Crucina; Healthy, raw food that goes beyond gazpacho

Photo via eltenedor

Photo via eltenedor

In the past few years, the raw food movement has begun to take off both in the US and many parts of Europe. In Spain, however, raw food is still usually equated with salads and gazpacho. The folks behind Spain’s only 100% raw food restaurant, Crucina, are excited to help change the image of raw food from boring, to something as diverse and satisfying as traditionally cooked cuisine.

You might be wondering, what exactly is raw food and is it any better than food I’ve been having all along? There is a wide range of raw food cuisine, but essentially the idea behind it is to cook with mostly plant-based ingredients, ensuring the temperature does not go above 45 degrees Celsius.  Many people believe that cooking food at higher temperatures than that might limit its nutritional value.

The restaurant is located in the vibrant neighborhood of Malasaña and run by Yorgos Ioannidis and María de Vera. Yorgos is originally from Greece, but speaks Spanish and English fluently and was happy to introduce me to the menu. He explained that by using a variety of techniques, they keep the best nutritional qualities of their ingredients while allowing the flavors to reach their maximum potential. They have a great selection of items which include everything from, soups, smoothies ,”pastas”and of course- salads. Like many restaurants in Madrid, they offer a menu del dia so you can try a bit of everything. They also serve organic wines, beer and even offer a gluten-free beer option.

"Pasta" with pesto sauce

“Pasta” with pesto sauce

The day I stopped by, I enjoyed a menu del dia which included a salad with a refreshing yogurt-dill dressing, followed by a zucchini “pasta” with a fresh pesto sauce. Both items were better than I could have imagined, but the real surprise was in the dessert. I had a slice of apple pie, drizzled with a cocoa sauce. It was the first time I had tried unprocessed chocolate…and it was amazing! I left feeling full, but energized and ready to take on the rest of the day!

Whether you’re needing a break from a meat and bread-heavy diet, or are a vegan in search of a great place to eat, try Crucina for a refreshing meal!

Where: Divino Pastor, 30

Metro: San Bernardo

When: Monday to Thursday from 1pm to 4pm and 8pm to 11:45pm

Friday and Saturday from 1pm to 4pm and 8pm to midnight

Sundays from 1pm to 4:30pm


Gain a new appreciation of Madrid at the History Museum

The entrance of the museum

The entrance of the museum

The long street of Fuencarral in Madrid is most known as a shopping destination, but did you know its also home to the Museo de Historia de Madrid? Inside this free museum, you will find a permanent collection that features maps, paintings and artifacts dating back hundreds of years that depict Madrid as it was before, when it was just a provincial town.

Additionally, they have a 3D model of the city as it was in the 1800’s and a video that points out monuments that still exist and those that have since disappeared. This rose-colored building building is as old as some of the maps inside. It was designed by Spanish architect, Pedro de Ribera, and built sometime between 1721 and 1726 to serve as the Royal Hospice of San Fernando.

One of many maps of Madrid inside the museum

One of many maps of Madrid inside the museum

In 1919, the building it was saved from demotion and declared a historic monument by the Royal Fine Arts Academy of San Fernando. Shortly after, the same council that saved it, proposed that it house the artifacts of the city of Madrid and be turned into a museum. Whether this is your first time visiting Madrid, or you’ve lived nearby for many years, this is a great way to gain a new appreciation for the neighborhoods and buildings of this historic city.

Where: Calle Fuencarral, 78, Madrid

Metro: Tribunal

When: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 8pm


Romeo and Juliet at the Canal Theatre

Photo via

Photo via

This classic love story comes to life through the Ballet de L’Opéra du Rhin, performing later this month at the Teatro Canal in Madrid. This version of Romeo and Juliet is directed by Bertrand d’At, who chose to change the setting in order to tell a different side of the story. In his rendition, the year is 1917 and the ill-fated couple meet in Kiev, Russia. The First World War has created chaos in the city and during that time frame that they meet and fall in love. They find themselves in the midst of a Russian revolution, where Juliet becomes the heir to an aristocracy and Romeo is the poor young student battling with the idea of going the fight.

Don’t miss this modern take on a classic story.

When: May 31st to June 2nd

Where: Teatro Canal (C/ Cea Bermudez, 1)

Metro: Canal

Cost: 20€ and up

More information: Romeo and Juliet

Open Studio 2013 in Madrid


Ever wonder how artists put together their masterpieces? Now through May 26th, you can visit one of various Open Studio sessions that provide a unique opportunity for the public to get a behind-the-scenes look at how modern art is created. The city of Madrid and various organizations have partnered to help organize open-house style meetings between attendees and artists in their own studios.

Photo via

Photo via

In addition to being able to walk into the studios to check out the work and meet local artists, you can also attend various screenings and chats. Some of the largest and most well-known museums of Madrid (the Reina Sofia, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, and Museo ABC) are also participating by offering free guided tours to their storage spaces and restoration workshops. To attend either the studio sessions or the tours, you must first register online.

Kids 12 and older are welcome to take part in the tours of the artists studios as long as they are accompanied by an adult. If you’ve got younger kids and want them to take part, the Open Studio series also hosts several kid-friendly workshops

When: From now until Sunday, May 26th

Where: In studios and museums around Madrid

More information: Open Studio Madrid

El Matadero; An alternative art and community space with an interesting past


If you’re looking for something as impressive as the Prado or the Reina Sofia, but off-the-beaten-path, it’s El Matadero. Not to be compared with any other space in the city, this center is an ambitious project and the fruit of an innovative and modern Madrid.

What is it?

La Cantina

La Cantina

Just a 10-minute subway ride from SolEl Matadero  is a cultural center and architectural treasure. The former slaughterhouse (hence, the name) now holds performances, photography exhibits and cinema on a nightly basis, most of which are free. The café “La Cantina” sells locally produced food and wines, and has the kind of atmosphere that makes you want to stay forever.

El Matadero is a public-private entity, hosting everything from book-readings to TEDxMadrid. It provides ongoing activities for families as well as a space for local innovators to develop their projects, all of which you are welcome to see.

Art project inside of the Matadero

Art project inside of the Matadero

There are six “naves” (warehouses), each used for a different purpose. For example, the Nave Español holds theater and dance performances. The Cineteca showcases international and independent film festivals. The Música Nave holds concerts and recording studios.



El Matadero was built in the 1920s as a pig slaughterhouse, and was turned into a cultural center in 2006. When they renovated the slaughterhouse, the goal was to keep the original columns, the beams, the ovens and exterior structure in tact. For example, the first room you see on the left of the entrance used to be the freezer. Now it’s an exhibition space. The dark, sinister feel makes you ponder what really went on in there. The interior was designed to be versatile and sustainable — most of the walls can be rolled away or folded up to make way for projects and events of all scale.

What to do?

Even if you’re in Madrid for a few days, don’t be intimidated by the amount of things going on. I highly recommend checking out their activities list (which is in English) or just stopping by to see the architecture and the vibe. As you stroll through the different spaces (it can seem like a maze), you’ll stumble upon anything from an indoor garden to a conference on new technology. Activities are open to the public in the afternoon, and you’re free to walk around the plaza, find a nook to study in or have a drink at the café anytime.


El Matadero

Where: Paseo de la Chopera 14

Metro: Legazpi (line 3, yellow)

Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 4pm to 10pm

Saturday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm

Telephone: 915 17 73 09