Posted on

Top 10 tapas bars in Madrid

Spain’s capital is awash with tapas bars but how do you find the good ones amid the sea of tourist-traps? Madrid-based food writer James Blick tracks down 10 of the best, from classic bodegas to slick new dining spaces run by young chefs

Were Woody Allen to set one of his romantic European whimsies in Madrid, Casa Gonzalez – with its picture-perfect yesteryear facade, smartly tiled interior and moreish hoard of conserves, cheese and charcuterie – would be a shoo-in for the romantic Spanish bar scene. What’s more, the good-humoured and well-moustached owner Paco (whose grandfather founded the place in 1931) keeps a knockout cellar at this wine bar-slash-deli. Nab a table near the big bay window, load it with jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham, €10.10), cured manchego cheese (€6), and a spicy bottle of red and watch the light fade over the cobblestones outside – a most cinematic start to any tapas crawl.
Calle León 12, +34 914 295 618, casagonzalez.es. Open everyday, Mon-Thur 9.30am-midnight, Fri and Sat 9.30am-1am, Sun 11am-6pm

Continue reading…

Posted on

Greek island holiday guide: the Cyclades

The Cyclades are the picture-perfect Greek islands where whitewashed villages tumble down to azure bays. We explore the famous – Mykonos and Santorini – and smaller islands too
More in the Greek Island holiday guide series

Ask most people to think of the Greek islands and the image that springs to mind probably derives from the Cyclades (pronounced Kyklades in Greek, which does not have a soft “c” sound). Most evocative of these pictures is of white-washed, cuboid houses on a hillside above an azure bay. The houses themselves are dashed with splashes of bright blue, perhaps mixed in with the odd windmill or domed church. This image becomes reality in many places on this rough circle of islands, which provide the perfect venue for island hopping.

In truth, however, the Cyclades consist of a lot of diverse islands with differing cultures and landscapes. It’s impossible to capture them all in a short guide, so will just attempt to point out some highlights.

Continue reading…