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Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeTravel GuideFood & DrinkDon't Take All Advice: Meh Restaurants in Madrid

Don’t Take All Advice: Meh Restaurants in Madrid

Meh Restaurants in Madrid is part of The Adios Puerto Rico, Hola España Trip Report. Read TPOL in Madrid: Why A Second Residency?

I have written extensively about where to eat in Madrid. From excellent tapas (see Best Tapas Madrid: No Budget Cuts Here), organic pizza (see Mo de Movimiento), burgers (see Junk Burger Madrid: Way Better Than Shake Shack), tacos (see ¿Qué pasa, güey? Mexican Tacos in Madrid), Asian cuisine (see TPOL’s Tip: Arrive Early to Avoid Sushi, TerroristsA Taste of China, Hong Kong, and Japan…in Madrid, & Shogun Madrid: Hibiki, Kobe, & Wagyu), to authentic local flavor (see Espectacular Carne, Callos, Y Vino: Taberna El Rincon Madrid), TPOL has covered it all. That does not mean there weren’t some duds along the way.

The first mediocre restaurant is called Pastamore. Typically, I do not on Google or Yelp reviews to tell me where to eat. I’d rather stumble upon something and end up tremendously surprised (see El Doble: Happiest Hour in Madrid. And There’s Fresh Seafood). That isn’t feasible when I’m looking for a specific type of food. Overfed on tapas, I was in the mood for Italian. Searching ‘best Italian food Madrid,’ I read a few reviews, checked out the website, and thought it might be worth visiting. When I learned they did not serve Italian wine, I should have left. I stayed and committed another mistake. I order a calzone, something that sounds better in theory than in reality. This I blame on George Costanza and my marathon watching of Seinfeld with my newly acquired projector (see Nebula Projector: Mandatory Travel Technology While in Residency).

a calzone on a plate

a plate of pasta with mushrooms and sauce
Ms. TPOL had the mushroom pasta.

To be clear, the food itself wasn’t terrible. The reason I am writing about this experience is because as temporary residents, we only had so many opportunities to go out to eat. It is a tragedy when that dining experience comes up short.

The second mediocre restaurant came highly recommended by a reliable source. He recommended Ten Con Ten in Madrid and put together the list of restaurants in my epic New Orleans weekend (see Guns & Butter: New Orleans Travel Guide (Binge Edition)). Trusting his taste for the finer things in life, I made a reservation at Cadaques, an upscale restaurant in the Salamanca neighborhood. I have nothing good to say about this place. Indeed, I will list the bad.

  • Price: It was 36 euros for 6 shrimp. a group of shrimp on a black board
  • Disproportioned Portions: I was told that it would be too much to order shrimp, another appetizer, and rice as an entree. Disappointed with the shrimp, I ordered ganxet, white beans with cod and spinach. I would have preferred more beans and less rice.
    a bowl of soup with meat and vegetables
  • Price & Proportion: The main course was rice with cuttlefish, monkfish and seafood. It was 32 euros per person. For that amount, I received an abundance of rice and a meager amount of seafood. a pan of food on a table a close up of foodIncluding the bottle of wine, the price of the meal was $200. I can’t comprehend how small amounts of seafood, beans, and rice could cost so much. Simply put, it wasn’t worth it. Thirty minutes later, I was hungry. That explains why I ended up at the cookie counter (see Most Wanted: GUILTY Cookie Shop Madrid).


Like opening a bottle of wine, dining out can be a wonderful adventure. Like opening a bottle of wine, sometimes the experience can be disappointing. Unfortunately, all the research and recommendations cannot prevent this from happening. This is why it is important to appreciate the great times out.



  1. Sorry to hear about your bad experience getting a decent grub in Madrid. This city is our favorite in Europe due to its food culture (Seville is the 2nd favorite). Even my wife who doesn’t drink and don’t like pubs/bars accompanies me almost every evening for tapas, drinks, and dinner when in Madrid. I love the way they cook their meat and steaks that it melts in the mouth like butter, roasted lamb, crispy pig, the mystery meats, and other cuts. Here are some of our favorite spots for good tapas/vermot runs:

    – La Casa del Abuelo: for the best bubbling shrimp, garlic and chilis in EVO
    – Casa Toni: nearby and offers the best cuts of mystery meats: throat, stomach, blood sausages, etc.
    – Taberna La Concha: great vermot sprayed with gin – good tapas like White Shrimp Carpaccio
    – La Antoñita Restaurant: at Posada Del Dragón for the amazing Crispy Oxtail Roll, Bacalao Fritters (Cod), and other specialties.
    – Casa Labra: for the best fried Cod washed down with delicious vermot.
    – Casa Lucas: his delicious oxtail drowned in its own juice with pureed potatoes (mashed) is to die for …
    – etc. etc. etc.

    All serve vermot, cava, and other wines and cocktails. For light breakfast, we usually went to Chocolatería San Ginés which was a 2-minutes walk from our apartment for Churros and chocolate drink.

    Madrid has thousands of dining choices that will never disappoint. In addition to google map, there is a kiwi youtuber who has lived in Madrid for years with his Spaniard wife (James and Yoly at Spain Revealed) some of his recommendations are helpful especially for the area around C. de la Cava Baja.

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