So you have a date and you want to impress. Where should you go to make sure that your night is unforgettable? I am here to help and these are my memorable Madrid hotspots.
Warning: none of these places are incredibly cheap, they are more bordering on the pricey side. I have thrown in a few free date ideas for good measure at the end.
Dans le Noir
This restaurant is a dining experience in complete darkness, to give you a culinary experience that raises awareness of the challenges that sight-impaired people face. Dinner here is sure to be an unforgettable experience but it isn’t recommended for those who are claustrophobic.
The waiting staff are sight-impaired and they escort you through a door and encounter the darkest pitch blackness beyond your expectations. You are guided to your seat and served delicious small dishes of Spanish fusion cuisine. I advise you to eat with your fingers as eating with cutlery in complete darkness is quite a challenge.
After the meal, you are escorted back into the brightness of the bar and you are asked to guess the foods that you have tried. This unique concept exists all over Europe and gives you a unique dining experience that I would highly recommend. You will never take your vision for granted again!
Dinner from 30 euros upwards.
Dans le Noir, Plaza de Biombo 5.Nearest metro: Opera
Ana La Santa
One of my favourite restaurants because it is cool, stylish and soundproofed. No more shouting across the table to make your voice heard, here the acoustics allow you to have an intimate conversation without the clamour of other diners and that is something very unusual in Madrid. Great Spanish food and it’s a perfect place for a tea or coffee. If you go there for dinner you can head up afterwards to their terrace bar for some post-dinner cocktails.
Ana La Santa, Plaza de Santa Ana.
Nearest Metro: Tirso de Molina
Club A de Arzábal
I’ve saved the most expensive and most clandestine to last. This restaurant is a truly clandestine, and is tucked away near Retiro. There is no sign on the door and you need to book in advance to be allowed in. It’s an exclusive and pricey Japanese restaurant in the basement with meals costing around 45 euros per person. On the ground floor, there is a cocktail bar with cocktails from 10 euros upwards.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample the dinner menu but only had a cocktail there and this is one that will surely impress if you are looking for something unique for a special occasion.
A, Calle Antonio Acuña, 19.
Nearest metro: Retiro
After dinner drinks
1862 Dry Bar
This bar is one of my all-time favourites for cocktails, not too sweet or sickly and balanced to perfection by the mixologists. The bar itself oozes style and has a basement when the upstairs bar is too crowded. In the last few years, it has become incredibly popular for its incredible cocktails. Try to go early to avoid the crowds.
Cocktails from 9 euros upwards.
1862 Dry Bar, Calle Pez 27.
Nearest metro: Noviciado
Funky, comic-inspired cocktail bar in Huertas with a creative, bright and surprising cocktail menu. It’s a good idea to come early as this place often has queues lining up outside to get in. I highly recommend this as a great cocktail place with an eclectic style.
Cocktails from 10 euros upwards.
Salmon Guru, Calle Echegaray 21.
Nearest metro: Anton Martin
Gingko Sky Bar
With views of the iconic Madrid skyline over Plaza de España, this is THE place to watch the sun go down and take in the city views. There is also a restaurant and the prices are a little on the high-end. They have cocktails but they tend to be quite sweet so for me, this is not a winner for a cocktail but more as a place to have a glass of wine and wow your date with the stunning views.
Cocktails from 10 euros upwards.
Gingko Sky Bar, Plaza de España Hotel, Plaza de España 3.
Nearest metro: Plaza de España
I stumbled on this place on my birthday by sheer luck. Having had dinner in Recoletos we looked around for a place to have a drink and we found a bar with a solitary barwoman. We asked if she would serve us at this hour and she pointed downstairs and told us we could get a drink there, leading us through a dark curtain and in through a secret door, we descended into a cellar which was a speakeasy with custom cocktails and quirky style.
If you want a unique bar that is a best-kept secret, this is the place!
Club Clandestino, Calle Cid 1C.
Nearest metro: Colon
If you don’t’ want to spend a fortune but you want to surprise, this place is a gem. During the day it is a hipster furniture shop and by night it is a retro bar. The bar itself is made from parts of an aeroplane and the bathroom is an antique lift.
Quirky and eclectic this trendy bar has been a favourite of Madrileños for many years and is sure not to break the bank.
Kikkekeller, Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo, 17
Nearest metro: Tribunal / Callao
Last but not least, Barbara Ann in Alonso Martinez is a great little place for cocktails with great music. The cocktails are good, it’s usually pretty quiet during the afternoon and is a perfect place to have a break on a lazy Sunday.
Barbara Ann, Calle Sta. Teresa, 8
Nearest metro: Alonso Martinez
Jardin de Salvador Bachiller
Tucked away at the top of the Salvador Bachiller store near Callao is the beautiful garden. This is a beautiful little gem with a winter greenhouse coffee shop for those colder days. The prices are a bit exorbitant for coffee and cake but it has its charm and is a winner for a date.
Jardin de SB, Calle de la Montera 37.
Nearest metro: Callao
This gorgeous, homey cafe has great cakes and food and is a perfect place for the cooler days in Madrid. It often gets very crowded since it became popular some years ago, so I recommend an early arrival or booking in advance.
The place has a gorgeous, cozy feel and I promise you will feel very much at home!
MUR Cafe, Plaza Cristino Martos, 2
Nearest metro: Plaza de España
As most of my recommendations are a little pricey and upmarket, I have thrown in some free activities for the daytime which make a perfect date.
Parque del Capricho – This charming park near Suanzes metro is beautiful, with a lake and manicured gardens. Perfect for a lazy day rolling around on the grass. It would be a perfect place for a picnic but they inspect your bag to make sure that you are not bringing in any food or drink.
La Tabacalera – This graffiti haven is situated near Embajadores and used to be an old tobacco factory. I wrote a whole post about it! One of my favourite hidden places to visit in Madrid.
The peacocks at Retiro Park – Did you know there are peacocks in Retiro Park? In the hidden garden of Cecilia Rodriguez towards the back of Retiro there is a flock of friendly peacocks. Most Madrileños don’t even know about it!
So that’s all this week for my best-kept secrets! I hope you enjoy my suggestions.