Madrid Neighbourhoods: Malasaña – Still Putting the Mad in Madrid?

Bars and Cafes, Malasaña, Shopping in Madrid

by Faye Davies


The mindless graffiti and affable goths seem a lukewarm legacy of La Movida Madrileña (the capital’s post-Franco wild years) which kicked off in Malasaña in the Seventies. However, some of Spain’s cultural revolutionaries (the ones who didn’t die of heroine overdoses) are still to be spotted slinking around the barrio, ensuring that the party spirit lives on. Meanwhile, gentrification has led to some great shopping and eating options.

Drinking: In summer, the Plaza Dos de Mayo is the perfect spot for a caña. In colder weather, try the bars in its vicinity, such as El Maño (C/ Palma 64), which serves good wine in art(y) deco surroundings. For those craving a taste of the Malasaña celebrated in Almodóvar’s early films, La Vía Láctea (C/ Velarde 18) provides a dose of historical hedonism.

Eating: Tasty modern tapas can be gorged at a decent price at Ojalá; but the barrio also boasts some fine international restaurants, such as La Granja de Said (Moroccan; C/ San Andrés 11), La Catrina (Mexican; C/ Corredera Alta de San Pablo 13), Xin (Asian), and Palermo Viejo (Argentinean; C/ San Joaquín 5).

Shopping: One of Malasaña’s main arteries, C/ Corredera Alta de San Pablo heaves with everything from wool (at no. 12) to state-of-the-art trainers (Tabula Rasa, at no. 33); while on nearby streets, quirky boutiques like Ioli (bespoke shoes) and Corachan y Delgado (vintage designer clothes; C/ Valverde 42) are popping up all the time. C/ Manuela Malasaña is great for gifts, and C/ Palma is the street for record shopping.

See map below for the addresses mentioned above (click on the markers!):

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Comment from Graeme
Date: November 20, 2007, 9:21 pm

El Albur, just a bit north of Plaza 2 de Mayo, does good raciones from León. Try the morcilla, it looks like a bowl of mud but tastes delicious. They also do excellent value paellas at weekends.

Comment from Lucy
Date: November 21, 2007, 7:49 pm

Also, Cafe Ruiz, on c/ Ruiz is a beautiful relaxed cafe where you can listen to jazz and enjoy a quiet wine or coffee. I highly recommend it.

Comment from marina
Date: November 22, 2007, 12:29 pm

I really like el Cafe de Ruiz, I used to go there in my early twenties a lot.

Pingback from Where can I find “untouched Spain?” – Notes from Spain: Travel, Living in Spain, Podcasts, Forum and Photos
Date: January 8, 2008, 3:51 pm

[...] You only have to wonder around the barrio of Malasaña in Madrid to find an area that is still timelessly Madrileño, and you just have to stray 2 minutes from the tourist-hell of Barcelona’s Rambla to see the deliciously seedy Raval and feel like you’re on another, much more interesting planet. And you simply have to drive far enough inland from any coastal building site to find those same beautiful hillsides that always looked so raw and ‘Un-European’. [...]