Where do you live?
Madrid, La Latina neighbourhood.
What’s best about La Latina?
It is a downtown neighbourhood packed with small shops and cafes. People know each other and stop to say hi, and all is within walking distance.
What’s your favourite Madrid neighbourhood?
I like La Latina best. Alternatively there is an area with small houses and gardens called La Fuente del Berro which is idyllic.
Which are your favourite Madrid stores?
A great vintage shop called Pepita is Dead in the Atocha area that sells new and old clothes, sunglasses and shoes, all of which are very original and authentic. Furniture gallery Schneider Colao in the Chueca district is run by architects and has an amazing modern selection of new classics with a very clean, austere, colourful feel. Malababa is a relatively new company with a shop in Calle Santa Teresa near Chueca that makes great quality leather goods, an example of good, cosmopolitan Spanish design.
And your favourite restaurants?
I love Samurai, a Japanese restaurant in downtown Madrid near Gran Vía that mixes aromas and invents new takes on Japanese classics such as sushi and rolls. The Basque restaurant Julian de Tolosa in La Latina neighbourhood serves classic, amazing-quality food – I like the fact that the menu is short. For a young and alternative option, I would say Cocinillas on Calle San Joaquin near Tribunal, a new Mediterranean restaurant. The owner has a Sicilian grandmother with great recipes!
Do you have a favourite local café or pub?
I like Delic on Costanilla San Andrés in La Latina. It is a great place to have a drink and a bite to eat.
Any recommendations for local dishes to try?
Tortilla de patata is a must! I love it as a mid-morning snack.
Where do you take out-of-town friends?
We have a house in the countryside towards Extremadura and generally go there. But I would also take them to La Granja on the way to Segovia.
Where do you like to celebrate on special occasions?
I like cocktail bars, I generally go to Del Diego on Calle de la Reina near Gran Vía, or the new cocktail bar at the Gran Melia Fenix hotel.
Do you have a favourite walk in Madrid?
I like walking near the royal palace, where you can see an amazing view onto Casa de Campo, the old hunting grounds of the royal family and one of the biggest city parks in Europe.
How do you like to travel around the city?
Mainly walking but sometimes by bike.
What’s the best city landmark?
I very much like the botanical gardens, they are very quaint and it is astounding that they still stand in the middle of the city.
Any secret spots you don’t want out-of-towners to know about?
Not really. I would love out-of-towners to discover the non-touristy Madrid, the one that keeps the essence of its tradition and spontaneity. That is what makes Madrid different.
Where are the best bargains to be found?
Depends what you are looking for; I would search the little old independent shops throughout the city.
Any advice for visitors?
Try and not look at the map – and get lost!
Tell us a secret.
It is a luxury living in Madrid; the quality of life is incomparable.