If you’re entertaining in Madrid, you can’t go wrong with a restaurant that is traditionally Spanish and either totally fun (like Champagnería Gala or Museo del Jamón) or historically significant (like Sobrino de Botín).
Within its cavernous walls that channel medieval Spain, Sobrino de Botín serves traditional Spanish specialties like suckling pig and garlic soup. The 1725 restaurant is expensive, but it is certainly an experience. Consider the facts that the famed Spanish painter Francisco de Goya once worked there as a waiter and Ernest Hemingway mentioned the restaurant in the novel The Sun Also Rises.
Champagnería Gala is a good place to bring a group with its large paellas, big round tables and communal dessert wine (served in a traditional Spanish glass porrón that never touches your lips). Part of the restaurant is decorated like a curious outdoor patio and feels a bit like an informal Andalusian party without the flamenco and the guitars.
A Madrid-based restaurant chain, the Museo del Jamón is best known for the copious amounts of whole ham legs lining its walls. Though Spanish ham is clearly its specialty and namesake, the reasonably-priced restaurants are dedicated to all types of typical Madrid and Spanish fare. Sit down in the back dining room with your guests, but know that when by yourself you can also eat at the bar or grab a sandwich to go.
[Photo: Chris Brown]