La Caleta

WordPress gives you various information about visitors to your blog: which pages they read and which country they were in and if they came by way of a google search, what they were googling that led them to your blog. The other day someone found my blog by searching pie drinking porn. I imagine he or she must have been very disappointed with my recipe for oxtail shepherd's pie. And people looking for hot lesbian badgers are going to be equally disappointed with this post.

La Caleta has been around for qute a few years but recently moved up the hill from Calle Tres Peces to Calle Santa Isabel and into a huge space that used to be an Indian restaurant. Calle Tres Peces is undergoing quite a change these days…what used to be the most depressing old man bar el aperitivo has been done up nicely in the way these places are transformed by dimmed lighting, half decent music and decent free tapas. Opposite is la infinita….book shop cafe with wifi. Don't order the house white…i have a glass of it in my hand at the moment and it's ropey to say the least.

Back to La Caleta. It's a gaditana bar which means it's a Cadiz themed place. Massive picture of Camarón on the wall as you walk in. Videos of Camarón on big screen at the back. If you've never listened to La Leyenda del Tiempo then I beg you to do so.

Cadiz is also famous for battered and fried fish which is served in paper. Sound familiar? Battering was invented by the Phoenicians apparently and Cadiz was a Phoenician city. There you go. I'm not sure when the English got into battering.


I order a racion of the bienmesabe. This is chunks of cazón, a sort of flat shark (rock salmon in english..if you've ever heard of that) which is cut into chunks and battered. The batter definitely has a bit of cumin in it. Bienmesabe is one of those things that is great when done well, and appalling when, more often than not, fucked up. A bit like the way a pint of Guinness can be the best thing in the world, or quite the opposite. I ordered it as I assumed it would be ther stock in trade as a Cadiz style bar. Very nice.

Not cheap though, that racion and a doble of beer was 13€

Now….to cruise the internet for sexy young ferrets covered in gravy


mercado san fernando

Following the recent trend for doing up markets in the city, like the san miguel in austrias and san anton in chueca, the people’s republic of lavapiès has done the same with the mercado san fernando. I get the impression that this new incarnation has been…incarnated…without what might be left from taxes after the PP has creamed off their cut.

As well as a host of new stalls and bars, they’ve got new opening hours…no more closing for a couple of hours in the afternoon and it’s even open on saturdays and sundays.

Lavapiès seems to be at the forefront of the new “real ale” movement…well, not exactly real ale…widening horizons from mahou and….err…mahou sin alcohol…to…other beers. There’s a bar on calle argumosa called el pedal which claims to carry 200+ beers…and in the mercado there’s a shop selling all sorts of beers…german wheat beers to british IPAs…if you can’t wait to get your new beer purchase home, you can drink it there. Big bottles of german weizenbier are about 2,50€

There’s all your normal market stalls such as fishmongers and greengrocers…as well as delis selling weird foreign products

…like mint sauce, apple sauce and dijon mustard. Looking at the price he’s selling his coleman’s for…i’d guess he won’t be open that long. He does lemon curd too.

There’s a place that sells ready made greek food and greek products. There’s also a bar that sells wine by the litre from large vats

As well as the new places, there’s still the traditional old boy bars

…cañas in all the traditional bars seem to be 1,20€ including a tapita.

Just another place that adds to Lavapiès’ reputation as “the best barrio in madrid”

Sunday caña crawl

Decided to leave the house and cross the rubicon of Gran Via to see if a café’s claim, backed up by a friend of mine, that they served the best coffee in Madrid was true. Toma cafè on calle palma. Teeny tiny place which wasn’t helped by a couple of bikes being parked in there. Group of six americans and a trendy japanese couple filling the place meant I had to get my coffee “to go”

Coffee was good and was nice to see those two great nations putting their histories behind them and choosing to ignore each other and enjoy their coffees instead. Best in Madriz? Iunno to be honest, it was good but i made a tactical error and took a cappuccino…think i’d need my usual cortado to truly make a judgement. I should fall on my sword like Brutus.

So, i found myself in a part of town I don’t frequent too much and thought…instead of studying, why don’t I throw lager beer and free tapas down my throat instead? I couldn’t come up with a decent point against this proposal, so that’s what i did.

First stop: La Pomerada

A bit incongruous in an area that would like to think it had its hipness turned up to 11. Asturian place. Marca to read, telly in the corner. Caña for 1,40€ and decent free tapa. There’s a comedor out back and their menu del dìa was advertised at 12€…which ain’t bad for a sunday

Taberna de Abajo

On a street parallel to the last one. Old skool. Barman has no voice. Judging by the silk scarf he wears around his throat, it’s something medical…or he’s very gauche and chooses not to speak. Must be hard in his line of work.. He has crabs too. And clams and percebes. I just got a small plate of crisps as a tapa though. The spanish can’t say “crisps” it’s a consonant cluster which doesn’t occur in spanish…actually,i can’t think of any that do….so it comes out as “crips”….obviously not a worry for our barman as he can’t speak. Caña was 1,40…which ain’t easy when you can only communicate with fingers. I’d be tempted to make them either 1€ or 2€

Bodegas El Maño

An old favourite. Not much to say. Paella as a tapa, 1,40€ for the caña. Couple of decent old skool places on same part of the same street. Possibly my caña goggles had kicked in at this point as was a group of women of a certain age who were very attractive. And i’m almost exactly that age!

Carmencita bar

Seems to be american run. Doing a roaring trade in brunch and burgers. Mimosas are bucks fizz to us, and they were serving them in jugs. I do approve of that. Caña was 1,40€….but the tapa was mixed nuts! (Add your own ” for fucksake”)

Decided to head back to la republica de lavapiès

Stopped for a drink near anton martin martin. I couldn’t actually remember the name of the bar…but i googled “perroflauta bar anton martin” and it was the first choice…that tells you enough…


Not much to say. Perroflauta is the spanish for crusty. Perro=dog, flauta=recorder. Nice enough in there, though i don’t think i got a tapa.


Not the shit one on cava baja, the one just off the top of calle ave marìa. Turned my nose up at offer of crips or olives as a tapa. Beer goggles fully functional. Fell deeply in love with a woman in a tartan skirt and boots.

Vinícola Mentridana

An old favourite. Wine bar. Vermouth on tap.

Bar that used to be called los nogales but iunno now

One of the best examples of a shitty old man bar that has been taken over by people with either enough taste or not enough money to fuck it up. Turn the lights down a bit, hummus as a tapa, couple of comfortable chairs, rolling gnomes instead of el fary and bob’s your giddy aunt.

Tapa was russian salad on bread and some olives. Barmaid was doing a good deal of talking to herself. Although she could’ve been talking to my food

Almost home…O’Pazo de Lugo

Opposite my gaff. Inscrutable old gallego barman and to offset that, a very friendly young cuban barman. Prawns always there as a tapa. Neil diamond was playing. Not live, obviously.