Austere expressionist paintings, an antique mahogany piano, dark red walls and white doily tablecloths. Restaurante La Polonesa’s old-world style is like a time traveller’s collection, and the nostalgic food fits in perfectly.
Yunie Kebab is run by a Lebanese husband-and-wife team who took over a charming seventies diner and changed nothing about it but the menu. They now serve up incredible Lebanese food, and quite possibly the best hummus in Madrid.
Why are so many iconic no-frills Spanish bars closing, and what does this mean for the future of Spain?
One end of Calle Cabestreros opens out onto the buzzing 24-hour Plaza Nelson Mandela so you’d be forgiven for not paying much attention to the opposite end. But illuminating the dimly lit end of the street with a distinctive dusk-pink glow is a little Cuban bar blasting Caribbean music through its sealed windows.
Since 1961, El Brillante has been the first and last port of call for millions of Atocha’s passengers. A first caña stood at the bar sets the tone for the rest of your stay, and that final bocadillo de calamares leaves you with a belly full of fondness for Madrid.
Owned by a Syrian baker called Jihad, Pastelería Salamat has the best selection of baklava I’ve found in Madrid – and some amazing Syrian flatbread too.
Mercado de la Cebada has been through some ups and downs over the last couple of centuries, but what didn’t kill it made it adapt.
Wander around Lavapiés’ maze of connected high streets and find dozens of Asian spice stores firmly grounded. Gentrification is going to need to work hard to push these neighbours out.