One of the most appreciated aspects of Spain by foreigners, is Spanish cuisine, and with reason. If we just begin to think about the food in the country, it is impossible not to come up with a huge list of incredible dishes: Spanish tortilla with potatoes, serrano ham, paella, gazpacho, croquettes….However the problem faced by many before being able to delve into one of these delicacies, is finding the perfect place in which to try them. For this reason, I will write about my personal favourite places to try the best croquettes in Madrid!
Santerra (C/General Pardiñas, 56)
This restaurant is critically aclaimed to to boast the best croquettes in the world. Smooth and full of flavor, they simply melt in your mouth. Some advice from a local: ask for them in the bar, given that the average price in the restaurant is 60 euros! However, if you get the chance, treat yourself to these taste sensations, you won’t regret it.
Bodega La Ardosa (C/Colón, 13)
With over 100 years of experience, the croquettes in Bodega La Ardosa are simply unequalled. Hence their popularity, the biggest challenge is finding a place to sit down, but believe me; it will be worth your while to wait. Accompany the croquettes with a piece of tortilla and it will be impossible not to return.
Casa Labra (C/Tetuán, 12)
Tied with Bodega La Ardosa, Casa Labra is one of the most emblematic places of the capital and for this reason, one the busiest. Their large sized cod croquettes are a popular specialty. Despite its location (it is situated right in the centre of the city), this place is suitable for all budgets with prices between one and two euros per serving.
Txirimiri (C/Ferraz, 38)
This Basque restaurant has croquettes de boletus, truffle and ham. Perhaps you thought that these were three different types of croquette? Not at all, in fact, it is a mixture of flavours which explode in your mouth which really deserves a try. They have various premises in Madrid, my personal favouite being the one which is located next to Retiro Park (Calle de Ibiza, 25) because it is the perfect destination to relax and refuel after a long walk.
La Gastro (C/del barco, 7)
Last but not least, I recommend this restaurant for its originality. If you still want to experiment with something new after trying croquettes in the previously mentioned places, then this is the perfect place for you. Here you can find croquettes of all forms: pisto (similar to ratatouille) with egg and ham, or with mushrooms and caramelized tomato, of cuttle fish and alioli…in other words, the tapas is to die for!!
¡Hola! After living in Madrid for a few months I have quite a lot of favourite places, but below you can find my top 5. I hope it’s helpful and you try some of them out whilst you’re in Madrid.
1. Parque del Retiro
Sorry to be basic but this is by far my favourite place in Madrid. You can go rowing, visit the book fair (in June), sunbathe and get a glass of sangria at the cafeteria. Rowing there is great value for money and costs around 7€ for 45 minutes. I cannot recommend it enough and it is particularly amazing to watch the sun set there. It’s really easy to get there from the centre too and you can even walk if you’re feeling brave enough.
2. Palacio Real
This is another classic. The architecture and interior design of this palace is really something else. I went 3 times whilst staying in Madrid and have got to say it is one of my favourite places. You can access most of the palace, its gardens and take pictures in front of amazing views. Each room has its own theme and it really is a must-see if you want to try out being a Royal for the day. There is a discount for students too if you book it online in advance too at www.patrimonionacional.es/ and this will make sure that you avoid the extremely long queues for visitors who haven’t booked tickets in advance.
3. LLBar, Chueca
highly recommend this little drag bar. Coming from Manchester which has the
biggest gay night scene in Europe, I really didn’t expect to find much to
compare it with here in Madrid. However, I was wrong. Chueca is a part of the
city which really embraces LGBT culture. This bar has drag queen shows most
nights and really is so fun and a great way to practice your Spanish talking in
the queue or listening to the extremely talented Drag Queens singing and
dancing. The entry is free and the copas (doubles) are good value for money.
4. Purmina Indian Restaurant
This is by
far my favourite place to eat in Madrid. Although not particularly Spanish, it
serves authentic Indian food and is run by local Bangladeshi people who are
extremely friendly. You can personalize each dish to have it as spicy as you
want and the interior design really is to die for. It is a bit further out from
the city centre but it is worth the effort, trust me! It is a bit pricey but
the mains are extremely big so you could always share a main with a friend or
just have a whole dish to yourself! We are all kind of holiday after all ;).
5. Ojalá, Malasaña
café to have brunch at on a Sunday morning is definitely Ojala. It is really
quirky inside (as you can see in the photo) and the food is delicious,
particularly the breakfast menu. All the brews come in tiny little cute tea
cups and the avocado on toast is gorgeous. Go whilst you can! It is in the very
trendy area of Malasaña, which is full of cool restaurants and cafes so you can
go and do a bit of retail therapy in nearby vintage clothes shops after a
There are many easy and interactive ways to make language learning a fun process. Below are some different ways to help you learn Spanish without having to sit at a desk!
1. Spotify and Spanish podcasts
Spotify doesn’t just have to be a tool for listening to your favorite music artists. Why not listen to podcasts in Spanish? Put the playlist on whilst you are walking to meet a friend or whilst you are cleaning your room. Repetition is key when learning a language, listening to a podcast everyday will improve your listening skills and expose you to more vocabulary and show you grammar structures being used.
I would personally recommend the Español Automatico podcast on Spotify with Karo Matrinez. Her ethos is to learn a language is full immersion; her podcasts discuss typically Spanish phrases and also discuss tricky grammar concepts like the subjunctive case. She also creates transcripts of the podcasts so students also read what is being said.
This website and app is ideal for learning new vocabulary. You can create your own study sets using the vocab your Inhispania teachers give you in class, or you can use sets created by other Spanish students. The app helps you to learn new words using a variety of settings: mini-tests, games or flashcards. You can also use it for phrases that you want to learn, like Spanish idioms and colloquialisms. What´s more is that the app is totally free!
3. Keep a diary
Keeping a diary every day is incredibly useful. Not only do you learn new vocabulary through writing about your daily activities, you can also track your progress. Sometimes it can be frustrating when you feel like you are not making any improving, keeping a diary will remind you that you are getting better- slowly but surely! As time goes by, you will find it easier to describe your day, you will be able write more and will make fewer errors. After a couple of months you will look back at your first diary entry and laugh at the little mistakes you used to make.
4. Intercambios! (Language exchange)
Try and find a Spaniard, or someone who is fluent in Spanish to trade speaking with. Meet up and speak half of your time in Spanish and the other half in your mother tongue. This is mutually beneficial. You can both learn how to speak a new language conversationally and you can make a new friend! It is also a good way to get to know Madrid, a local will know the best places to eat and drink. They can show you what it is really like to be a Madrileño!
At Inhispania, every Wednesday at 8pm one of our weekly activities is to visit an Intercambio at Larios Café. Come along and meet new people and practice your Spanish!
We also have an advertisement board in the school for Intercambios, why not make your own advertisement?
Netflix, as everyone knows it is one of the most popular ways to relax at home. Why not watch Spanish dramas? There are plenty to choose from my personal favourite is Las Chicas del Cable. Other examples include La Casa de Las Flores and La Casa de Papel (the list goes on and on). Everyone learns differently, I am a visual learner so for me having Spanish subtitles with Spanish audio is the best way for me to learn.
If you are a beginner why not try watching a children’s programme in Spanish?
This way you do not need to put on subtitles in your mother tongue (which normally turns into only reading the words on the screen and not actually hearing what is being said at all).
Or watch a series that you know really well (for me it is Friends), but watch it in Spanish with Spanish subtitles, you will know roughly what is being said because it is a familiar programme to you, only this time you will hear how these things are spoken in Spanish. Game of Thrones (Juego de Tronos) is translated into Spanish, as is Friends. See what other series you can find that have a Spanish equivalent!
El ambiente “hip” y alternativo, las tiendas de segunda mano y el arte urbano me recuerdan a unos barrios de mi ciudad de origen, Berlín. Te recomiendo que dejes tu móvil en la mochila y te pierdas en las calles pequeñas de este bonito barrio.
The “hip” and alternative atmosphere, second hand stores and a lot of street art all over the place remind me of some of the districts of my home town Berlin. I recommend that you leave your phone in your pocket and get lost in the small streets of this beautiful neighborhood.
und alternative Ambiente, die Second-Hand-Läden und Street Art an jeder Ecke
erinnern mich an einige Viertel meiner Heimatstadt Berlin. Ich empfehle, das
Smartphone in der Tasche zu lassen und sich in den engen Gassen dieses schönen
Viertels einfach treiben zu lassen.
Una gran ventaja de ser estudiante de menos de 26 años en Madrid es que puedes disfrutar del maravilloso “Abono Joven 30 días” con el que puedes viajar a todas partes no solo en Madrid sino también en toda la Comunidad Autónoma. Una hora y media al norte de la ciudad se ubica el pueblo de Cercedilla dónde puedes caminar por las montañas y disfrutar del silencio de la naturaleza. Perfecto para huir del calor y del estrés de la capital española.
One of the great advantages of being a student under 26 in Madrid is that you can benefit from the amazing 30-day youth ticket. It allows you not only to travel as much as you want all around the city but also in the entire region of Madrid. One hour and a half north of the city is the village of Cercedilla from where you can do hiking in the mountains and enjoy the silence of nature. A perfect escape from the heat and stress of the Spanish capital.
grossen Vorteile, in Madrid Student unter 26 zu sein, ist, dass man die
Vorteile des 30-Tage-Tickets für junge Leute ausnutzen kann. Dieses erlaubt es
einem nämlich nicht nur, so viel wie man möchte in der Stadt herumzufahren,
sondern in der gesamten Madrider Region zu reisen. Eineinhalb Stunden nördlich
der Stadt befindet sich das Dorf Cercedilla, von wo aus man in den Bergen
wandern und die Stille der Natur geniessen kann. Perfekt, um der Hitze und dem
Stress der spanischen Hauptstadt zu entfliehen.
Este parque era el lugar ideal para disfrutar de mi descanso entre les cursos de español por la mañana y el trabajo en la recepción por las tardes. Aunque teníamos también 38 grados a la sombra, durante una ola de calor que duró unos días, en general, era perfecto para practicar un hábito español al cual me gustó acostumbrarme: la siesta.
This park was the perfect place to relax between my Spanish classes in the morning and work at the reception in the afternoon. During a heat wave, 38 degrees in the shade did not offer more convenience than other spots, but most of the time, Retiro was perfect to celebrate a Spanish habit that I enjoyed getting used to: the Siesta.
Park habe ich die eine oder andere Pause zwischen meinen Spanischkursen am
Morgen und der Arbeit an der Rezeption am Nachmittag verbracht. Während einer
mehrtägigen Hitzewelle konnte Retiro bei 38 Grad im Schatten nicht wirklich
Abhilfe schaffen. Die meiste Zeit über war der Park aber perfekt, um einer
spanischen Gewohnheit nachzugehen, an die ich mich gerne gewöhnte: die Siesta.
4. Estación de Atocha
¿Te preguntas por qué he elegido una estación de tren en mi top 5? Pues, porque España tiene una red ferroviaria fenomenal que conecta Madrid con muchas otras ciudades interesantes. En dos horas y media, el tren de alta velocidad (AVE) te lleva a Sevilla, por ejemplo. Si tienes tiempo y quieres ahorrar dinero, compartir coche puede ser una alternativa – y una clase de conversación en español adicional.
You are wondering why I chose a train station for the top 5? Well, because Spain has an amazing rail network that connects Madrid with a lot of other interesting cities. In two hours, the fast train AVE brings you to Sevilla, for example. If you have more time and want to save money, a ride share might be an alternative for you – and an additional Spanish conversation class.
du, warum ich einen Bahnhof in meine Top 5 genommen habe? Spanien hat ein
exzellentes Zugnetz, das Madrid mit einer Vielzahl an anderen spannenden
Städten verbindet. In zweieinhalb Stunden bringt einen der Schnellzug AVE
beispielsweise nach Sevilla. Wenn du mehr Zeit mitbringst und Geld sparen
möchtest, ist eine Mitfahrgelegenheit sicherlich eine gute Alternative – und
kann eine gute Spanischlektion werden.
Una de las actividades más divertidas que recomiendo a todos para explorar Madrid: las bicicletas eléctricas de la ciudad. Son bastante baratas y mucho mejor que las bicicletas públicas de otras ciudades. Tienen tres velocidades y encima de esto, el motor eléctrico tiene tres niveles que facilitan mucho el pedaleo (especialmente subiendo cuestas). ¡Cuidado porque van bastante rápido!
One of the most fun activities that I highly recommend to everyone who wants to explore Madrid: the electric bikes of the city. They are quite cheap and much better than public bikes of most other cities. They have three gears as well as an electric engine with three speed levels that considerably facilitate biking (particularly uphill). But watch out, it goes quite fast!
Lieblingsaktivitäten, die ich wärmstens empfehle, um Madrid zu erkunden: die
Elektro-Räder der Stadt. Die sind nicht nur recht günstig, sondern auch viel
besser als die öffentlichen Räder der meisten anderen Städte. Die Räder haben
drei Gänge und dazu einen elektrischen Motor mit drei Geschwindigkeitsstufen,
die das Fahren deutlich einfacher machen (vor allem bei Anstiegen). Aber
pass auf, die BiciMads gehen ganz schön ab!
Spain is famous for its Tapas. In Spain’s capital, Madrid, you will find Tapas restaurants at every corner of the street. But… did you know that there is a fast food variant of Tapas? A variant that is typical Spanish, cheap and really tasteful. This place is called 100 Montaditos!
What is 100 montaditos?
100 Montaditos is a Spanish Tapas concept with more than 350 restaurants worldwide. A montadito literally means a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. The first restaurant opened its doors in the year 2000.
100 Montaditos is known for its bread (Bocadillos in Spanish), they even have a patent on their secret bread recipe! They sell more than 150.000 montaditos every day.
Where in Madrid can I find 100 Montaditos?
It will not be hard to find 1 of the many restaurants they have in and around Madrid. They have 90 restaurants based in the community of Madrid. For example, there are two in our school area, just 10 minutes walking distance from Inhispania.
Things you need to know
Every Wednesday and every Sunday there is a special offer: every item in the menu (toda la carta) is just 1€!! Their menu is really big and you have plenty of options.
Keep it in mind for your next visit to the city. It is a cheap, easy and tasty option for a Spanish lunch!