Madrid – killing time in Atocha

Atocha is Madrid’s main train station, which means I often spend a lot of time there, waiting to catch a train to somewhere else, after getting off the plane in Barajas. Google map here.

Naturally my thoughts turn to food. What can I eat while I’m waiting? There are two options, one up market, one down. I usually go for the down market choice; a big Bocadillo de Calamares (fried squid ring sandwich) at El Brilliante (other dishes are available) which is a short walk over the road (my post here).

Sometimes you might want something a bit more refined, in which case you should try this place in the station itself…

Samarkanda Restaurant (High Intermediate B), Estación de Atocha, Glorieta de Carlos V, www.restaurantesamarkanda.com

Samarkanda is on a terrace overlooking the botanical garden that now inhabits the interior of the old station.

There is an inside area with air conditioning but I quite like this table right next to the balcony rail. It feels like your sitting in a greenhouse but I’m happy to put up with it as I can look over the lush greenery and watch the antics of the terrapins in the pools.

The food is good (B) if a little overpriced. I had the 30€ ‘Menu Verano – El Sabor del Tomate’ which started with a huge salad of beef tomatoes and red onion that could have fed four (C). I enjoyed the grilled bacalao with squid ink linguine though (B).

And I quite liked the dessert made to look like a main course with cherry ice cream hiding inside a false tomato. The chips and the cream were a deconstructed bread and butter pudding (B+).

Or if you don’t want to eat, you could just come for a drink at the bar if you prefer.

And if you’re not hungry, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is just behind El Brilliante.

And that was my last trip to Spain in 2018. Now for Vienna!

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