by Richard Morley
So you have spent Sunday morning on the steep slopes of El Rastro. You have been all the way to the bottom and now you have climbed back to the top again. You have enjoyed browsing around the stalls, if not the crush of people and having to keep a wary eye out for pick-pockets. Now you fancy a drink, hot or cold, and perhaps a bite to eat.
Just a hundred metres away is the newly remodelled Plaza Tirso de Molino. On Sunday mornings its paved space is home to politicos and environmentalists selling trinkets and texts as well as the usual florists. There you will find the bar that shares its name with the plaza.
Resembling a Parisian bistro straight out of the Belle Epoque, both inside and out is decorated with Toulouse Lautrec(ish) tiled drawings. The bar is long. The tables are chipped and worn. The waiters wear long aprons.
Notes from Madrid reviews are about where we would take our friends. The bar Tirso de Molina is where I take every new visitor to Madrid I meet. No one has failed to enjoy it simple pleasures. One Bostonian film-maker liked it so much he ate all his meals there for his three day stay.
I cannot resist their Chorizos a la Sidra. You get a bowl full of plump sausages in a superb sauce. The Champiñones al Ajillo are a meal in themselves. And once we persuaded them to remove the tuna, my vegetarian guests said the salads were delicious and more than they could eat. The food comes both as either tapas or raciónes (a much larger portion than a tapa) and is very reasonably priced.
But if nothing else, after a hard morning at the Rastro, just sit with some friends over a coffee or a cerveza, regard the Moulin Rouge illustrations, and relax.
Metro: Tirso de Molina. Plaza Tirso de Molina 9. See map below: