Tag Archives: Teatro Espanol

Restaurante Casa González — Iconic Cheese and Wine Restaurant in Madrid

2017_081517_3140_396I enjoy passing through Plaza Santa Ana because it is such a historic place, being the site of Teatro Espanol, the oldest theater house in Madrid. Within the plaza, you can find the statue of two of Spain´s foremost writers, and locals of Las Letras, Pedro Calderon de la Barca and Federico Garcia Lorca. I love that the area seems always animated and alive throughout the day. Obviously, such is brought about by the packed bars, cafes, and restaurants situated all over the place.

And just a few blocks from the plaza, along Calle del Leon, is yet another famous restaurant called Restaurante Casa Gonzalez. While online, the buzz is that its popularity is attributed to the fact that it has been the location for a few movies, many have turned to regular diners simply because because they are mesmerized by its picturesque façade.

I in fact, was attracted to it, having encountered a photo of its interior vividly seen through its clear glass walls from the outside. This, with an added romantic element that is a couple seated on a table set near the glass wall and obviously having an intimate conversation.

A bit of history

I learned that it began to serve as early as 1931; and right from the start, it established a reputation of being a cafe restaurant patronized by men of letters, and of the arts. Indeed, I did feel that Casa Gonzalez reeks in proud history — this is what you will immediately experience as you enter the place.

Even then, the restaurant is quite simple in its setting — antiquated enough to warrant some renovations in its designs, perhaps to give off some modern feel.

2017_081517_3252_588The tables are outdated pieces that are wanting of some fresh paint, or replacement altogether. Albeit, I am amused – even impressed – with its framed posters featuring ads of lesser known products

Obviously, the setting is not Casa Gonzalez main selling point, not even a bit. I’m sure it’s proud to offer some the best Spanish comida one could taste. Food blogs would not include the restaurant on their list of finest Madrid tapa bars if this isn’t true. A first timer myself, I am already confident to recommend to any one new in Madrid that they should try the restaurant’s sumptuous food offerings.

What we ordered at Restaurante Casa Gonzalez

We visited the restaurant with the plan to have a taste of its cheeses, which I heard it is famous for. But, then as we arrived, the tostas looked so delectable on the menu board that we ended up ordering them. Anyway, we still had cheese, melted ones atop a plate of tasty racion of lacon.

2017_081517_3421_335Jamon Braseado con Queso (Lacon with melted cheese), 10 euros
2017_081517_3408_336 Pate de Aceituna (Olives Pate), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3355_804Morcillo de Cebolla (Pate de Aceituna), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3331_280Arzua Gallego Fundido Con Membrillo (melted Galician Cheese), 4.50 euros Lacon with cheese, 10.50 euros 2017_081517_3229_276In the front part of the restaurant is a small area where to be found are two tables. At the back is a much larger space for dinners, with some 5 to six tables. Casa Gonzales is conspicuously small, and so, it isn’t surprising to learn that the place gets easily filled up even on week nights, like the evening that we visited. 2017_081517_3203_200Only a few could actually match this resto when it comes to cheese, wine, tosta among other things. As you enter, you will be greeted by its glass display filled with cheeses of all kinds and brands. Cheese is one of the products of Casa gonzales.

Location

12 Calle del León Madrid 28014

Opening Hours:

9:30AM to 12:00PM

Nearby landmarks:

Puerta del Sol, Cibeles, Plaza Sta Ana

Reservations:

No

Price:

20 to 30 euros for two diners

Map:

My Top 10 List of Madrid Theaters and Cinemas

Madrid is a city that never lacks in theaters, concert halls, and cinema houses. Clearly, there must be tons of these entertainment and artistic establishments scattered all over the place, which is a boon to the veritable film buffs and theater goers. Towering and gargantuan or cramp in space, modern or archaic, mainstream or independent, silver screen or the stage — cinemas and theatres of all types imaginable are found in the city. Needless to say, as a movie lover myself, I think it’s just apt that I draw out my own list of Madrid theaters and moviehouses. Here are my top 10:

1. Teatro Nuevo Apolo

imageThe New Apolo Theatre is a well-known and hip entertainment site in the heart of Madrid, located in the Tirso de Molina Square. It is frequented by theater lovers and enthusiasts, and its edifice is well-photographed by tourists passing through the area, being near important Madrid barrios and neighborhoods that also serve as major tourist areas, such as Lavapies, Embajadores, and Puerta del Sol. Apolo offers a variety of theatrical exhibitions as well as music entertainment shows of different genres. It is also a venue for presenting comedy and dance acts. You can find the establishment in Plaza de Tirso de Molina 28012 Madrid, standing at the corner of Calle Magdalena and Calle de Lavapies.

2. El Teatro Real de Madrid

Teatro RealAlso known as Madrid’s Royal Theater in English, the Teatro Real is Spain’s very own opera house, and it goes way back in the 1800’s. Being one of the oldest makes it one of the most important opera houses in the whole of Europe as well. I thought that it is apt to call it the Royal Theater, since it is very near the Palacio Real de Madrid. And since it is in the midst of the city’s tourist areas, this iconic theater is easy to find. The fastest way to the monument is either Calle Felipe V to its right or Calle Carlos III on its left, both of which opens to the Plaza de Oriente, where it is located. At the back of the theater is Plaza de Isabel II.

3. Cine Callao

Cine Callao If you’re raring to watch popular movies but would like to experience classy and nostalgic theater ambiance, the Callao Cinema should be your choice. Located in a strategic spot in Plaza del Callao, in front of Gran via, I never fail to stop to check the movie teasers and ads being flashed on its exterior screen. Just nearby is the Edificio Carrión, along Calle Jacometrezo.

4. Cine Capitol

Capitol Theater at Edificio CarrionStill another revered theater, located near the Cines Calle, is the Cine Capitol. It is a beautiful theater that enhances that part of Gran via, specifically at Edificio Carrion. The cinema is the reason why the Carrion building is also known as Edificio Carrión. It has been operating since December of 1933. The establishment belongs to the movie complex known as the Callao City Lights.

5. Teatro Circo Price

Teatro circo PriceNear the barrios of Atocha and Embajadores is the Circo Price theater, which was originally, as the name suggests, a circus. It was built by Thomas Price in 1853, but was taken down in 1970. In March 2007, the establishment was renovated, resulting in a modernistic facade. This theater holds dear to my heart because a popular Filipino artist, Gary Valenciano (who is partly Latino), held a concert here two years ago. From Estacion de Madrid de Atocha, you only need to walk a few hundred meters via Ronda de Atocha.

6. Teatro Español

teatro espanolAnother theater that exudes typical neo-classic architecture is the Teatro Espanol, known before as Teatro del Principe. Located in the historic Plaza de Santa Ana at Barrio de las Letras, in front of this major Madrid artistic landmark is one of Madrid’s premier hotels, ME by Melia. Tourists from Puerta del Sol, Retiro, Plaza Mayor and even the Palacio de Cibeles are likely to pass through the Santa Ana Square to marvel at this classic theater. An establishment filled with rich history, it is now a public establishment under the administration of the Spanish government.

7. Teatro Calderon

imageA historic theater situated in the heart of Madrid is the Calderón Theater, also known as Teatro Caser Calderón. Popular among Madridenos, you will find it in the corner of Atocha Street, in front of the Jacinto Benavente Square. The edifice is touted to be as one of Madrid’s most beautiful, a proud masterpiece of renowned Spanish architect Eduardo Sánchez Eznarriaga. Before it occupied the location, the site was where the old Trinitarios Calzados convent was found. Currently, the building has become much of an attraction, especially to tourists and visitors to the area, if only because of the gigantic plastic and shapely legs that jot out of one of its top windows.

8. Sala Triángulo

imageAlso known as Teatro del Barrio, Sala Triangulo is a small but frequented theater located within the Lavapies vicinity. It is often the venue of choice of various cultural and artistic events and activities for both the young and adults. It also presents various concert and theater acts, as well as workshops and courses. Plays are likewise featured here, which are productions from both in house and outside companies. Exact location is at Calle Zurita 20 Madrid. The nearest metro stations are Lavapiés and Antón Martín.

9. Cine Doré

imageAnother impressively beautiful theater is the Doré cinema, which is hidden in a narrow street called Calle Santa Isabel 3, in the center of Madrid, at the vicinity of Anton Martin. Opened in December of 1912, it was built and created by illustrious Spanish architects like Críspulo Moro Cabeza and Manuel Lopez-Mora Villega. In the 1980’s, Dore served as the exhibition site of Spanish Filmoteca, intended for the public. Renovations on the building and facade were also made, greatly enhancing its already classic appearance. Additions to the theater were also done, such as the creation of another projection room. Exhibitions were also allowed on its outdoor terrace. Its location is at Calle de Santa Isabel 3.

10. Cineteca

Cineteca, MataderoThe Matadero of Arganzuela, one of Madrid’s centers for arts, culture and entertainment, has its own cinema dedicated to showing independent and alternative films from Spain and all over the world, the Cineteca. If you love non-fiction and documentary films, and want to take advantage of free screenings, it’s time to head to Matadero for some fine Cine teca offerings.

Plaza de Santa Ana – Home to Melia and Teatro Espanol

If you’re unfamiliar with Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Atocha, or surrounding areas, and decided to wander around these places, there’s a chance that you will pass thru  Plaza Santa Ana without even knowing it. This is precisely what happened in my case. From Plaza de Sta Cruz at Atocha, instead of taking my usual route to Plaza del Sol via Calle de Carretas, I turned right to Calle de las Huertas. Passing through Plaza del Angel,  I found myself inside a square, not aware that I’m already at Plaza de Santa Ana. As I head towards Calle de Principe, I realized that I just passed by ME by Melia. I was happy and awed by the sight of the hotel, which I heard is the hotel of choice by tourists who want to live near Sol. (Actually, I imagined Melia to be a hotel of swank, that speaks of grandeur, and is patronized by the rich who wouldn’t not spare any expense just to get the best.)
image Plaza de Santa Ana

Looking around, I see the hotel perfectly complements the plaza. The latter is an enclosed square surrounded by buildings in all sides. Plaza de Santa Ana resembles any typical plaza, except that at most times of the day, it teems with people, presumably a mix of locals and tourists. Melia Hotel directly faces the square, with the statue of Calderon de la Barca accentuating its front area. At the opposite side of the plaza, along Calle del Principe, is the Teatro Espana, touted as the oldest theater in Madrid. As I examine the building, I can’t help but be appreciative of the apparent neoclassical style of its facade.

Plaza de Santa Ana is perhaps one of the busiest plazas I’ve been to. People visit it for a number of reasons. For one, the plaza sees a good traffic of pedestrians walking through to reach surrounding side streets. Also, many consider the plaza as a worthy destination. Droves go there to be awed by the place, check Teatro Espanol to possibly watch current show offerings, and marvel at the statues of Calderon de la Barca and Ferrero Garcia Lorca. A privileged few choose the Melia as their temporary address while in Madrid.
imagePlaza de Santa Ana holds its own against other more popular squares in Madrid as it reeks of prestige and historical significance – and even affluence.

Of course, any square in Madrid is not without its share of terrace cafes and restaurants. Santa Ana has a few good restaurants surrounding it, such as Las 10 Tapas de Santa Ana, known to serve some of the best tapas, and Naturbier, a perfect option for those who crave for some great-tasting beer. Dining areas are extended to a significant part of the plaza’s center. Don’t be surprised if early in the day, you see the establishments, especially those with terrace areas, already bursting with customers. Most do opt for outside dining, since it offers the choice seats to enjoy some sumptious meals while taking advantage of the fine ambiance the plaza offers. Indeed historical Plaza de Santa Ana is an exquisite place to unwind after a tiring day of sightseeing, and cap the night with some sumptuous dinner and coffee or copas.

imageTeatro Español, a landmark of Plaza de Santa Ana, is directly opposite of the luxury hotel, ME by Melia.  A towering fixture at the Plaza de  Santa Ana, it is an edifice of grand design that exudes neoclassicism.

imageME Madrid Reina Victoria or Me by Melia has earned a distinguished reputation in the hotel industry  – this makes it a top favorite of local and international guests. It is also the hotel of choice of first-time visitors of Madrid because it is located in the heart of of the city, and hence near to the capital’s major tourist sites and attractions.

image The Statue of Pedro Calderon de la Barca, a man of letters and theater, stands in front of Melia Hotel at Plaza de Santa Ana. Calderon is recognized as one of the best Baroque writers of Spain during the Golden Age.

image The statue of Federico García Lorca facing the Teatro Espanol. Lorca is a well-known artist, playwright and major proponent of Spain’s 20th Century theater and literature

image Señor guitarist serenades dinners at Plaza de Santa Ana