Happy holidays from Madrid! We wish everyone love and warm greetings for a prosperous and healthy new year.
We had heard Christmas Eve in Madrid is quiet because it is traditionally a day to spend with family. That turned out to be an understatement, and Robert and I took advantage of the peaceful day. Around noon I enjoyed a 50-minute jog around the beautiful Parque del Retiro. We then took lunch at one of our favorite local places, La Puerta Amarilla (La Puerta Amarilla in Madrid – Restaurant Reviews, Menu and Prices).
This place is known for their hamburgers, which I will enjoy on occasion — that said, I had not yet tried one in Madrid. Today I selected their signature La Amarilla burger as part of the menu del dia. For less than USD 13, I enjoyed a crisp glass of dry white wine, a beautiful grilled chorizo sausage with sweet salsa (starter), a great burger topped with cheese and fried plantain on a tasty fresh roll, fries on the side, and a slice of Toblerone cake for dessert. The waiter who has come to know us brought glasses of “agua del grifo” without our asking, so he got an extra tip (which still amounted to only about 5%).
Over the years, Robert and I have had an on-and-off tradition of a quiet dinner out on Christmas Eve that dates to our first Christmas together in Chicago. Way back in 1995 we dined at Gordon (Long Lost Lamented Restaurants Power Hour: Gordon) and that was the start of our custom.
We figured now is a great time to reinitiate the tradition, so I began looking for restaurants open on Christmas Eve. Here in Madrid, they are hard to find! A few hotel restaurants were featuring special fixed menus (one very near us was €120 per person, which is more than we really wanted to spend). Virtually all the other options were Indian cuisine, which is perfectly fine with Robert and me. After considering locations and reviews, we selected Tandoori Madrid in the barrio La Latina, self-described as “The best restaurant in Madrid!” (Tandoori Madrid in Madrid – Restaurant Reviews, Menu and Prices).
Despite lighting every bit as bright as it looks in the picture, it turned out to be a delightful experience. The food and service were top notch, and there was a festive but not too rambunctious crowd of people just like us searching for a good meal on an off night.
Since the evening had promised to be somewhat subdued, we planned a walk through the city to view the beautiful yet understated municipal Christmas light displays. While the first six and a half weeks of our stay featured chilly temperatures and nearly nonstop gray, drizzly skies punctuated by gusty winds, the last few days have turned beautiful for the season — sunny skies, calm breezes, and temperatures solidly in the 50s.
It ended up being a perfect evening for a stroll past the Prado, through the upscale barrio Jeronimos, around the charming Plaza de la Independencia and back through Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor.