Jun 17, 2013Quality Spanish food without the price tag"My take: If you passed Argos in street you would probably see a regular Spanish restaurant-cum-bar but for me it has all the little extras I want. It was comfortable, great value for money, had delicious food and a huge widescreen television, perfect for watching the tennis at the time. I went with a friend one Friday afternoon and we chose lunch from the menu of the day. I left feeling completely satisfied and not the slightest bit ripped off.
The scene: Argos has in total 3 seating areas: the bar, restaurant and outdoor seating area. The bar and outdoor area are usually for people wanting beer and tapas. It is decorated in a low key manner with pale tones amongst brown and black. It is well lit and really clean and outside has parasols for sunny days. The crowd has a well-mixed bunch but with a majority of older locals but being located in the student area it can be popular with students too.
Cocktails and cuisine: With each drink ordered at the bar you’ll get a free tapa for example olives, salad or croquetas. In the restaurant you can choose from the menu of the day or the a la carte. This menu changes with the seasons but typically offers at least one salad dish, pasta dish, 2 meat dishes and 1 fish dish, catering for everyone’s needs. It has a standard variety of soft drinks, spirits, house wine and beer but doesn’t offer cocktails or milkshakes.
Prices: Menu of the day for lunch is €10 and includes a drink, bread and 3 courses. Raciones are between €5 - €10 each at dinner time.
What to wear: Dress casual or smart casual.
Insider info/when to go: It is always popular every lunch time but because the service is quick you shouldn’t have to wait long for a table. "hide
Jun 17, 2013Interesting but not overwhelming big"My take: After passing this museum several times and admiring the front façade, I finally got round to visiting it. I went on a Sunday when it is free and was really impressed with the quality of everything inside; from the flowing layout, well-labelled exhibits and interactive room at the end of the visit. In this room are computers with several games which test your understanding and for me were a great way to learn some new Spanish vocabulary. At the pay desk you are given an extensive guide book free of charge and which is reusable I might add. I thought this was a great idea to save paper. Every room is assigned a number (in roman numerals) which is listed in the guide book as well as on the entrance to each room. It’s really easy to follow.
The scene: Museo del Romanticismo is a Neo-Classical mansion designed by Manuel Martin in 1776. It features an extensive collection of original 19th-century paintings, furniture and some jewellery and musical instruments. It is tastefully decorated and well conserved in a state similar to its previous as a family home to the rich family of a Marques in the romantic era. The café
Cocktails and Drinks: The café, situated on the ground floor is really bright and lovely. It serves teas and coffees and a selection of cakes and other snacks. You can sit inside or outside in the garden. Prices are relatively cheap for Madrid.
Prices: Entry is €3 but on Sundays and Saturday from 2pm it’s free. Students, teachers and pensioners pay a reduced entry fee of €1.50 whatever day or hour on display of a valid identification card.
What to wear: Smart casual
Insider info: During the visit you have to leave all bags and coats in the lockers provided and it’s prohibited to drink water or use flash on your camera."hide
May 22, 2013Egyptian gift"My take: Temple of Debod is situated in Parque del Oeste just a few minutes’ walk from Plaza de Espaňa. I enjoy the atmosphere of this side of town, including the park, because it has a more relaxed vibe and tends to be popular with locals, rather than full of tourists. I visited the temple on my own during a spontaneous visit and liked it but didn’t love it. It is small and takes around 10 minutes for a visit. It is an important monument in Madrid because of its Egyptian origin and is actually a donation from the country to give thanks for Spain’s support in recent history.
The scene: The park is popular with local people: runners, dog walkers, families and couples. It is therefore a good place for people watching and I guess going for a stroll or jog if you fancied it. Being a high point in the city it also has a great view looking out towards Casa de Campo. The museum itself (temple) is tiny and has capacity for just 60 people. There isn’t much inside but there are various information points, ancient stones and carvings. You will find a big queue to see it in the summer and during bank holidays (when it’s open) but on normal days you should get in quite quickly.
Prices: Entry’s free.
What to wear: There’s no dress code but casual is probably most appropriate.
Insider info/When to go: They close the entrance 15 minutes before closing time each day."hide