by Katie Goldstein
One of the more under-the-radar neighborhoods in the center of Madrid is what I like to call Conde Duque, the area between Malasaña to the east and Calle Princesa to the west. The barrio, which a friend of mine says feels “like a pueblo” (like a village) is perfect for an afternoon’s wandering: full of character as well as places to eat, drink, shop, and get some culture. Probably the best way to explore is to go and wander the narrow streets and welcoming plazas, but below I’ve provided some tips on where to go if you prefer a little direction.
- Culture: The Centro Cultural Conde Duque, in what used to be a military barracks, is one of Madrid’s great exhibition spaces and a cultural center in every sense of the word.
- Ethnic food: Calle San Bernardino is home to multiple restaurants from around the world, including Rey de Tallarines (quite good Chinese), Siam (Thai), a Mexican, an Indonesian, and many more.
- American food: Surprisingly enough there are two American restaurants in the area, Peggy Sue’s diner, an authentic (and tiny) 50s-style diner, and the classier Gumbo Ya-Ya, with its Creole cuisine and delicious homemade desserts.
- Croquetas: The best I’ve ever had are at La Tabernilla de Amadeus on the lovely Calle Cristo.
- Leather: Taller Puntera is a leather workshop also on the tiny Calle Cristo. They make and sell bags, wallets, belts, etc. in great colors.
- Terrazas and plazas: The Plaza de las Comendadoras (above) is home to several terrazas, a small playground, a convent, and plenty of open space. The tiny Plaza de los Guardias de Corps, opposite the entrance to Conde Duque, has a terraza, benches, and plenty of moto-parking.
- Cafés: Two of the most pleasant places to sit inside and have a warm drink or cocktail are El Jardín Secreto and Café La Palma
See the map below to locate all of these places (click on the blue markers for details!):