Family friendly restaurants, like cheap restaurants, are not hard to find in Spain, where there’s somewhat more acceptance for kids acting like kids. Maybe it has something to do with lower expectations for peace and quiet — James Michener wrote in Iberia: “I doubt if there is any country in Europe which has the unremitting noise quotient of Spain” — or just a more laid back attitude toward life in general. But there are some restaurants geared especially toward families, and today we’re looking at one of them — Madrid’s La Excéntrica.
La Excéntrica calls itself an “atypical tavern” and seems to be striving for difference in a good way. The restaurant includes both a play area and a bar; the food is “traditional Spanish but with current inspiration.” (The play area is open weekend afternoons and is supervised.)
Unlike many restaurants in Europe, La Excéntrica has a children’s menu (“La Excentrikita”). It offers not only the usual chicken nuggets, burgers, and hot dogs (plus quesadillas), but a selection of healthier dishes, like grilled chicken, creamed vegetables, and beef kebabs with rice. A full meal for a child, with dessert and a drink, costs € 8.90. La Excéntrica is not big on desserts, but that’s Spain.
For the adults, there’s a large selection of small dishes — omelets, salads, sandwiches, croquetas, cured meats, and several kinds of tapas — from € 4.50 to € 6. 50. Main dishes are relatively few, consisting of a changing daily special, tuna tataki, and two-person paellas. These run from € 12.10 to € 24 (for two). There’s also a special “Te Quiero Mamá” (“I love you Mom”) menu with three courses, three choices for each, for at least two people at € 19.90 each. Order this and you get up to two children’s meals free.
Of course, there’s plenty of wine, beer, sangria, bottled water and other drinks to choose from.
Located at Calle de las Fuentes, 10, La Excéntrica is open Monday through Thursday from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 1:00 PM to midnight, and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
If your kids are older and don’t mind a little history with their meal, and if you can make the drive easily, you might consider going outside the city center to El Poleo, in the Hotel Tiempo Perdido. This is in the village of Patones de Arriba, which was emptied when residents moved down the hill to the new townsite of Patones de Abajo, but was preserved as a historical site. The original buildings are all built of black slate, and it’s a little like stepping into the Middle Ages.
Editor’s Note: Also check out these family activities to enjoy while in Madrid that are also budget friendly.