If you have spent your summer in Madrid you have probably missed something: the beach. Sadly, Madrid does not have a beach but… some little corners of the city have tried to bring a piece of it to the capital.
The main example is the restaurant called Ojalá, which has changed its appearance and menu this summer. This restaurant wants to make us feel that we are having dinner in a nice chiringuito -beach bar-, whithout leaving the core of Madrid. It has recently been remodelated and the feeling of being in a beach is more real than ever. The floor is covered with white sand (they have brought about a ton of sand from Almería’s beaches), the tables and sofas are very low and you can enjoy your dinner with no shoes on, feeling the touch of the sand on your feet. The lights are quite low and they change from pink to yellow, to blue… which creates a really nice atmosphere. The music is quite loud but not too much -you can still hold a conversation. The walls are made of white bricks which also helps to make us feel in some idyllic place far away from the sometimes stressful lifestyle of a capital city. Another thing that they have introduced with the remodelation is that the upper part of the place is opened to the street, so if you only want to have a drink you can sit next to one of the doors and enjoy it with the fresh air of a cool night.
Ojalá is placed in one of the most popular neigbourhoods in Madrid called Malasaña. This area is known to be the “hipster” area and it is one of the best hang-out spots in Madrid, with lots of great bars surrounding it. It has a very young atmosphere and the streets are full of people at any time. (It also has lot of second hand stores where you can buy very original stuff at a very good price ;)).
The menu is not too long -that’s a good thing if you’re a very indecisive person!- but it has very original things that you probably couldn’t find elsewhere:
– Gazpacho -cold tomato soup- with watermelon: gazpacho is really famous in Spain, especially during the hot months as it is very refreshing. It is usually made with tomato, green pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic. The watermelon gives the gazpacho a new taste which is definetely worth to try.
– Humus: The humus is served cold with some nachos to dip with. It is very tasty and can be a good way to start your dinner.
– Gourmet hamburger: One Word: Amazing. The hamburger is really big and tasty and it is served with caramelised onion, brie cheese, sugar-coat tomato and salad.
To finish dinner with a sweet taste there is a large list of desserts where you can find all kind of things. If you want a recommendation, the carrot pie is home made and really good.
The service in this restaurant is excellent. They bring the food really fast so you don’t have to wait too long and the waiters are really nice. One disadvantage: they don’t have the menu in English which can be a bit annoying, but the waiter will be happy to help you. Also, the restaurant gets very packed so make sure you call to book a table before going!
Ojalá is not the only place which has tried to bring the beach to the city. Areia is situated in Chueca neigbourhood and it is more like a chill out where you can have cocktails and relax. The “beach club” is only opened during the summer months -July and August- and it is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening with friends or with your girlfriend/boyfriend. Blue Magic is located in Chamberí neigbourhood and it is also a chill out bar. If you go down the stairs you will find a piece of paradise with the floor covered by sand. La Perla Cocktails & Lounge Bar is placed in Huertas neigbourhood and has also sand so you can enjoy your cocktail pretending that you are somewhere on the beach…