Originally founded in 1725 as an inn, Sobrino de Bot�n is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. Sobrino de Bot�n serves up local Madrid and Castilian fare � including roast lamb, suckling pig, garlic soup, homemade pudding and chocolate cake � in a medieval-like setting with low ceilings, exposed brick and dark wooden furniture. The restaurant is known for its mentions in books by Benito P�rez Gald�s, Ram�n G�mez de la Serna, Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene. Located beside the historic Plaza Mayor, Sobrino de Bot�n is open for lunch and dinner every day.
Local Expert tip: Wash down the suckling pig with a bottle of wine.
A whimsical, romantic vegetarian restaurant, La Isla del Tesoro serves up creative and healthy food beneath dripping candles in an eclectic South Seas shipwreck like setting. For a taste of Spanish puns, order the "Buenrrollito" appetizer. Otherwise, the Seitan Tan-Tan main dish and the Chocolate Gocho dessert are particularly good. The set value-price lunch menus change each day under a different country theme like Pakistan or Indonesia while the a la carte menu is a constant of different internationally inspired dishes. Located in the Malasa�a neighborhood, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner only. Reservations are highly recommended and you can make them online or by phone.
Local Expert tip: Bring a date for this special, casual restaurant.
El Chaflán serves premier Spanish nouveau fare. The soft lighting and candles creates an elegant dining atmosphere. For starters, try the lentil soup with squid. Then enjoy a glass of Riesling from Germany. For dessert, choose from a variety of sorbets, mousses, and ice cream. The attentive waitstaff is very knowledgeable and will explain each dish that they are serving.
Local Expert tip: Don't be afraid to have a cocktail with dinner.
If you are looking for an evening of fine dining, look no further. This very formal restaurant combines luxury and delectable cuisine to create a sensational meal. You can choose from many selections, including grilled filet mignon with béarnaise sauce, shellfish au gratin Escoffier, or venison bourguignon. Don't forget to finish your meal with a delicious dessert such as one of their citric fruit pastries. METRO: Retiro, Salamanca
Local Expert tip: The portions aren't big.
Now seven years old, the gleaming white La Broche is still the benchmark of hip in Madrid's upscale dining scene. Chef Sergi Arola trained in Ferran Adrià's El Bulli restaurant-cum-food laboratory in Catalonia. He shows the same fascination with transforming textures and extracting essences. Some of his dishes almost defy description and might include a salad of sea and land snails roasted in lard, a deconstructed Catalan stew of beans and meatballs, a confit of cockscombs, or maybe even loin of horse with tomato bonbons. Txema Puente's desserts are no less outlandish: think ravioli of licorice with a gin foam and black-beer ice cream. METRO: Rubén Darío.
Local Expert tip: Depending on the menu you choose, prices can range from reasonable to special occasion.
Chef Abraham Garc�a uses wit and imagination to create new innovative dishes using traditional Spanish recipes. The menu changes regularly, based on seasonal ingredients. One week you may find a salad of exotic lettuce and smoked salmon, whereas another time there may be red onions stuffed with morcilla (black pudding). Visit more than once and try several dishes! You'll be glad you did. METRO: Banco de Espa�a
Local Expert tip: The dishes are beautifully presented.
O'Pazo is one of the finest Galician seafood restaurants in all of Spain. First opened in 1969, the restaurant was remodeled in 2008. Now the decoration at O'Pazo is elegant, intimate and rather masculine with its dark tones and wood accents. Be sure to try the fish and shellfish soup; it alone is worth the trip here. The diverse menu features dishes of Jabugo ham, spider crabs, baby eels, Galician scallops and a marvelous seafood casserole. You'll note that the seasoning is minimal here, as the restaurant endeavors to let the natural flavors of the food shine. METRO: Nuevos Ministerios or Alvarado.
Local Expert tip: Not to be missed by seafood lovers.
This glamorous, old 19th-century restaurant – with its blazing chandeliers, flaky stucco and silver candlesticks – has been given a startling Ferran Adrià makeover. Thus the dishes are startlingly at odds with the decor. Since 1998, the Catalan wonderchef has lent his signature avant-garde quirkiness to the menu, now overseen by his second-in-command, Paco Roncero. If you can stretch to 300 for a meal for two, you can try oddities such as cornflake paella or barnacles in aspic with tea, alongside more traditional Spanish cuisine, all perfectly executed. The easiest option is to choose the taster menu, and then simply sit back and be amazed. On a warm summer night, the terrace has wonderful views over Madrid. METRO: Sevilla
Local Expert tip: Perfect for a luxurious night out.
Santi Santamaría – presiding genius at the three-star Racó de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni (near Barcelona) – has named his sleek Madrid operation after his hometown. It is run by his trusted deputy, Óscar Velasco, who worked under Santamaría for years. Sourcing the best local materials, Velasco might serve up Mediterranean lobster grilled with a lemon-flavored gratin and fresh baby peas, alongside some of Santamaría's famous signature dishes, such as ravioli of sliced raw shrimp with a filling of ceps (wild mushroom). The superlative wine list is strong on the new generation of Catalan wines from areas such as Costers del Segre and the Empordà. The sommelier is happy to match wines to each course. METRO: Gregorio Marañón.
Local Expert tip: Good for small, formal events, too.
Initmate, expensive and exclusive, the wonderful Zalacain is known as one of the very best restaurants in Madrid. Some of the fabulous dishes include stew of scampi in cider sauce, duck in red wine, and lobster salad. If you can't decide, you have the option of a sampler menu for a fixed price. Don't leave without trying one of their desserts such as the delicious Chocolate Volcano! METRO: Rubén Darío
Local Expert tip: Don't skip the wine list.