Romance is in the air, and we found restaurants in Madrid to help you capture it. For Valentine’s Day and beyond, romance is for lovers, friends and anyone with a beating heart. With its ornate architecture, cobblestone streets and passionate language, Madrid makes the perfect backdrop for romantic moments. We’ve put together a dynamic compilation of restaurants in Madrid to help you impress a lover, share intimacy with friends and woo yourself!
While Madrid can sweep you off your feet, when it comes to romance, the Italians have got it down. I can’t quite put my finger on it but everything from the language, to the way meals are viewed all exude romance. Il Pastaio doesn’t come short of these expectations. Remember the date scene in Lady and the Tramp, where the two love birds enjoy each other’s company while sharing a plate of spaghetti? Well, this could very well be that restaurant in Madrid. The space is warm and inviting, and you feel comfortable from the moment the staff greet you with their terribly cute Italian accents.
Despite the inviting atmosphere, what really makes Il Pastaio romantic is the food. Fresh, artisanal pasta made with traditional family recipes accompany a selective menu of Italian wines. Each meal is crafted to perfection, but not the uppity, white-tablecloth kind of perfection; more like the kind of perfection you feel when you look back fondly on a special moment you experience with someone.
The standout item on Il Pastaio’s menu is the tagliatelle al tartufo. There’s a sense of luxury about it that elevates your entire experience. The plate arrives, hidden by the kind of bell-shaped silver cover that you see in movies. As it’s placed on the table, the cover is lifted and a cloud of steam rises to reveal a bed of noodles coated in truffle-infused cream. In a few swift motions, the waiter grates a piece of fresh black truffle over the plate. The dish is complete. Each bite is rich yet delicate. The gentle balance of the flavors is a romance all its own.
The Palentine’s Day
If you find romance cliché, but still fancy a get together, what is better than meeting up with your nearest and dearest for a cup of coffee and a slice (or two) of cake? Celebrate ‘Palentine’s Day’ (Pal + Valentine, geddit? Trademark pending) at the Little Big Cafe!
We chose the white chocolate, lemon and peppermint tart , a real treat! The sharpness of the lemon cuts through the sweet white chocolate. Plus it was thick, because who likes it when they skimp on the base? Exactly, no one.
We also opted for a pumpkin and cinnamon Swiss roll, soft and moist, sweet but not overwhelming. Like perfect lovers, it pairs well with a strong cup of coffee. Finally, we tried one of their ‘Crinkles’, a brownie/cookie hybrid that was crisp on the outside and fudgy and sumptuous within. Because let’s face it, with desserts you order one each and one for the table right, unless that’s just us? Swiftly moving on..
The customer service at the Little Big Cafe is great! The staff are polite, friendly and warm. Both locations are quite cozy which makes for an intimate setting. Make a reservation if you plan to go in a group.
So, enjoy sharing delicious treats with the ones you love! There is a range of tasty savory options too if you have already had enough of all of the sappy sweetness that’s in the air. Either way, the Little Big Café is one of the sweeter restaurants in Madrid to enjoy!
The Unexpected Experience
If you are looking for an experience distinct to the average restaurant in Madrid, look no further than Gonder Restaurant. It sits quietly tucked away on a narrow one-way street in Lavapies. Inside your senses are hijacked and transported to East Africa. Gondar is a northern city and former imperial capital of Ethiopia. It boasts a rich culinary history embedded in exotic spices, a spice you can share with whomever you please, (ahem… you cheeky you). The interior is authentically decorated with cloths, paintings and artifacts imported from Gondar. The intimate space swoons with soft Ethiopian music. You’ll surprise your lover and friends with a memorable experience and heart warming food.
It’s hard not to fall in love in a place where you share a large plate, eat with your hands, and per tradition feed a couple of bites to the people you love (the bigger the bite, the more you’re expressing that you love them). So you can present as cultured and well rounded, we’ll fill you in on the basics. Everything is served on a spongey flatbread called injera. It takes about three days to make. Due to the tedious process, a well made injera can be likened to a piece of art. Several sauces are spread atop the injera. Simply tear off a piece of injera and scoop the saucy dishes. The dishes are typically spicy but still enjoyable and focus around meats like beef, lamb and chicken. Vegetarian and vegan options include legumes such as lentils and vegetables such as spinach, potatoes and cabbage.
We recommend trying the mixed platter if you are experiencing Ethiopian food for the first time. We highly recommend the Kitfo, a buttery, well-spiced beef tartar. Call ahead to ensure it is available as it is a limited menu item. You’ll also look quite the culinary expert with your special order. For a saucy experience that overflows with flavor, Doro Wot is a must. It’s an onion based, slow simmered sauce served with chicken leg that slips off the bone with tenderness and a hard boiled egg.
Though it’s a restaurant in Madrid without a license to sell alcohol there, to help counter the spice there are local teas and a classic coca cola helps. Also, Ethiopia is not famous for it’s desserts (thus the sparkly white teeth!) so it’s a perfect excuse to go for a stroll or steal a kiss, which tastes sweeter anyway.
The Free Spirit
Not interested in sharing or all the lovey-dovey romance? Why wait for somebody to bring you flowers when you can surround yourself with them? If you’re looking to treat yourself to some me-time, head to Salón des Fleurs in Chamberí. This charming tea house and flower shop is a tranquil hideaway delightful enough that you won’t need any company. Fresh flowers adorn each table and hanging plants lead the way up the wrought iron spiral staircase. Here, the only reminder of the outside world is sunlight that streams in through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Nestled into one of the comfortable armchairs, you can browse the menu, which features a wide array of warm drinks. The tea selection ranges from classics, such as Earl Grey, to the more inventive, like the Apple Pie or Cookie blends. (If you aren’t a tea lover, there are plenty of coffee options as well.) Of course, no tea time – or romantic moment – would be complete without dessert, and Salón des Fleurs has no shortage of these. We recommend the mini lemon cake, with a simple, fluffy base and a bright, tart glaze.
If you’re the kind of person who loves spending time alone, the peaceful ambience of Salón des Fleurs will feel like home. If, on the other hand, you feel a bit embarrassed going out by yourself, you can always nab a hidden spot behind one of the shop’s many leafy trees. Being single is no reason to miss out on the fun – and besides, eating alone means you don’t have to share.
Calle de Ríos Rosas, 49, 28003
915 54 29 25
Little Big Café
Calle de Fernández de los Ríos, 61, 28015
915 49 77 99
Restaurante Etiopé Gonder
Calle Grafal, 8, 28005
917 04 72 50
Salon de Fleurs
Calle de Guzmán el Bueno, 106, 28003
915 35 23 48