Spain's southern European neighbor, Italy, is rather well represented in the Spanish capital as regards cuisine. From fine Italian restaurants to inexpensive places to get your fill of pizza on a late night, you're never far away from the pride of Italy - a dish of gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce and walnuts, a slice of prosciutto pizza, a square of tiramisu, and a glass of Chianti - in Madrid. At the same time, Italian food has fast become, apart from the Turkish kebab, Madrid's take away food par excellence, and you will probably run into a few more take away pizza shops than you will places for fine Italian dining.
For starters, head to Chueca for our first pick for Italian restaurants in Madrid, Piu di Prima. There you will find hand-made pasta, Italian wines, and hearty, home-style Italian cooking in an elegant setting.
Make reservations in advance and bring a date. Our second pick, La Vita e Bella, is THE place to go for inexpensive, authentic Italian food in a hip, lively setting. We especially swear by the pizza and 'Godfather' cannoli. The place is mainly designed for take away, but you can still grab a quick bite there sitting on a stool at the table-counters lining the wall. On weekend evenings you'll probably see a line snaking out the door, but it moves quickly and the food is definitely worth a couple of extra minutes.