Grazing on Ultra Hip Calle Ponzano

Something is most definitely brewing on the lower (southern) blocks of Calle Ponzano in the Chamberí district, the epicenter of cool and Madrid’s latest trend as it’s become a food Mecca for Madrid hipsters, where chic bars/restaurants sprouted up in 2015 at a vertiginous rate.  Some may be here today and gone tomorrow, but certainly happening Calle Ponzano está de moda.

El Doble
El Doble

Calle Ponzano, from south to north

You have much beloved beer and crustaceans spot, Fide, the gastrobar La Lianta at number 14 and Taberna Averías at No. 16, serving 450 labels of wine.  Beyond the intersection with Bretón de los Herreros there’s the largest space of all, the two-story Factoría de Ponzano, at Calle de Ponzano, 42-44.  You’ll find Toque de Sal, with its Parisian bistro ambiance, at  No. 46, and at No. 48, near the corner of Espronceda, is Le Qualité Tasca, whose market driven cuisine is created from the finest quality ingredients from top producers.  The acclaimed Candeli Restaurante is at Calle de Ponzano, 47.  El Secreto de Ponzano is across the street at No. 48.  Taberna La Vicenta is at Calle de Ponzano, 52.  For traditional pinchos and tapas there is La Carpintería de Ponzano.  El Con Tenedor is at No. 58.  And you can make yourself at home at Casa Fonzo with a 15,50€ menu del diá, which changes daily.  La Tía Feli de Chamberí at Calle de Ponzano, 18, turns into a cocktail bar at night.  

Moving to the left or west side at the beginning of Ponzano, you’ll find Sala de Despiece at No. 11, with interiors mimicking those of a slaughterhouse, then at the corner of Ponzano and Calle José Abascal, at No. 16, the classic beer bar loved by matadors, El Doble, while their second bar,  Cervecería El Doble, is up Ponzano street at No. 58.  La Máquina de Chamberí, at Calle de Ponzano, 39-41, is the new branch of the popular restaurant La Máquina Jorge Juan on Calle Jorge Juan.  DeAtún Ponzano, which specializes in blue fin tuna from Cádiz, is at Calle de Ponzano, 59.  The Lalala and Larrumba Groups opened their new tapas bar Teje y Maneje at Calle de Ponzano, 16, in January 2018, while the Lateral Group opened their new designer space, LTL Barra Lateral, with a large terrace, unique in the area, in April 2019, at Calle de Ponzano, 1.  A new 99 Sushi Bar is now open at Calle de Ponzano, 99. 

The menu at Arima
The menu at Arima

But our favorite spot on Calle Ponzano is one of the benchmarks of Basque cuisine in Madrid, Arima Basque Gastronomy, at Calle de Ponzano, 51, where Donostia-born Nagore Irazuegi is the driving force behind ‘Arima’, which means soul in Basque.  There’s a small L shaped bar and a couple of tables at the entrance and a small dining room in the back with four tables.  Their dishes such as the morcilla Beasain & pikillo, (Beasain morcilla and piquillo peppers) and alcachofa frita (fried artichokes), are delicious.  Try their creative cocktails or one of their outstanding selection of vermouths.  Awarded 1 Repsol sun for 2020.  You must reserve for a table, or arrive early for a place at the tiny bar.  Read the review: Tres restaurantes vascos. Urola, Gu2 y Arima by Carlos Maribona.

morcilla Beasain & pikillo
morcilla Beasain & pikillo
Alcachofa Frita at Arima
Alcachofa Frita at Arima

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