Lhardy - Madrid

Lhardy is a historic Spanish restaurant in Madrid which has been around in the city for over a hundred years. Back in the 19th Century it was one of the favourite restaurants of the Spanish Royal Family and it still attracts an up-market crowd today, with the occasional gastronomic tourists.

The Restaurant


Lhardy opened in 1837 by Emilio Huguenin and has since then been lovingly conserved in order to maintain the decor and atmosphere that was enjoyed by the members of the Spanish aristocracy and gentry over the centuries. It is thanks to this up-market atmosphere that Lhardy created that this restaurant has received so many famous and illustrious guests over the years. One could even be so bold to say that Spanish history would not have been the same without it thanks to the numerous politicians, monarchs and other influential people who have dined, plotted and planned at the restaurant.

It is believed that the restaurant took its name from the famous Café Hardy in Paris. When Emilio Huguenin's restaurant became so famous, he decided to change his own name to match, and so he became known as Emilio Lhardy. From the 1840s the Lhardy restaurant began appearing in Madrid city guide books of the era such as Pascual Madoz's geographical dictionary. Also during this time was when the Spanish monarchy came to eat at the restaurant. Rumour has it that Queen Isabel II often escaped from the palace just to enjoy a meal at this Spanish restaurant.

It was during the 1880s that Lhardy acquired its famous dark wood frontage which was designed by Rafael Guerrero. The facade is actually made of mahogany wood which was shipped in from Cuba, which at the time was under Spanish rule. Inside there are several rooms which are all decorated in different styles. The main dining room, called the 'Salón isabelino', is decorated with more heavy, dark wood, rich velvet curtains and fantastic antique lights. There are also many paintings which allude to the noblemen of Spain from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Aside from this room there are five private dining rooms which were often hired by the members of the upper classes in Madrid for their private meetings. The most interesting of these private dining rooms is the Japanese room which has an interesting collection of antique Japanese lamps, fans and mirrors. Nearly all of the rooms have the original wall paper conserved beautifully which is extremely detailed and a work of art in itself.

The history of this Spanish restaurant is endless and combines both the history of the building, the rooms and their occupants. There is far too much to write down here so the best way to experience it all is to go for a meal at Lhardy when you visit Madrid and absorb the culture and history first hand.

The Menu


The cuisine at Lhardy is described as being the finest Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine in Madrid, which coupled with the historic setting, makes for an unforgettable experience. The food is mostly based on traditional Spanish recipes which the restaurant has perfected over the years.

The main menu at the Lhardy restaurant in Madrid includes such dishes as 'cocido a la madrileña' which is a typical stew like dish from Madrid, 'Merluza a la vasca' which is hake cooked in a traditional Basque fashion, and 'Solomillo' which is steak which is served with a sauce of your choice including coffee sauce, red pepper sauce or Roquefort cheese sauce.

Lhardy also offers a range of set menus which include many of the best dishes from the 'à la carte' menu. There are a variety of menus for large groups visiting the restaurant as well as menus for lunch.

If you can't make it to the restaurant or would like to enjoy the best food from Lhardy at home, you can always order some of their dishes from the restaurant's shop which sells most of the dishes from the main menu as well as a large range of freshly baked cakes and pastries from the in-house patisserie.