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Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. She also raises olives and makes oil in Tuscany, providing firsthand experience for her forthcoming book about olive oil.

added about 1 year ago

There are loads of wonderful restaurants in Madrid but if you're traveling on a student budget you might want to be careful of the very high end places. Still, I would recommend, if the wallet permits, El Pescador on calle Ortega y Gasset in the elite Salamanca district, one of the greatest seafood restaurants in the world (and they have a lot of competition in seafood-loving Spain); telephone 91-402-1290; try if they're in season the percebes (goose barnacles) and the anguillas (baby eels fried with garlic), or just a plain salt-baked daurade or bream. Next up Casa Lucio, also on the pricey side, at calle Cava Baja 35, just off the very central, and very beautiful, Plaza Mayor, for an utterly classic and traditional Spanish meal from the thinly sliced jamon iberico you start with to the sumptuous flan to finish. But then, when you've spent all your money, you'll want to retreat to a tapas bar where you can control the selection and the pricing more easily. My favorite is Estado Puro, Paco Roncero's hip, modern take on traditional tapas. It's at Plaza Canovas del Castillo 4, just across the broad avenue from the Prado museum. Spend a morning looking at Velazquez, Goya, Breugel, and other splendors in the museum, then retire to Estado Puro to refresh and invigorate before you go on.