This spring I had the occasion to visit Madrid twice: once for our first Indagare Insider Trip (Read: Just Back From…) and a few weeks later for IN3, a summit for Spanish and American entrepreneurs and investors arranged by US Ambassador James Costos with the participation of the King of Spain and Eric Schmidt of Google. IN3 was a historic occasion for the ambassador to bring together such superstars of the global tech world as Martin Varsavsky of Fon and Ken Howery of PayPal and the Founders Fund as well as major investors and innovators to brainstorm and network. On both visits I discovered even more reasons to love this city, its elegance and its innovation. Among my favorite new discoveries:
The biggest restaurant news in Madrid is the opening of the joint venture of Spanish superstars Rafael Nadal, Pau Gasol, Enrique Iglesias and others who have teamed up to create what they hope will be the ultimate watering hole to represent the Spanish life around the globe. With a stylish, clubby atmosphere (leather banquettes, fireplace nooks and modern Spanish art), Tatel has only been open since May and already reservations take weeks to secure. The chef serves traditional Spanish classics like gazpacho, truffle tortillas and rice and meat dishes and there are plans to export the brand to Ibiza, Miami and London within the year.
Platea The food hall revolution continues to evolve in Spain. The culinary country first transformed their antiquated neighborhood markets into elegant food halls like Mercado San Miguel and Mercado San Anton. The latest iteration, though, takes the glamour a step further with Platea; once the most stylish movie theater in Madrid, it has now been transformed into a five-level temple to cuisine.
Ultramarinos Quintin The forces behind Madrid’s hot spot restaurants El Paraguas and Ten Con Ten have opened a new more casual restaurant that has become the place for lunch in Salamanca. Set in a former corner grocery store, Quintin, as everyone refers to it, serves market-fresh cuisine in a lively setting.
No one can come to Madrid and miss seeing the Guernica in the Reina Sofia, arguably one of the most important paintings of the 20th century, but through the summer the Kunstmuseum from Basel has lent works to Madrid, including ten Picassos on display at the Prado. My favorite of which was one of his harlequins. Tip: Visitors to the Prado should download a great new app called Second Canvas to add a whole new dimension to the experience of seeing the great works here.
Ivorypress Art + Book Madrid is well known for its incredible museums like the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen collection, but on a recent visit I discovered an incredible treasure that is breaking new ground with many of the world’s top living artists. Founded by Madrid native Lady Elena Ochoa Foster, who is the wife of legendary architect Sir Norman Foster, Ivorypress Art + Book defies easy description. Technically it is a press that publishes artist’s books but in reality it is more like an art gallery–cum–think tank because the collaborations that Ivorypress (and Lady Elena herself, who is intensely involved with each) undertakes with artists like Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, Ron Arad and Maya Lin push the envelope of art and knowledge.
In the past year, the city has seen a number of hip design hotels open in former palaces in the city. All merge the historic buildings’ bones with a fresh, fun design aesthetic that works best in the public spaces. All three of our favorites, Hotel Urso (above), Hotel Unico and Only You Hotel, offer special restaurants and/or buzzy scenes with a varying degree of room size and service level.
Madrid remains one of my favorite European shopping cities, because it is home to seriously talented designers who are not seen everywhere, such as Cortana and Aspesi, and also because I always make discoveries whether they are established brands like Cartujano, which just opened on Calle Claudio Coello, or the antiques shop of Entredós. You can find all of these in our shopping section and use our mapping What’s Nearby functionality to create an easy walking guide.
Tip: Uber has been banned from Spain and taxis are quite plentiful but if you would like an on-demand transport option that claims to be 20% cheaper than a taxi, download the free app Cabify.
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