I recently spent a few days with my daughter in Madrid, and while we had many highlights (among them visiting with the US Ambassador at the newly renovated embassy, seeing a Real Madrid game with goals scored by Ronaldo and watching a dance performance in front of Picasso’s Guernica), the biggest surprise for me was how fun the shopping was. We arranged for a personal shopper through our favorite Spanish partner, and she took us to some of her favorite spots in Salamanca as well as the trendy neighborhood of Chueca.
In Salamanca, the area around Calle Serrano is where the luxury brands are concentrated but its neighboring streets have some wonderful Spanish labels that are worth hunting down. A few blocks away you can stop for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Madrid. El Paraguas serves delicious food—don’t miss the morels to begin with—at lovely rooms inside or, in good weather, on tables under umbrellas on the street.
And some of the best shopping in the city is on offer in the charming passageway Callejon de Jorge Juan right around the corner. If I only had an hour for shopping in Madrid, this is the street to hit for stunning Spanish fashion. Boxcalf, a leather maker from Bilbao, sells gorgeous bags, scarves and clothing in an airy space that resembles a Spanish Hermès boutique. Just down the street is Pedro Garcia, Spain’s answer to Manolo Blahnik for the high-quality of its shoes and the contemporary aesthetic. Across the way are the hard-to-resist fashion boutiques of Angel Schlesser and Cortana. Also on the street is fun gift shop IOU Gift Store.
The funky neighborhood of Chueca reminded me of the East Village fifteen years ago with a mix of paint-peeling electrical parts shops, ancient looking bars where men sit drinking Vermouth, dusty bric-a-brac stores and here and there—like a breath of fresh air—a hip, newly painted fashion boutique scattered amidst them. Wander the streets around Plaza Chueca including Argensola and Barquillo and you will come across treasures like Lemoniez (Calle Fernando VI 11 4 i), Colour Nude, Malababa and Mott as well as others. When you are hungry, head to Cisne Azul, a hole-in-the-wall that is famous for its mushrooms or duck into Poncelot for some of the tastiest cheese shopping you can experience.
Read Indagare's Destination Guide to Madrid.
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