Luxury shopping on La Milla de Oro (the Golden Mile), Michelin-starred restaurants, exclusive nightclubs, beautiful architecture, tree-lined streets and Madrid’s gorgeous Retiro Park—Barrio Salamanca has it all!
Built by the Marquis of Salamanca during the second half of the 19th century, this posh neighborhood has long been home to the city’s political and social elite. Today, it’s also become the neighborhood of choice for diplomats, CEOs, influencers and fashionistas. And not for nothing—Barrio Salamanca is, without a doubt, one of Madrid’s most picturesque communities. In short, if you’re planning a trip to Spain’s lively capital, Salamanca is definitely the place you want to be. To help you make the most of your stay, here’s our list of the best spots for a sensational food tour of Barrio Salamanca!
Photo Credit: Madison Dearie, Text Overlay: Devour Madrid Food Tours
In most Madrid neighborhoods restaurants cater to tapas tours—quick bites, so you can try the house specialty before moving on to the next. Salamanca is a completely different experience. It is, in a word, posh. Sit-down dining is the fashion in this area of the city, in large part because the restaurants are in such demand that once you get a table, you really don’t want to give it up. So, for the ultimate food tour of Barrio Salamanca, make a reservation at one of these local eateries!
StreetXO at El Corte Inglés Serrano
For a gourmet experience, head to the top floor of El Corte Inglés shopping center on Calle Serrano (one of the 6 streets that make up Madrid’s Milla de Oro). Here you’ll find StreetXO, a one-of-a-kind fusion cuisine experience from Mohawk-sporting Spanish chef David Muñoz. StreetXO is the more casual and affordable version of Muñoz’s three-starred Michelin restaurant DiverXO (located near the Cuzco metro stop). Famous for its eclectic decorations, inventive cocktails and its intriguing Asian inspired menu, the best part of StreetXO is the seating arranged around an open kitchen so you can watch the maestros at work.
Make sure to order: the saam—grilled Iberian pancetta, topped with a mussel and wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Another specialty is nem vietnamita—a fried roll of minced pork decorated with white shrimp!
Address: Calle de Serrano, 52
Another reasonably priced and delicious option on our food tour of Barrio Salamanca is Banibanoo. This Iranian market-style restaurant offers a 14-euro daily lunch menu that is just too good to be true. Every afternoon, the owner Banafsheh, Bani for short (in fact Banibanoo means “Miss Bani”), offers 14 different dishes from which you can choose 3. The food is traditional homemade Persian-style dishes, very aromatic and focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients. The dishes to choose from change every two weeks and the lunch menu also includes a drink.
We recommend: the “Iranian drink” — rose water with cucumber, mint and lime. The desserts are spectacular and are generally fruit and flower-based. Our current favourites are the malva rose cake and the chocolate strawberry brioche pudding with cardamom.
Address: Calle de las Mártires Concepcionistas, 19
Tatel is the place to see and be seen in Barrio Salamanca. This restaurant-lounge is a huge hit with the movers and shakers of Madrid’s social scene, probably because it’s jointly owned by soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis ace Rafa Nadal and pop star Enrique Iglesias. It is a quality restaurant, with a well-stocked wine cellar and a menu of top-notch Spanish dishes.
We recommend: the classic Tatel tortilla (eggs, onions, potatoes and truffles!) as a starter to share and the oxtail stew as your main course. You won’t be disappointed! While you wait for your meal, be sure to take a look around. If ever there were a place for a celebrity sighting, this is it!
Address: Paseo de la Castellana, 36
Quintin Ultramarinos is a throwback to the days of quaint corner stores where you could buy your daily bread, veggies and assorted canned goods. It’s also a restaurant, one of three run and owned by Chef Sandro Silva and his wife Marta Seco (they’re also the masterminds behind two other Barrio Salamanca hit restaurants, El Paraguas and Ten con Ten). The dishes at Quintin are generally traditional recipes from the northern Spanish region of Asturias. Specialties include platos de cuchara (dishes to eat with a spoon, your basic Spanish comfort food) and are hugely popular with locals.
Don’t miss: the fabada Quintin (Asturian bean stew), it is the epitome of comida de cuchara. As is the pitu de caleya pizza—a chicken pizza with a thin, crunchy crust. Heavenly!
Address: Calle Jorge Juan, 17
Last, but not least on our food tour of Barrio Salamanca, there’s Moulin Chocolat. Opened in 2006, this gourmet pastry shop and Salamanca staple is run by Chef Ricardo Martínez Vélez. After many years in France, most notably working for the premium French chocolate manufacturer Valrhona, Vélez decided to open his own shop here in Madrid. At Moulin Chocolat you’ll find deliciously buttery, crunchy croissants, sweet bizcochos, and, of course, rich, creamy chocolate.
What to try: one of our favourite sweet treats are his macaroons. These colorful French cookies are as good as you’ll get in Paris, if not better! If you’re visiting at Christmastime, try the traditional Spanish roscón (Spain’s version of king’s cake).
Address: Calle de Alcalá, 77
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A high school foreign exchange student who just never went home—Madison continues her adventure devouring Madrid one tapa at a time. She can often be found on airplanes and/or by food. She’s a coffee addict, travel writer, language lover and especially gifted in the art of siesta.