OCCUPATION: Fashion designer and entrepreneur: Raasta (www.raasta.com.es) and Suzie Wong (www.suziewong.es). Recently I have launched the IOU Project (www.iouproject.com), an innovative e-commerce platform that brings the consumer and artisan together
MY STYLE: My style is definitely eclectic and very personal. Designers I love are: Ann Valerie Hash, Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garçons with a good dash of my own collection, Raasta, and vintage. In my home, we have a lot of vintage ’50s and ’60s furniture that my husband collects mixed with pieces we have bought during our travels from local artisans. Designers I like are: Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, Kai Kristiansen, Børge Mogensen, Finn Juhl and Severin Hansen.
I LOVE MADRID BECAUSE: Madrid has all the cultural offerings of a big metropolis, but is still full of small neighborhoods that give the city a gentle small town ambience. Its easy to walk around in and very child friendly. Lots of parks and the people are incredibly warm. It has without doubt the most beautiful skies every evening.
This international bookstore specializes in children’s literature in Spanish, French, and English. So whether it’s Le Petit Prince or Goodnight Moon, you can be sure to find it at Biblioketa. The store’s bright and colorful interior invites kids in and makes them want to stay, find a book and expand their imagination! In addition to books, Biblioketa also offers activities such as music, art, storytelling, and drama workshops. “They have fantastic storytelling sessions by authors in the evenings,” says Kavita Parmar. Check the website for a schedule of events.
Chi Spa offers a wealth of high-tech services—from vitamin-packed facials to rejuvenating peels to LPG cellulite treatments—not to mention good, old-fashioned waxing for women and men! The experts can advise on which services would be best for your beauty and wellness goals.
Sometimes you just want a sandwich, and that’s when you go to Magasand. A wide assortment of salads and fresh juices make this spot a healthy dining choice too. Bonus: While munching on your sandwich, you can brush up on the latest styles by flipping through the wide assortment of international fashion magazines that Magasand keeps on hand for its customers.
La Vaca Verónica
Close to Plaza Santa Ana in the Huertas district, this Argentine restaurant offers hearty pastas, salads, and—despite the restaurant’s name (“vaca” translates to “cow”), specializes in seafood dishes like jumbo shrimp and salt-baked sea bream. The fixed lunch menu is only €15, and comes with your choice of steak, roasted salmon, or sardines as a main course. “After walking around all day, the boys are ravenous. We’ll stop at La Vaca Verónica for simple fare, great atmosphere, and the boys love the desserts!” says Kavita Parmar.
Today this gourmet deli showcases a fine array of sausages, cured meats, hors d’oeuvres, caviars, oils, vinegar, and other fine imported goods, but Embassy began in the early 1930s as a teahouse and gathering spot for gregarious Madrid intellectuals. The store was founded by an Irish chef who wanted to draw more attention to the Paseo de la Castellana, which they viewed as the “Champs-Élysées of Madrid.”
All the bread at this café-bakery is made from organic flour, resulting in a deliciously spongy texture. Pair any loaf (olive bread and five-grain are the favorites) with house coffee, and you’ll see why Harina has so many regulars. The shop also offers desserts, custom salads, and sandwiches—perfect for a picnic at the nearby Retiro Park.
One of Madrid’s most popular attractions, Retiro Park, was once home to King Felipe IV’s 17th century royal palace. Since it became a public park in the 19th century, thousands have flocked to the beautiful grounds, taking in the monuments, sculptures, historical architecture, rose gardens, and even paddling in the boating lake. In the summer, Retiro Park offers free concerts and also hosts an annual book fair.
Naturbier is more German beer hall than Spanish tapas bar, though you can still order a bite—or an entire steak!—to go with your pitcher. The beer is from the onsite microbrewery, and the downstairs table—set amidst a maze of gothic dungeons—have personal taps built in! Outside, tables offer a nice view of the Plaza de Santa Ana, but head indoors to listen to music or root for the home-team playing on the big-screen TV.
Taberna La Bola
Located just north of Teatro Real, Taberna La Bola has some theatrical touches of its own: Velvet and crystal pieces accent the dining room, and many of the signature fish dishes are cooked over an open fire. The tavern has been around since 1870, so be sure to try such old-time favorites as garlic castellana soup and hot red pepper salad. “The cocida madrileño is classic here,” says Kavita Parmar. As legend has it, expatriate screen siren Ava Gardner used to frequent La Bola, and would even dance flamenco on the tabletops!
With years of food-making expertise dating back to 1931, Pastelería Mallorca will satisfy a hankering for just about anything. Whether it’s a piece of cake or a jamón sandwich, this high-end deli serves the freshest foods and is centrally located by Retiro Park. When the weather is nice, don’t miss out on the outdoor seating. “It overlooks a beautiful garden,” says Kavita Parmar.
Every night from midnight to 6 a.m., the talented trio of Serrano, Sanchez, and Fedorov serenades the crowd at this old-fashioned piano bar. Audience members also take their turns at the microphone, but often everyone sings along as the pianists take requests (mostly for traditional Spanish songs or international hits). “It’s a great way to wind down after a hectic day,” says Kavita Parmar.