What is “Breaking the Barrios”?
Smart Insiders wants to give you tips for how to experience different areas in Madrid. For this reason we’re launching a new series called “Breaking the Barrios”. Get ready for excellent guides for planning your next visit to one of Madrid’s popular neighborhoods. Here you can find information about restaurants, activities, nightlife, and more!
Also, since this is the launch of “Breaking the Barrios” we decided to feature one of our favorite spots, La Latina. La Latina is one of the most exciting and diverse neighborhoods in Madrid. It’s location is right in the heart of the center and comes alive during weekends, especially on Sundays. Read ahead to see what are our favorite things to do in this great neighborhood.
When is the best time to visit La Latina?
Ever hear of the famous saying “Sunday Funday”? Aren’t too tired from weekend traveling, activities, and nightlife from Friday to Saturday? If so then La Latina is the place to get rid of your Sunday scares. The party is all day on Sundays with many people coming for brunch, shopping, tapas, and cocktails. Because of this, we suggest going early since so many people come from all over the city to enjoy. Two of the most popular streets in La Latina on Sundays is Calle Cava Alta and Calle Cava Baja. Not only on Sundays these two streets come alive during the weekdays as well with the many bars, restaurants, and shops.
What’s happening on Sunday?
The ultimate activity on Sunday is the open flea market called the Rastro. This tradition dates back to the fourteenth century, but things really started picking up around the nineteenth century when many dealers came from all over to sell their goods.
There were a variety of products like furniture, clothing, jewelry, books, and antiques. The street market has continued over the years, and many craftsmen have settled down in the Plaza de Cascorro to continue the tradition.
Today, you can still find a multitude of things like clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and paintings. Once you are finished shopping, it’s nice to share your treasures with friends over a drink and tapas at one of the many bars on Cava Baja.
Where can I find good food?
Almost all of the restaurant options in La Latina are great and you can find diversity in cuisine depending on your mood. From Sunday brunch, to tapas, to a great cheeseburger there is something for everyone in this neck of the woods.
Federal Cafe: for the brunch goer.
Federal cafe is great for Sunday brunch and it’s right in Plaza de la Plaja. If you feel like experiencing a true American style breakfast this is the place to go. Also, most of the servers speak English and the food is fantastic. Here there is a big city feel with options like fresh squeezed juices, specialty teas, mimosas, eggs benedict, avocado toast, and more. This is a versatile environment great for relaxing with a coffee or bringing a large group of friends. Furthermore, this is a great cafe to get work done. Federal is a spacious environment that offers free wifi, but don’t bring your laptop on weekends because they are prohibited. Due to this fact, on Saturdays and Sundays it’s all play and no work so make sure to come relaxed.
Mad Cafe: for the homesick Americans.
Mad Cafe is an American style restaurant nicely hidden on Cava Alta. Customers can enjoy a delicious burger in a modern American diner here. The founders fell in love with Cava Alta and decided to rent out a small space with a big dream and little resources. After a lot of work, little money, and many favors from friends Mad Cafe is now a huge success.
Everything in Mad Cafe is homemade including the sauces, desserts, and appetizers. The chefs shape the beef patties by hand and cut the potatoes in-house. If you like craft beer there is a wide selection for you to enjoy with your meal. What’s unique about this restaurant is that they have a large variety of burgers for everyone’s taste. From classic, to spicy, to vegetarian, we are confident that you will find something you like here. Also, anyone who grew up drinking root beer floats this is the place for you! Mad Cafe will whip you up a float with either root beer or vanilla coke. If you don’t know what a float is it’s vanilla ice cream mixed with soda. What a nice change from a traditional milkshake. 🙂
La Buha: for the tortilla addicts.
Are you new to Spain and are now a Spanish tortilla addict? Even more of a reason to go to La Buha and try their famous stuffed tortilla! What makes the tortilla at La Buha so special is that they fill the centers of their tortillas with delicious ingredients. A personal favorite is the tortilla stuffed with goat cheese and caramelized onions. Are you vegetarian? There is a homemade potato omelette stuffed with vegetables (red pepper, green pepper, onion, green asparagus, zucchini and eggplant) just for you. Also, if you’re a meat lover you will salivate when you see the stuffed with onion, chorizo, and paprika hash.
La Buha’s outside patio is spacious so it’s easy to bring a big group. We advise on bringing as many friends as you can because you will need the help finishing! Not a big fan of tortilla? No worries. La Buha offers many things besides tortilla like salads, tostas, and rations. The bar has a cozy modern vibe where you can enjoy a nice glass of wine and a tapa during happy hour or on the weekend after shopping in La Latina.
La Perejila: for the tapa taste testers.
La Perejila has a kitsch decorative atmosphere with great traditional Spanish cuisine and tapas. Even though the space is smaller you feel you are sitting down and enjoying a meal with family and friends.The walls are filled with quirky decorations and pictures that make you feel as if you are at home. This restaurant doesn’t lack detail and there are many things to look at while you are drinking a copa and listening to traditional music. If your drink of choice is wine this is a good spot for you because La Perejila offers an extensive wine list. Also, if you have a taste for vermouth they have one that is homemade!
What about parks and monuments?
Above all, La Latina is home to some of the most noteworthy monuments in Madrid. Luckily, they are close in proximity and easy to walk to. If hitting the bars or shopping doesn’t peak your interest, it’s okay! Maybe this is one of the greatest areas to walk around. You will be able to take in the sights and learn a little along the way. Some of our favorite spots to check out are the Palacio Real de Madrid, The Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, and Iglesia de San Andres.
San Francisco el Grande
Plaza de la Plaja
Iglesia de San Andres
Mercado de la Cebada
Real Palacio de Madrid
Mercado de la Cebada
Mercado de la Cebada is a great place to shop for local produce. They offer things like meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, and other specialties. The market’s mission statement includes quality products that are meant for the well-being of their customer.
If you’re not shopping for groceries you will find other businesses here that are selling products like plants, antique clocks, CDs, vinyl, and footwear. The market has a long tradition dating back to 1875.
Want to find out about more stuff in Madrid?
Finally, if you’re looking for more things to do around the Madrid area, SmartInsiders offers cultural excursions around the city including but not limited to museums, monuments, and stadiums.