The Serendipitous Discovery of a Lively Tapas Bar in Madrid

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Who needs a concierge when you have a food-loving chambermaid? It was thanks to a friendly Colombian chambermaid at The Principal in Madrid — we fell into conversation when she helped me out with a converter plug for my computer — that I discovered Celso y Manolo, a friendly and lively tapas bar just two blocks from the hotel.

Cocktails and marinated olives from <em>Celso y Manolo</em>
Cocktails and marinated olives from Celso y Manolo - Rosa G./Flickr

Run by the Zamora brothers, who speak English from having worked in NYC in the ’90s, it’s a real neighborhood insider’s place, with a fascinating history. It serves excellent tapas, accepts reservations and has an English menu, which takes the stress out of ordering for a non-Spanish-speaking guest. And it’s the kind of address where you always end up chatting with someone, including, on my recent visit, a curator from the Prado Museum and a retired cop who had lived in Los Angeles for 10 years after having married an American. Back home, I often think longingly of the bocadillo of fried shrimp with aioli served here, but it’s the happy atmosphere and great conversation that I miss most of all.


Read more about our editor’s trip to Madrid

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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