Restaurant Vilaplana, Caixaforum

Restaurants and outdoor cafés in Madrid museums


Culinary art

It’s easy to spend a day enjoying culture in Madrid. You have some of the world’s best museums, with several clustered around the Art Walk: just over a kilometre long, it includes the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofía. And new cultural centres are constantly appearing in the capital. The good news is that after a morning or an afternoon immersed in art and culture, many museums have restaurants and outdoor cafés where you can sit and relax, and have a drink or a meal to complete your museum experience. Come with us and nourish your body as well as your soul.

Thyssen Museum. A visit to this art museum, which covers the history of European painting, is strongly recommended. If you’re going in summer it’s even better, because in July and August the Thyssen viewing point is open on the roof, with amazing views of Los Jeróminos and a restaurant serving luxury Mediterranean cuisine. Another different and appealing space is Las Terrazas, with an urban beach club environment. Reina Sofía Museum. After the emotional experience of seeing Picasso’s Guernica in person, it’s good to take a moment and talk about your impressions. The museum has two places to eat. On one hand, the restaurant Arzábal. On the other, the Café Restaurant NuBel, with regular live music sessions.

Café at the Reina Sofía National Art Museum

CaixaForum. The temporary exhibitions are always interesting in this space, which was created by remodelling an electrical plant, and is notable for its huge vertical garden. To take a break while you visit, try the restaurant Vilaplana on the top floor, which sometimes offers themed menus to accompany exhibitions. The idea of eating a Pissarro or Corbusier set lunch sounds like fun. For something lighter, the café offers afternoon tea with a choice of teas and cookies. Costume Museum. A bit further from the city centre, in the Ciudad Universitaria area, the Costume Museum is particularly interesting for fashion fans, as it covers the history of Spanish clothing starting in the 18th century. Its Café de Oriente, with signature cuisine, is surrounded by peaceful gardens, which always makes a meal even better.

Costume Museum, Madrid

Casa Encendida. This is one of the city’s most innovative cultural spaces, and as well as exhibitions, it often presents performance art and concerts. In summer it opens the rooftop bar, a great place for a quiet drink, where you can often enjoy live music or an outdoor movie screening. Matadero. It’s impressive to see how a former abattoir has been converted into one of Madrid’s liveliest cultural centres, with a theatre, the Reading House, a cinema, a design market, etc. If you want to spend the whole day, there are three places to eat: the Café Teatro bar, the Cantina de la Cineteca (with home-made organic food and a lovely courtyard) and an outdoor bar which opens in summer, where there is usually music, art installations, food trucks, etc.

Casa Encendida, Madrid

Círculo de Bellas Artes. As well as its temporary exhibitions, this institution has one of Madrid’s best-known rooftop bars, la Azotea del Círculo, with wonderful views. You can have dinner or a cocktail there, but the best time to visit is during sunset. Museum of Romanticism. Our final suggestion is a charming museum in a mansion, recreating the everyday life of the well-off middle classes in the Romantic period. After your visit, its Café del Jardín is a peaceful oasis. A place to chat, relax, and enjoy home-made cake.

Rooftop bar of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid
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