Madrid / La Rioja with the Fam

MADRID / LA RIOJA. It was comforting to have my entire family with me this time for my first week in Spain. We spent most of the week in Madrid, but also drove up to the little town of Rioja for some great tapas and wineries.

It was lovely to come back to Madrid and see some familiar sights. From the Royal Palace to the bustling streets of Gran Via, everything looked almost the same as it did 2 years back. Of course with the fam around, we visited quite a few new places and restaurants.

Fismuler was such a delight. Under the umbrella of the La Ancha Group, Fismuler serves a fantastic fusion of flavours with a twist on classic Spanish ingredients. We particularly enjoyed the seaweed burrata salad and oysters. They also have one of the best table bread & butter i’ve tried – slightly salted, just the way i like it. I will definitely head back there at least once more before i leave this city.

I also brought the fam to a couple of old favourites (unpictured) like Restaurant Bosco De Lobos and Mercado de San Miguel. They managed to get (a ton of) Jamón to bring home too. Aside from that, we had quite a few home-cooked meals in our BnB that i truly miss.

We drove up to La Rioja for just a night in that week and managed to explore two beautiful wineries. Located in Burgos, Bodegas Portia is well-known for their prestigious architecture and Tempranillo variety. It’s structure resembles a three-pointed star (from a bird’s eye view) that is both avant-garde and futuristic. They also have a restaurant that offers exclusive tasting menus. We had a selection of 5 different wines with some tapas. My personal favourite was their white Portia Verdejo and red Triennia.

We also visited the famed Marqués De Riscal that’s a combination of both a vineyard, wine production house and a hotel. If you’re looking to visit this winery, you have to book a tour in advance as they only allow visitors on the tour or hotel guests to visit the grounds of the winery. At just 16 euros per person, it was definitely worth the cost. The 1.5 hour tour takes you through the history of the winery, where you’ll get to learn the the entire wine production process from start till finish. It ends off at the tasting room where you’ll sample 2-3 different varieties of wine with tapas. The luxury hotel is designed by Frank O. Gehry, the same designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao – it was absolutely stunning. A pity we could only admire its exterior architecture, i heard it costs about 400 euros a night to stay in one of their rooms.

We had dinner at a quaint restaurant in Logrono called La quisquillosa. They serve traditional a menu of strong, traditional Spanish flavours but also focus on seasonal produce and ingredients. Our favourite was the grilled sardines (it was a special that evening) and seafood fideua.

I will have more time to explore more cafés and restaurants while i’m in Madrid. Although it’s only been 2 weeks, i’m glad i’ve already managed to find some reliable coffee and comfort food joints in the area. Until the next post!


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I drink too much iced coffee for a single human being.

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