Coffee with a local in Madrid

Wednesday, 25 January 2012 9:00 AM heads to the Spanish capital of Madrid to get the insider tips from local Ana Maria Frias Gavidia. 

So, you’ve brought me to your favourite cafe - tell me about it.
This is Café Diurno, it is a very comfortable place, as well as being fashionable. It has a modern vibe and is filled with lots of plants. It’s located on Calle de San Marcos near to Chueca metro stop.

Mmm... this is good, what are we drinking?
It’s called tinto de verano and is made with red wine mixed with lemon juice and ice; it’s a very popular summer drink.

What are your favourite local dishes?
My favourite local meal is Cocido Madrileño, a traditional chickpea based stew with meat and potatoes. It’s typically from Madrid and is good in the winter time to warm you up.

And where would you suggest I go to find these?
One of the best places to eat cocido is at Malacatin, a typical Madrileña tavern, decked in Andalucían tiles and covered with pictures of old bull fighters. Here you can also enjoy some excellent tapas.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining, what’s the best thing to do on a day like today?
Wandering around Retiro Park is a good choice. The park is a popular place with people who like to practice music like drumming. You can also rent out a row boat on the lake in the middle of the park. Afterwards you could go for lunch at the excellent eateries along Mendez Pelayo Street.

And if it rains?
Madrid has some great museums. Definitely go to the Prado Museum, which has a large collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings by famous artists. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is also very good, it showcases paintings from the 13th to the 20th century.

If there’s one thing I should do while I’m here, what is it?
You should visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family. You can buy a ticket to look inside or wander around the outside and see the beautiful gardens. 

Give me a local tip that other tourists wouldn’t usually know...
Go to the Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid’s fine art centre and go up onto the terrace. You have to pay two euros, but you will see a great view of the Madrid skyline. Also go to San Miguel Market near to Plaza Mayor, where you will find lots of small places to eat typical Spanish food.

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