There are more reasons than you think to return to the Plaza de Oriente


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Remember. How long have you not been in the Plaza de Oriente? And, no, we are not referring to when you cross it on the way to La Latina, to the parties of Las Vistillas or to a concert in the Riviera. Seriously, how many years can it make you not stay there for a snack or coffee?

The 'city taken' syndrome that many European capitals suffer from is attacking Madrid on its western flank and armies of tourists moving on segways, scrooser or any vehicle prepared to roll on its cobblestones. That is why Madrid and Madrid have not felt the Palacio neighborhood, that Madrid of the Austrias of monumental architecture and souvenir shops, as their own for a long time.

Uno de los rincones de la Boulangerie y Patisserie Santa Eulalia, en el número 12 de la calle Espejo.

One of the corners of the Boulangerie and Patisserie Santa Eulalia, at number 12 of Espejo street. © Marta Sahelices

Well, not everything is so white, nor everything is so black, you just have to walk through its squares and alleyways in time, open your eyes and locate those places that either still keep their essence intact or, well, they have mutated towards modernity in order to adapt to the new times.

On this particular route through the outskirts of the Plaza de Oriente we have come across idyllic cafes in which to eat handmade cakes, restaurants where the views are as important as the seasonal product and bookstores that well deserve a calm visit.


French pastries and high pastry is what you will find on the other side of the counters of the Boulangerie and Patisserie Santa Eulalia. In this bakery - where specialty coffee and bread with organic flours and natural yeast stand out as much as their muffins, brioches and tartlets - it is not necessary to indicate that the elaboration is handmade, you will see it with your own eyes through the crystals that They separate the workshop from the cafeteria area.

The delicious creations are the work of the pastry chef José Alberto Trabanco, formed in Le Cordon Bleu, and the space has been updated with an industrial aspect, but respecting structural elements of the building, such as wooden beams or medieval walls and exposed brick.

Coldbrew. Tanzania origin. 8hrs infusion. Photo By @oscarcarrascosa A shared publication by Santa Eulalia Patisserie (@st_eulalia) on Jun 14, 2017 at 9:37 PDT

Several are the special corners of the Boulangerie and Patisserie Santa Eulalia, such as the cafeteria bar, stocked with specialty coffee prepared by expert baristas, or the chocolate shop, which feeds on cocoa also of origin.


La Lonja del Mar is not a newcomer to the neighborhood, but its renewed appearance, updated by interior designer Nacho García Viñuesa, and its French- style cuisine practiced by chef Fernando Negri.

"My dishes are rooted in traditional cuisine. The most important thing is the product and the quality, and here the fish and seafood arrive practically straight from the fish market: Denia prawn, Menorca parrots …", comments the chef referring to the freshness of its main raw material.

The owners of La Lonja are also members of the Serpeska company, with a position in Mercamadrid, so the product of the sea they serve at the restaurant table is actually the best they receive in the market.

Vieira braseada con crema de calabaza y queso azul, en el restaurante La Lonja del Mar, con vistas al Palacio Real.

Scallop braised with pumpkin cream and blue cheese, at La Lonja del Mar restaurant, overlooking the Royal Palace. © The Sea Market

Already in the room, the director of La Lonja, Carlos Gutiérrez, will go out of his way to make the experience as comfortable as possible so that you only have to dedicate yourself to enjoying the incredible views of the Royal Palace - the restaurant is located in the same square from the East - and from the intense and honest flavors of scallops braised with pumpkin cream and blue cheese, crab lasagna, piparras and herring roe or Siberian sturgeon with lemon cream, pak choi and raspberry.


Next to the Lonja del Mar is the La Mar seafood tavern, a gastronomic space of the same property, but somewhat more relaxed. Here the specialty is the casual tapas to share and the rice paddies (whose broth is made responsibly with the scrapes and heads discarded in the fish market).

With a fun aesthetic of an old Madrid tavern, with very traditional hydraulics and paintings, the bar is the main protagonist of the place, perfect for taking some rods or a homemade vermouth macerated with 20 spices.


Ten years has just completed the bookstore La Buena Vida, located on Calle Vergara 5, a quantitative anniversary that has a lot to do with a qualitative interest in "fleeing tourism, which is why we are a specialized in independent literature", confirms to me Jesús Trueba, its owner.

Taberna marinera La Mar, donde tapear y tomar un delicioso arroz marinero.

Taberna Mariner La Mar, where tapas and have a delicious seafood rice. © The Sea Market

In this delicious space where books coexist with flower wall paper, old maps and wooden rocking chairs, you can have coffee, tea or a good wine.

Jesus also organizes different periodic activities with which to loyalty to his clientele, from poetry and reading clubs, in which in addition to analyzing the content of the book, the author is spoken, of the time … to film clubs, in which It is easier to watch movies legally, then meet and analyze and review sequences or chat about the characters.

Bello rincón de la Librería La Buena Vida, donde tomar un café, un té o un vino.

Beautiful corner of La Buena Vida Bookstore, where you can have coffee, tea or wine. © Marta Sahelices


It is true that the most striking thing about the area is the infinity of souvenir shops that invade their lows with flamenco magnets, colored fans and shawls of Manila with embroideries of doubtful manufacturing, however, if we pay a little attention we can discover small hidden gems in the form of traditional shops or craft workshops.

This is the case of guitar maker Mariano Conde. For 103 years, this family saga has been working on the woods of Spanish cypress, German spruce pine and African ebony, among many others, to give it the shape of a pulsed string instrument. Two months usually take father and son (3rd and 4th generation of builders) to manufacture the 'MC', which can be commissioned with personalized details and names (from € 2, 000).

María Herrera, owner of Ars Antiqva, a shop specializing in "music -mal call- ancient", because it is actually Baroque and Renaissance music " tells me, which sells scores, books and instruments with pulsed string, some of them with gut string" very characteristic of these times ".

Instrumentos de cuerda pulsada del Barroco y Renacimiento, construidos por Ángel Espejo, de Ars Antiqua.

Pulsed string instruments of the Baroque and Renaissance, built by Ángel Espejo, of Ars Antiqua. © Marta Sahelices

The small place, located at number 2 of Independence Street, might seem like a redoubt of accessories for musicians and students, but what usually happens when you stop for a second and start a deep conversation with a merchant is that you discover that from his little microworld this may be changing the world with capital letters and you without knowing it.

It turns out that people had been playing Vivaldi badly for a long time. Yes, how do you hear it. Ars Antiqva, together with Olivier Fourés, is now in charge of editing the instrumental work of the Venetian composer and they have corrected the editing and transcription criteria committed by the previous publishing house.

"They were quite outdated, in addition, our contribution is that when the musician receives the score you can immediately play it. As Vivaldi composed it, without interpretations, but in modern notation. We also include parthelas for the rest of the group's members.", explains the owner, who, from an alley in Madrid's Palacio neighborhood, with her husband, builder of the instruments they sell in Ars Antiqva, has revolutionized the international music scene.

Ah! And why not, in addition to taking home these new knowledge and sensations, you do not take a bouquet of flowers from the La Real florist (Independence, 1), in order to have the memory that once you were in the Plaza de Oriente and You liked it so much that, we are sure, it will not take long to return, as we have done.

Floristería La Real, donde comprar un ramo de flores que te recuerde lo mucho que te gusta pasear por el barrio de Palacio.

Floristería La Real, where to buy a bouquet of flowers that reminds you how much you like to stroll through the Palacio neighborhood. © Marta Sahelices

A un lado de la plaza de Oriente se encuentra el Palacio Real, al otro, el Teatro Real.

On one side of the Plaza de Oriente is the Royal Palace, on the other, the Royal Theater. © Getty Images