what you are looking for.

    • Calle Mayor 80

  5. El Flamenco Vive

    This family business specializes in all things Flamenco, from beautiful dresses to guitars, CDs, music and videos.

    • Calle Conde de Lemos 7

    El Flamenco Vive
  6. El Obrador del Café de Oriente

    If you’re planning a picnic in the Sabatini Gardens or further afield, the delicatessen of the Café del Oriente has everything you need, from fresh bread and filled rolls to cheeses, cooked meats and cakes.

    • Calle de Carlos III, 3

  7. 8 y Medio

    Located in the centre of Madrid’s main cinema district, this shop is a treasure house for film buffs, with books, posters, postcards and more.

    • Calle de Martín de los Heros 11

  8. Kukuxumusu

    This design company started as three friends selling T-shirts on the streets of Pamplona during the 1989 Sanfermines fiesta. The bright graphics proved hugely popular, and Kukuxumusu now sells their products throughout Europe.

    • Calle Mayor 47

  9. El Riojano

    Founded in 1855, this pretty, old-style pastelería caters for the Spanish royal family, no less. Shop here for seasonal Madrid specialities such as tocino de cielo.

    • Calle Mayor 10

  10. Toni Martín

    Fans of country music, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll take note. This excellent outlet has a great selection of CDs and vinyl, new and second hand.

    • Calle de Martín de los Heros 18

Places to Eat and Drink

  1. Chocolatería San Ginés

    Head here after a night out for a traditional breakfast of chocolate con churros.

    • Pasadizo de S Ginés 5

    • 91 365 6546

    • Open 9:30am–7am daily

    • No credit cards

  2. Taberna del Alabardero

    Snack on jamón Ibérico or croquetas in the tapas bar or eat Basque food in the adjoining restaurant.

    • Calle de Felipe V, 6

    • 91 547 2577

  3. Casa Ciriaco

    Try classic dishes like the dessert bizcocho borracho (“cross-eyed drunk” sponge cake soaked in wine and syrup).

    • Calle Mayor 84

    • 91 548 0620

    • Closed Wed, Aug

  4. Café de Oriente

    An elegant café with velvet seats, stucco ceiling and summer terrace.

    • Plaza de Oriente 2

    • 91 541 3974

  5. Entre Suspiro y Suspiro

    Tasty Mexican dishes include “devil salad” with prawns, mango, coriander and chicken in chocolate sauce (mole).

    • Calle de Caños del Peral 3

    • 91 542 0644

    • Closed Sat L, Sun, 2nd week Aug

  6. La Bola

    Cocido (various meats cooked in a rich broth) is the highlight at this 19th-century restaurant.

    • Calle de la Bola 5

    • 91 547 6930

    • Closed Sun D; Jul- Aug: Sat D, Sun

    • No credit cards

  7. La Vaca Argentina

    One of a chain of steak houses specializing in grilled beef straight from the pampas. Can be noisy.

    • Calle de Caños de Peral 2

    • 91 541 3318

  8. El Cangrejero

    This bar has a good choice of seafood tapas. Mahou beer originally came from the factory next door.

    • Calle de Amaniel 25

    • 91 548 3935

    • Closed Sun D, Wed, Aug

    • No credit cards

  9. Entrevinos

    The international wine list runs to more than 200 varieties. Speciality snacks include habas (salted broad beans) with jamón Ibérico.

    • Calle de Ferraz 36

    • 91 548 3114

    • Closed Aug

  10. Taberna del Buen Suceso

    Located close to the Parque del Oeste and the pleasant outdoor terraces of Pintor Rosales, this restaurant is well-known for its meaty fare such as chorizo (spicy sausage) cooked in wine.

    • Calle del Buen Suceso 24

    • 91 547 30 38

    • Closed Sun, Aug

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