Cities are discovered through food. We are what we eat. That is why it’s good to know and try Madrid’s traditional specialities to really discover what the city is about. One of its most traditional foods is the bocadillo de calamares, the deep-fried squid sandwich. This classic sandwich is at its best in El Brillante, which you can get to through the square of the Reina Sofía Museum or through the other side, next to the Carlos V roundabout. It may seem like a dry dish but this could not be further from the truth. With a bit of mayonnaise, this sandwich not suitable for those counting their calories goes down a treat, especially with a beer.
Another famous local dish, although not suitable for those on a low budget, are the callos (beef tripe) at Lhardy, which is just a few hundred yards from our hotel on Puerta del Sol. Founded in 1839, it is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Inside you can find abundant Rococo decoration, worthy of a novel of Pérez Galdós, waiters dressed like they used to back in the day and a dish of callos costing approximately 30 euros. You are paying more for the experience than the food, although the callos are still delicious.