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#25736 - 06/30/00 10:02 PM Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
Marie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/00
Posts: 6
I am spending a week or so in Madrid in late July with a friend and we are very concerned about money - we are broke, basically. We have Hostal Lopez (thank god) and now we need to figure out how we will eat. We want to experience Spanish culture and of course the wonderful food but we are hoping that all of you experienced Madrid travelers will know of places to eat that are good but inexpensive. Any ideas?

marie

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#25737 - 06/30/00 11:17 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Hi Marie! Even if you DO want to save money, I beg you NOT to ONLY eat at McDonald's!! PLEASE!!!! I might recommend going to one of the many Museo del Jamon bar/eateries. (URLs: http://www.museodeljamon.com & http://www.museodeljamon.es ) You'll also find that El Brillante, another bar/eatery located next to the Reina Sofía museum is an excellent place for sandwiches.

Also, the fine people at Hostal Lopez will be able to direct you to some of the best and inexpensive places near the hostel and in Madrid I'm sure.

Have a great time!! Saludos, MadridMan
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[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 06-30-2000).]
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#25738 - 07/01/00 08:48 AM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1739
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
I generally travel 'on the cheap' in Spain: If breakfast isn't included in the lodging price I find a churreria and have chocolate (or cafe) con churros for breakfast. Midday is my big meal, as it is for most Spanish people. One of my favorites is Amarillo, a taverna on C/ Mayor across from Madrid City Hall (Ayuntamiento). The cook is Asturiana and she prepares some hearty meals. Figure on about ESP 1.100 (includes pan y vino).
For the evening I 'make do' with some tapas y un chato de vino or una canya de cerveza.


[This message has been edited by Eddie (edited 07-01-2000).]

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#25739 - 07/01/00 12:55 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Marie, Eddie ALWAYS has great ideas!
Unless you're staying in a nice hotel chances are not good that your breakfast will be included (or even offered). As Eddie says, find a churería (many bars, which often open early, serve coffee an churros) and have yourself a café con leche and churros.

As Eddie says, lunch (most often served between 1 or 2pm-4pm) is the largest meal of the day and you won't have ANY problem finding a LARGE meal, Menú del Dia, where you'll pay around ESP 1,100 (about $7 US) per person. This may sound like a lot if you're on a SUPER tight budget, but dinner could probably be even less if you order drinks and get a free tapa. More and more you have to pay for tapas in the more popular tapas bars, but they're not too expensive. The Museo del Jamon places are great and you ALWAYS get a free tapa with a beer/wine. If you just order a Coca-cola I DON'T think they serve you a free tapa, but the beer/wine is really cheap in Spain.

Eddie, I see the Catalán influence in your Spanish. "CanYa"??? hehehe.. ("caña in castellano) I suppose you spell "catalunya" for cataluña too, right?

Saludos, MadridMan
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#25740 - 07/01/00 03:11 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 516
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Hola, Marie!

Madridman and Eddie have given you some good advice, and now I’d like to add some of mine!

Chocolate y churros is a great breakfast, but you can also try café con leche and a croissant a la plancha con mermelada (split croissant toasted on a grill with jam), which is out-of-this-world delicious, and lighter than the c. y c., which my stomach finds easier to take as a merienda (late afternoon snack) than as a breakfast. You can also try eating a bocadillo for breakfast. (Actually, you can eat a bocadillo just about any time!) A bocadillo is a sandwich made out of baguette-type bread (called una barra de pan, or, in some areas of Madrid, una pistola), and you can get a variety of stuffings in it. A real staple for travelers in Spain is the tortilla de patatas (aka tortilla española), a delicious potato omelette, which you can get as a pincho (small piece), ración (larger slice), or on a bocadillo. Every bar/cafetería/restaurante has tortilla, or can make it quickly, all day. It’s also real cheap.

As Madridman noted, you want to stay away from the McDonald’s, (yes, the Big Mac tastes exactly the same everywhere), but also stay away from establishments geared toward tourists that sell “platos combinados.” These platos have several types of extemely greasy, high protein foods together on one plate. (Example: two deep fried eggs, two strips of thick bacon or chorizo sausage, and a pile of oil soaked french fries.) I can’t tell you how many people have told me they didn’t care much for Spanish food because that’s what they ate because it was cheap! When you’re going to eat a real meal in a restaurant, which you really should do once a day, go to a real restaurant and order two dishes - a primer plato (a soup, vegetable, rice, egg, or pasta dish) and a segundo plato (meat of fish). The menú del día, a set menu offered at all restaurants, tending to be well-priced and made with super fresh ingredients, will consist if these two courses, a dessert (often fruit), and wine or water.

This may sound crazy, but one of the ways we would find a good cheap restaurant in Spain in the years I lived there was to watch where the construction workers went to eat. They always go to the one with the best home cooking at the lowest price! We were never disappointed.

You should also go to restaurants that are filled with locals, no matter what it looks like. About seven years ago a big German study came out that reported that the number one most important aspect of life for Spaniards was food. I believe it! Spanish food is, in my opinion, the best in the world, and Spaniards are demanding when it comes to quality of food. Also, Spanish restaurants are required to post a menu outside so you can check it out before you go in - a good way to check prices.

One more quick thing (I could go on forever on this topic...) - consider buying bread at the local panadería in the morning, and a chunk of Spanish cheese and some fresh fruit at the local grocery store, and carry them with you. Just remember to pack a knife!

¡Que aproveche!

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#25741 - 07/01/00 04:57 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
WOW! Diana, you are my goddess! Thanks for the WONDERFUL and knowledgeable reply! I agree, Spanish food *IS* the best in the world.

One afternoon, starving to death and doing my usual touring of the city, recording for the next version of MadridMan's Madrid Video , I found a place on a narrow street a few blocks northeast of the Puerta del Sol called Cafetería Hnos. (Hermanos) Santiago on Calle Aduana, 27 (east of C/ de la Montera). It was a small, unassuming place with a narrow doorway, but with businessmen streaming in and out. They posted the Menú del Dia on the chalkboard outfront for ESP 950 and so I went in. I immediately thought it was ONLY a bar where lunch was served at the 4 or 5 2-person tables alongside the bar.

I asked to have a table and was they were all full (which they were) and that I'd have to wait. Well, most of us know that Spaniards LOVE to eat and they take their time! (great custom, by the way)

I must have waited 15 minutes and my hunger turned to desperation, but the beer and free tapa at the bar helped in the meanwhile. Just when I was about to go BACK to the Museo del Jamon, the waitress led me to a BACKROOM! It was small, but had 10 fullsized tables and a white-ish pink-ish marble floor. Seemed to me they were only allowing these tables for groups, but as the lunch-crowd finished and left I got a 4-person table to myself. AND THE FOOD WAS GREAT!!!!! It started with a HUGE plate of long macaroni pasta with tomato sauce and shaved mozarella cheese (along with bread, and a half-bottle of red table wine of course). I was nearly full after this, but then came the large chicken filet and fried potatoes. Finally, I was served fruit and cream with coffee.

WOW!!! I was SO full and buzzing from the strong red table wine that I joyfully paid the bill, staggered out the door, and made my way to the Plaza Mayor where I sat below a lightpost, writing all about "the food experience for ESP 950" in my journal until the fuzzy head cleared and my bulging stomach eased.

So, in short, GREAT food at GREAT prices can be found throughout Madrid and Spain - even at highway bar/restaurants!!

Saludos, MadridMan
----------------------
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[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 07-01-2000).]
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#25742 - 07/01/00 10:41 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 516
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Madridman, your experience at Hnos. Santiago is one I wish everyone could have! Spain is full of great little restaurants like it. They're all over - you just have to look for them! One of the best I ever ate at was part of a gasoline station on the road to Teruel. Here I thought we were going to eat badly, and now one of my favorite recipes is one I made up based on something I ate there. Hey - what about making a list of the ones people find on their stays in Madrid? It would be a great resource for people visiting, not only those on a budget, but those who just plain like good Spanish food in a comfortable setting. Hnos. Santiago can be a start, and I'd add one called Restaurante Miramar, which is on a side street just off Bravo Murillo - east side - close to metro Tetuan. I haven't been there for about 5 years (I'm on the wrong side of the gran charco now), but we went there a lot for many years before that, and it was great - and super cheap!

And, since you're advertising cookbooks, I'll add my favorite, which my mom found on a bargain table at a US bookstore: The Heritage of Spanish Cooking, by Alicia Rios and Lourdes March. You should get it, Madridman! Not only are the recipes excellent, the book is filled with gorgeous Spanish paintings of food, and it's filled with fascinating information about food in Spain!

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#25743 - 07/08/00 04:27 AM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
nicholas Offline
Member

Registered: 05/24/00
Posts: 124
Loc: san diego, ca. u.s.a. (granada...
i'll add my favorite secret find story to the list. one of the very best meals i ever ate was when i was in toledo, and completley at random.
i had gone there early on a very cold morning. (it was february)along with my regular clothes and pea coat i had on flannel long underwear. well these things drove me nuts all morning. i was wandering through the cathedral and though "blah, i have to get these things off!!" lucky for me my tummy started growling at that time (1:30) so i away from the cathedral i went and down a hill towards the back end of the juderia. i ducked into what i thought was a small bar but turned out to be a little restaurant with three tables. while i waited i went into the restroom to get rid of the purgatory clothing. the restroom was so small i couldn't stand up in it. anyway, i came back out and was served consome, ensalada judias blancas, and cordoniz escabeche with wine and bread. all for esp 1000. ah twas grand. i just wish i could remember the name of the place!!! =(

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#25744 - 07/08/00 01:30 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
megia Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/00
Posts: 268
Loc: Sedona, Arizona
¡buenoooooooooo!

marie,

i just wanted to throw in my "duro" for what it's worth...

this thread of posts is full of GREAT information, especially from MadridMan, Diana and Eddie. thanks, chavales....

for a while when i first got to madrid i had to choose between eating and buying a metro ticket (to get to work), so i had to live very cheaply!

my favourite is to go to a local panaderia and buy a couple of pistolas (long thin breads - like subway sandwich bread) for about 7 duros (35 pesetas). next i would go to mercadona, which i found to be much cheaper than other chains or smaller mom and pop shops (although i'd rather support the mom and pop), and buy fresh fruit, mermelada (marmalade), a lunk of manchego curado, and a few lonchas (slices) of jamon serrano. this you could buy for less than 1000 pesetas and carry with you all day and not refrigerate it. the jamon and the cheese are the most expensive, but they can also last the longest (like you would only buy it every other day).

in general, you will not save money by going out to eat. mcdonald's is not cheap. pizza hut is not cheap. restaurants are really not cheap. but i agree with the others that it is a great experience to go out to eat, and i especially LOVE diana's suggestion to follow construction workers to where they would go to eat because they do prefer comida casera (homestyle foods), and they will know the place to go.

i prefer to eat in parks (next to the palacio real in the garden - others say this park is dangerous ???), or at the university, where, by the way, they have a cafeteria that is cheap and has VERY traditional and good spanish food. i'm talking about the facultad de sciencias at the poli-tecnica (ciudad universitaria in arguelles-moncloa).

anyway, good luck and may you eat cheaply!

¡que aproveche!

ps> i wanted to add that you can eat at the university cafeterias for 500 pesetas and you really get a good meal out of it...

pps> whoops! i'm an idiot@! i just read the last part of diana's post (i didn't read the whole thing..) and realize i just restated her last paragraph... sorry diana!

[This message has been edited by real_megia (edited 07-08-2000).]

[This message has been edited by real_megia (edited 07-08-2000).]
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#25745 - 07/09/00 01:11 PM Re: Cheap Eats - Please help! (Madrid)
JARABOAN Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 8
Loc: Madrid
Cheap places:

Almendro 13
Cava de Pedro in the same street.
Meson de Paredes 12, Antonio Sanchez Tavern.
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