Madrid. marginal note

Luxury Travel Tips

Dinner at Santcelonithat at the Hesperia Madrid, it is always a celebration. The local gastro-god is called Santi Santamaria. Here he is in the photo.

He has three Michelin stars. (And at the restaurant Santceloni there are two of them). If I were asked to voice the best, in my opinion, three Spanish chefs, I would distribute the places as follows (I think many will agree with me): first place – of course, Juan Mari Arzak, second place – Ferran Adria , and that’s just the honorable third – Santi Santamariamaster of Catalan cuisine, multiple President of Relais Gourmand and Vice President of Relais & Chateaux.

In principle, Santamaria’s forte is an unconditional, albeit creative, adherence to traditions. In this sense, unlike Adria, you cannot call him a true innovator. Meat on ribs, oysters, spinach, eggplant with seafood… But he cooks these seemingly simple dishes with such subtle nuances that each flavor note is heard more than distinctly, and this gives the dishes a special sophistication. Here’s what I ate yesterday:

duck, mackerel, melon, beetroot, oysters, octopus

This is a cocktail, from left to right: duck, mackerel, melon, beets, oysters, octopus.

And also – veal pancreas. Don’t worry, it’s very tasty.

veal pancreas

I’m definitely going to dine at Santi’s again tonight.

santceloni

But before that, I’ll go to the Royal Palace to look at the collections of porcelain, weapons and musical instruments, as well as the paintings in the Throne Room. In general, Madrid, in my opinion, is one of the most historical cities in Europe (well, apart from Rome, of course). In the sense that history here has been elevated to the rank of a cult national treasure, and these are not empty words. And on Plaza Mayor, and on Calle Mayor, and on Puerta del Sol, and on Neptune Square – the breath of history is felt everywhere. Yes, and in the same Retiro, which I already mentioned last time …

Here, for example, is one of the most beautiful houses in Plaza Mayor. Stunning old frescoes:

One of the most beautiful houses in the Plaza Mayor.  Stunning old frescoes.  Photo by chrisjfry (flickr.com)

And tomorrow I have a trip to the royal residence of El Escorial. This is a palace-monastery built by Philip II in the 16th century. Of course, you will need to put almost the whole day on it – it is huge and there is just an infinity of everything. Renaissance and Baroque paintings, tapestries made according to sketches by Goya and Rubens, a library in which the manuscripts of Blessed Augustine side by side with those of St. Teresa and Alfonso the Wise. But why am I telling you all this? you might ask. Just notes in the margins. And one more thing – so that you also know where to go in Madrid if you have a free day. That’s why. And it’s time for me to leave!

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