With the launch of their Gourmet Experience shop and food court in 2012, the El Corte Inglés in Plaza Callao has become a hot spot for gourmet foodies with its wide variety of quality products and numerous interesting restaurants.
As Spain’s biggest department store, El Corte Inglés sells everything from stationary and souvenirs to designer clothing and jewelry – it even has its own supermarket. The Gourmet Experience at the Plaza Callao branch provides locals with top quality gourmet products, think Nehaus and Valrhona chocolates and Castillo de Canena olive oil.
Located on the 9th floor of the Corte Inglés Callao shopping center, the main reason to venture into the Gourmet Experience is for the outstanding view of Madrid. You can admire this view from indoors through their enormous glass windows, or enjoy their small (but excellent) terrace.
Shopping wise, the Callao Gourmet Experience certainly offers a good range of gourmet products, especially Spanish ones. You will pay a premium, but if you looking for some great foodie souvenirs and don’t have time to shop around, this is a quick one stop shop that will do the trick for items like Spanish paprika, jamón ibérico, Spanish cheeses, olive oils, and more.
And then of course, there’s the restaurants! From international chains to locally owned establishments, there’s great variety available if you’re in Callao looking for a bite to eat. Here’s what we thought of the restaurants in the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in Callao.
Photo Credit: Rafa Luque
This is a local Spanish café whose main location is across from the Puerta de Alcalá. It has a large, comfortable corner in the Callao Gourmet Experience and would be a relaxing place to have a coffee or a pastry, or even a quick sandwich. The prices are reasonable and everything is good at Harina, though not great.
This hamburger restaurant first started out as a butcher shop, and then evolved to a specialty shop that sells a large variety of gourmet hamburgers that are pre-formed and ready for the grill. Hamburguesa Nostra is the owner’s first restaurant, and at 8€-12€ it makes an interesting dining option. You can choose from a variety of types of beef (they will tell you where it comes from) and they will also recommend a sauce and bread to accompany it.
For great decor, loud music, and a varied menu, have some lunch at Central Mexicana. Offering a large variety of Mexican snacks and appetizers, this is a fun place to order a margarita and enjoy being at the top of Madrid. It is also an interesting choice for breakfast, especially if you find yourself missing more hearty fare, as they have various egg options at around 7€.
Perhaps the restaurant with the least amount of charm or personality, this one serves up Spanish classics, menus of the day, calamari sandwiches, pintxos – you name it and you’ll find it at La Máquina! Everything looks good and the prices are reasonable, but I wouldn’t put La Máquina at the top of your list of must-try restaurants at the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in Callao.
Pizza al Cuadrado
Another local business, Pizza al Cuadrado has two other popular locations in Malasaña. Their concept is pizza by the slice, and their offerings change daily. The pizza itself wouldn’t be anything special, if it weren’t for the gourmet toppings and unique flavor combinations that they offer. Combinations like pesto and pine nut or arugula and Roquefort cheese are what makes this pizzeria worth your while.
As part of the international franchise, Amorino serves up Italian style ice creams made with natural ingredients. As is the case with other parts of the chain throughout Spain, they are a little bit pricey, but they’re definitely delicious!
One of the center’s franchises, this Navarran restaurant is where you can try pintxos, small bites of food served on skewers or a piece of toasted bread. There is a great variety of food available at Imanol, prices are reasonable and the pintxos change seasonally.
This restaurant also has a fun design, but perhaps missed the mark as to what it is trying to sell. They offer everything from sushi to dim sum, but with such a range everything becomes a bit mediocre and nothing really stands out.
Juanillo Club is a cocktail and oyster bar in the center of the food court. Both the cocktails and oysters are delicious at this bar, and we would definitely recommend it for a treat if you’re here during your stay in Madrid.
We wholeheartedly recommend a stop at the El Callao Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience, at the very least for a coffee or a cocktail with a view. Were we to dine here,we would check out Pizza al Cuadrado and Juanillo Club above all others, but wouldn’t rule out a stop at any of the establishments.
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Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.