Arzabal Ponzano – one of the liveliest streets in Madrid

From a couple of years back Ponzano has been becoming more and more popular with a wider ranger of places to go get a drink or grab a bite to eat. Actually it has become so popular that you will find swarms of people flocking around both inside and outside making it hard to walk down the sidewalk or to order a drink. There is no doubt that this street is upbeat and fun on any day of the week. Now that it seems that summer is almost upon us, eating out and having a drink outside becomes even more appealing.

The choice is so wide that at times it can be difficult to decide which bars/taverns should be the chosen ones during your bar hopping. There are so many options ranging from places where you can grab a beer or a glass of wine and a tapa to more serious places where you can get a good quality meal. One of my favorites is Arzabal Ponzano run by Álvaro Castellanos and Iván Morales, you might have gone to one of their other restaurants: Arzabal Retiro, Arzabal Reina and one of my favorite Japanese restaurants Kirikata (previously known as A de Arzabal) It has been only a matter of time before they ventured out to trendy Ponzano.

The place is hip and stylish. You can eat either at the bar area or sitting down at one of the tables. It is the kind of places where you can grab some tapas with your friends after work or actually sit down with your parents or clients for a more formal/informal dinner.

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We are all accustomed to their quality standard. Delicious ham croquetas and it is actually a great place if you are in the mood for meat.

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I am a fan of their torrijas… simply perfect and topped off with a scoop of ice-cream. You can’t ask for more.

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Arzabal Ponzano
29 Breton de los Herreros Street
28003 Madrid
Telephone- 915 94 06 90

Etxebarri – on fire

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I visited Etxebarri several years ago and ever since I have been longing to go back. I was marveled by the use of their BBQs, of how they managed to match the right wood to the food, by the tastes and the concept. Finally, I have been able to go back and I was once again enchanted with these fire charmers.

The restaurant has over gone some upgrades since our last visit, going from a country style to a more elegant look. There is a wonderful slab of wood at the center of the dining room, with tall flowers and branches which acts as a feature piece bring the whole area together.

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Extebarri, which is located in Axpe, a small village near Bilbao in the Basque Country, is on of those places, like Lera, which flourishes in what seems to be the middle of nowhere; a gastronomical oasis where foodies peregrinate from all over the world.

You can either order dishes or go for the set menu. We went for the set menu.

Warm vegetable broth, always very soothing in winter

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Bocadillo de chorizo – this is what all chorizo bocadillos should be like

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Goat butter and fresh buffalo cheese with herbs and hazelnuts – we fell in love with both the butter and the cheese

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Anchovy on toasted bread

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A rolled up slice of pumpkin

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Zamburiña – typical shellfish from the north of Spain and very tasty

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Shrimps – when you started eating them you just didn’t want to stop

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Marzuelo mushrooms with an onion broth

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“scrambled” eggs with white truffle – loved this dish with two of my favorite ingredients in the world, egg yolk and truffle

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Fresh chorizo tartar, this was my favorite dish, delicious

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Peas

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Grouper with vegetables

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Beef Steak -this is Fred Flintstones’s type of steak

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Milk ice-cream with beet juice – a great and refreshing dessert

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Pumpkin chocolates

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Hot chocolate and a muffin – the perfect winter snack

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There is no doubt that Bittor Arginzoniz knows his way around the grills, optimizing flavors and bringing BBQ onto a whole new league, making it sophisticated and let’s face it, delicious. We have to remember that Extebarri is ranked number 13 in The World’s Best Restaurants.

Extebarri is one of those places which doesn’t disenchant, on the contrary, it leaves you in awe.

Asador Extebarri

 

Plaza de San Juan, 1
48291 Axpe Atxondo, Bizkaia
Telephone: (+34) 946 58 30 42

Andres Carne de Res – eat and “rumbear”

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“Rumbear” in Colombia means to party and in all of Colombia the ultimate place get down and funky is Andres Carne de Res. But there is more to Andrés than meets the eye. Andrés started off as a small country road stop grill spot back in 1982 in Chia, a town close to Bogotá, but the food was good and the music was even better and it slowly started prospering and adding on to the already existing building until Andrés became what we see today. The business has expanded and there is also Bogotá Andres DC, La Plaza de Andrés and Andrés Express but if you go to Colombia I recommend going to the original one, to the place where it all started. As it is now an institution in itself in Colombia, a touristic attraction much like Monserrate or the Salt Cathedral. Don’t get the wrong impression though, Andrés Carne de Res isn’t for tourists, it is for the locals who constantly go there. So to go to Bogotá and not visit Andrés, well that is to miss out on a much loved placed.

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