Summer is shaping up to be anything but a slow season on the Madrid restaurant scene, with new ventures arriving in rapid succession all around the city. When it opened a few weeks back, El Imparcial in La Latina elicited headlines heralding the return of gorgeous restaurants.
Open from noon to 2 a.m. (all-day kitchens are a welcome trend in Madrid), it’s certainly been drawing the city’s beautiful people who come for lunch, an afternoon drink and some browsing the restaurant’s design shop, or a late dinner. The menu features lightened up and easy-to-share versions of Spanish classics, simple pastas and even an eco-version of a Big Mac, which surprisingly nails the taste of its notorious namesake.
Related: T+L's Guide to Restaurants in Madrid
Across town El Perro y la Galleta (pictured) the second restaurant by Carlos Moreno Fontaneda, scion of Spain’s first family of cookies, has just opened opposite the Retiro Park. Building on the success of the year-old and wildly popular Bar Galleta (galleta means cookie), the new restaurant also serves all day and already has a loyal clientele days after opening (meaning: reservations recommended).
Many of the standout dishes on the menu use the traditional Galletas Maria—the preferred snack of generations of Spanish youth—in innovative ways, such as the perfect sweet-salty breading for lightly fried eggplant. Of course the cookies get reinterpreted in virtually all the desserts. The grand but casual dining room has a neo-Victorian vibe with quirky collections of objets and a fetching mix of furnishings.
Tatel is also landing with a splash, given that backers include singer Enrique Iglesias and Spanish sports superstars Pau Gasol, and Rafael Nadal. Though its high-profile investors may call to mind the days of the supermodel-marketed Fashion Café, all food critics and gastronomes are talking about Tatel’s market-driven menu of spot-on Spanish fare and its sumptuous dining room. Plans are afoot for locations in Mexico and the U.S.A.
Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.
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