El Ambigú. Alcalá de Henares

Christmas dinner 2011: fantastic food, wine flowing fast throughout and free spirits at the end, resulting in a conscious abuse of our indeterminate budget by numerous orders of Talisker 18 year single malt. After all that, I don’t know if I truly am an impartial judge to the joys of El Ambigú. I must go there for a set lunch (12€) to see what it’s like when I’m not half-cut and full of festive cheer, but it just sounds so boring. So maybe someone else can do it for me?


Casa Parrondo. Calle de Trujillos, 9. Madrid

Not only a reliably good Asturian bar and restaurant (split into two locations opposite each other) but very central too, just a stone’s throw from Sol. This is where I had to be advised about the folly of ordering fabada for a late dinner: nocturnal gaseous activity from this meat’n’bean stew would make insomnia inevitable. This is also the place where I saw far too many unsuccessful attempts to pour sidra the northern Spanish way – nonchalantly looking the other way and spilling it from an outstretched arm down to waist level. But Parrondo is one in a million: their blue cheese is fortified and not for the squeamish, their house cider is light and refreshing, and the atmosphere is rowdy at the best of times.

Metro Sol


Lujuria. Calle de Leganitos, 8. Madrid

Halloween night in 2011 saw Lujuria host an energetic night of dubstep and electronic beats and bass-heavy music. The crowd is quite mixed – though on the shadier side – in this club that resembles a cosy former brothel, with its strange long layout and corridor; our suspicion is that that is exactly what it used to be.


Metro Santo Domingo