Many of Spain’s main museums, located in major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia, are also home to restaurants whose menus are pure imagination. Come and discover galleries where the works of art are not only to be found on the walls.
One destination not to be missed is Madrid, the Spanish capital and one of the world’s most important artistic centres. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is situated in the so-called “art triangle”. A walk around this gallery, which covers the history of European painting, is a wonderful experience in itself, while savoring a dish at its café-restaurant, set in a beautiful garden, is something simply not to be missed.
Can you imagine trying dishes such as “Majorca Abstraction” or “Catalonian Landscape”? These are the names of two dishes that the restaurant created for an exhibition on Miró. We would recommend a visit to this museum in summer, because on June, July and August nights you can also discover its “Mirador” – a wonderful rooftop terrace where you can sample delicious Mediterranean cuisine whilst enjoying stunning views of the city.
Also in Madrid, and just a few minutes’ walk from the Thyssen, is another of its most important museums, the Reina Sofía National Art Museum. It has a restaurant with interior design that fits in perfectly with the gallery’s vision of modern and contemporary art.
Their promotional slogan says it all: “edible creativity”. To complete the visit to the “art triangle”, don’t miss the amazing Prado Museum, which also has a pleasant restaurant – “Café Prado” – and a terrace that opens from March to October. It is perfect for relaxing after enjoying the spectacular artworks on display in this museum.
For one last proposal in Madrid, we would suggest a restaurant that is very fashionable at the moment, at the Costume Museum. After looking at its wonderful collection of clothing (some items go back as far as the 16th century), what could be better than savouring the flavours of its restaurant. The Lezama Group offers a menu based on the most modern Basque cuisine.
We now head to northern Spain, to the Basque Country, specifically to its famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. If the building, designed by Frank Gehry, is in itself a tribute to the avant-garde, then its exceptional choice of restaurants is no less. Come with your nearest and dearest and share the gastronomic pleasures of haute cuisine at Nerua restaurant, awarded a Michelin star and managed by chef Josen Martínez Alija. What would you like? An exquisite aperitif or a dish of grilled red chicory, with shellfish consommé and grapefruit cream? The restaurant staff has everything waiting for you. If you prefer a more informal place, we recommend the Bistro restaurant in the museum.
Our gastronomic journey continues to the heart of the Mediterranean coast, and the city of Valencia with its Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM). Succulent recipes, innovation, and a select, minimalist atmosphere come together in its bright restaurant, “La Sucursal”, awarded a Michelin star. Here you can savour a shoulder of baby lamb with sage yoghurt and parsnip “angel hair”, or alternatively try the exquisite gourmet set menu – each dish is a unique sensation for the palate.
Also on the Mediterranean, but now in Catalonia, in the city of Barcelona, there are two more museums with recommended restaurants for art lovers whose palates are in search of new sensations. The first will bring you into contact with one of the main figures in the history of painting, Pablo Picasso. We are talking about the Picasso Museum, which also has a café-restaurant with an intimate, cozy atmosphere and an outdoor terrace you will love. Make the most of your stay in Barcelona to visit the Catalonia National Art Museum as well, with its Oleum Restaurant. Why is it so special? Because its large windows offer splendid views of Barcelona, because it is set in the old Throne Room of King Alfonso XIII, because it has a climate-controlled wine cellar and because it serves delicious, creative Mediterranean cuisine. There is no shortage of reasons…
Inland Spain… delicious too
The final place we would recommend to give your stomach a treat is in inland Spain, in the city of León (Castile-León Region): the Vivaldi Restaurant at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSAC). An example of what to expect there? Tasty miniature menus to taste the typical products of Castile-León. Enough to make your mouth water.
As you can see, the main museums in Spain do not only offer a wide range of colors, but also of delicious flavors and aromas through the dishes served at their restaurants. To make sure you get in, we would recommend you book a table in advance, and you can check average prices at each museum’s website. Have a go: try combining art and gastronomy. You will be pleasing every sense in your body.
(Image: Still life with oranges from Cordoba Museum of Fine Arts courtesy of Spain is Culture)