Barrio Las Letras is the easternmost barrio in the Centro. The Paseo del Prado is its border to the east and Barrio Chueca (Justicia) is to the north and Barrio Embajdores is to the south. Map of the barrio here, map of Madrid here.
El Lacón (Intermediate B-) 8 Calle Manuel Fernández y González, www.mesonellacon.com
A pretty old tiled bar on a back street. It’s a good place to come if you’re on a budget and quantity is more important than quality.
The food is fine, all B/C, but it’s not a place for gourmets. Five of us came here one evening and ate and drank very reasonably.
Los Chanquetes (Intermediate B), 2 Calle de Moratin, www.tabernaloschanquetes.es
A bullfighting themed place which I was tipped off about by a colleague who recommended coming here for the Rabo de Toro. It was good (B+) but I’ve had better.
I tried a bottle of local Vinos de Madrid red, a Tagonius Roble (B+) For dessert Queso con Membrillo, manchego with quince, always finds favour with me (B+).
Especially with a glass of sweet Moscatel. This one was called Lagrimas del Jabalon (B).
I incurred a reasonable bill of €26.70. It was ok but there are other better places to go to.
And finally a place I’m less keen on:
Tierra Mundi (Elementary C), 32 Calle Lope de Vega
If you’re on a budget I can’t fault this pseudo-Galician place but if you want good quality food, I’d go elsewhere. It’s marked as inexpensive in the Eyewitness Guide so I tried it in the interests of research.
In the spirit of eating cheaply I went for the Menu Nocturna for €10.50
I had a mixed salad with tuna to start which is hard to get wrong although obviously the tuna was not the best (B).
For my main, an only slightly chewy but quite oily veal steak (C+), with a sometimes soggy, sometimes slightly raw portion of patatas fritas (C+) on the same plate.
After tasting a glass of the undrinkable (D) house red (a very young Ribeira Sacra) I thought I’d upgrade to the only half bottle of Rioja (Alta Rio) on the wine list which was marginally better but unfinishable (C+). This seemed to confirm the opinion of some that half bottles are often used to sell inferior wine.
Finally, a slice of apple pie which was mainly dough with a sniff of apple (C-). I opted out of the cream but it might taste better if you had some.
Even my most beloved Spanish digestif Orujo des Hierbas was the most sub-standard version I’ve ever had (C+).
The decor is brash and modern and the service is just ok.
There are lots of other much better places nearby but come here by all means if saving money is important to you. The empanadas and octopus are good according to Eyewitness.
Total cost €25.10, which is hard to beat in expensive Madrid.
Photos from April 2011, February 2014 and February 2016.