By Andrew Ferren
July 22, 2015
El Perro y La Galleta
Credit: Courtesy El Perro Y La Galleta

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.

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.

Other locales worth adding to your address book for the season include Lady Madonna and Babelia Café.

Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.