Monthly Archives: August 2017

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2017_081517_3252_588The tables are outdated pieces that are wanting of some fresh paint, or replacement altogether.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:

Mercadillo de Tetuan – Madrid’s Other Sunday Street Market

2017_073014_4623_061I had been to El Rastro a few times, like twice or thrice, roaaming Plaza de Cascorro and Rivera de Curtidores, among other important streets of the market. And every time, it never failed to fascinate it. It is not just a market, but more of a huge, open-air art and novelty gallery. This street market is situated within the boisterous neighborhood of La Latina, probably one of Madrid’s most eccentric barrio, together with Lavapies.

Rastro is popular for being one of the few Madrid street flea markets, and like the rest, here is where you could find almost anything that want and need, sold at dirt-cheap prices. Open full-blast on Sundays, it is a major go-to Madrid destination, and a must-see for both locals and tourists alike.

Mercadillo de Tetuan — Another must-visit market in Madrid

Of course, El Rastro is not only the weekend market in the city where you can enjoy some budget shopping. There is the Mercadillo de Tetuan, located in the neighborhood that bears the same name  – a place the attracts throngs of excited, would-be buyers every Sunday.

I am much nearer to the Tetuan Market, my apartment being just a few blocks away from it. Yet ironically, I had been there only twice, including this latest visit of mine.

While El Rastro appears as a labyrinth (hence, there’s a great chance that you will lose your way with one wrong turn), where you’d be surprised that even the narrow inner streets have a lot to offer, Mercado de Tetuan is much easier to check out as everything is conveniently laid out along the length of Avenida de Asturias. In less than half an hour, you would have traversed its whole length, starting at Plaza de Castilla (near Via Castellana Hotel) to its other end, which is within walking distance to La Vaguada mall.

What to buy

The market boasts of a wide variety of goodies, and a large percentage of them are clothing, shoes, and home accessories. The market offers affordable necessities, which makes it one of Madrid’s weekend center of attraction. Needless to say, all roads lead to the Mercado de Tetuan during Sundays, where people enjoy only the best buys.

2017_073012_2354_756Take the metro line 1 or line 10 and get off at Plaza de Castilla station. Seen partially in the photo is the Gates of Europe or Puerta Europa

2017_073012_2326_733Shirts and blouses for women and camisas for women are sold at 3 euros for 2 pieces. Similar stalls are aplenty so you do have a lot of choices. You you need to do is have the patience to rummage through piles of clothing
2017_073012_2247_901Football shirts, scarves, flags, key chains and other accessories, anyone?
2017_073013_4401_937One look at the fruits and vegetables and you’d say they are of the freshest quality. Those who need goodies to fill up their refs and kitchens can check these stalls found at the far end of Avenida de Asturias
2017_073014_4201_763I encountered a stall that sells bird cages, pet food and accessories2017_073014_4428_934A number of stalls entices more customers than the others because of the attractive wares that they offer, like the one above displaying psychedelically designed and colored bags.

How to go there:

Remember that the market opens only on Sunday, from 10AM to 3PM. But, as early as 7AM, vans containing loads of goods are everywhere, and stall owners are rushing to prepare their wares for the expected influx of prospective buyers.

Going to Mercadillo de Tetuan is easy. Plaza de Castilla Metro Station is nearby, and accommodates Lineas 10, 9, and 1. Numerous EMT buses use the plaza as their parada, including 27, 42, 49, 67, 107, 70, 129. Autobuses such as 147 and 5 passes through the area as well.