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Inés Ybarra’s Madrid

The renowned Spanish photographer and creative director reveals her favourite spots in the city

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Growing up in Madrid, Inés Ybarra used to skip school and wander around the city’s Reina Sofía and Prado museums, marvelling at the grand architecture and priceless pieces of art. This “education” proved formative: today, Ybarra is one of Spain’s most in-demand creatives, having photographed and produced campaigns for homegrown fashion brands including Loewe and Zara. More recently, the multihyphenate has delved into furniture design; last month, she teamed up with her friend, the Italian art curator and collector Oliva Sartogo, to launch Casahari, a line of geometric coffee tables inspired by architectural influences as far-ranging as Japan’s National Yoyogi National Stadium. But for Ybarra, one of her greatest sources of inspiration is her native Madrid. “It’s a city of contrasts, with international flair but a comfortable, authentic feel,” she says. “The quality of life is amazing, and people live their lives outdoors, which gives vibrancy to the streets.” We caught up with the visionary to get her recommendations for where to eat, drink and socialise al aire libre in the Spanish capital.


Where to Eat


“My favourite restaurant is La Parra, a family-run establishment that’s been around for decades. The food is typical and unpretentious, the lighting is amazing, and the decor is very Spanish with colourful tiles and dark wood surfaces. It’s the kind of place that would impress your boyfriend’s parents. Another favourite is La Esperanza, in Lavapiés, behind the Cine Doré theatre. It’s relaxed and affordable, but the quality of the food is top-notch. You can order crowd-pleasing plates like croquettes, patatas bravas, and Coca Mallorquina. For lunch on the go, I also like Hermanas Arce, where the food is homemade and it feels like you’re dining in someone’s home – I always run into people from my neighbourhood there.”


Where to Drink


Bar Cock is a classic. It’s been around since 1921 and has hosted everyone from Francis Bacon to Pedro Almodóvar. These days, it draws an interesting mix of people and has incredible cocktails, but the vibe is still authentic and retains a sense of history. I also love Los 33, which is the kind of place where you can have dinner and linger until late. The food is Uruguayan asado (barbecue), but there are also delicious bikini sandwiches. It has a fun, clubby atmosphere, with everyone standing and socialising.”


What to See


“My favourite museum is the Reina Sofía. The exhibitions are fascinating, and it’s one of those rare museums that doesn’t feel like a dark box – It’s filled with light and is a very inspiring space to be in. I love the surrealist floor, with works by Dalí and Man Ray. At Museo Nacional del Prado, I could spend hours in the room with Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. And Cristina Iglesias’s Doorway-Passageway – which was commissioned for the museum’s extension – is a sculpture in its own right. For architecture, I’m obsessed with the work of Fernando Higueras, whose most celebrated project, the Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute, won the National Architecture Prize in 1961. Personally, I love Higueras’s subterranean cave house, El Rascainfiernos (“hellscraper”), in the Chamartín neighbourhood, which he dug out in 1975 after getting separated from his wife, who lived in the house upstairs.”

Museo Nacional del Prado

Reina Sofía Museum


Get Outdoors


Casa de Campo is one of Europe’s biggest urban parks and it’s generally free of tourists, which makes it prime for walking and biking around. I love to meet friends there and enjoy a long leisurely lunch at one of the lakefront restaurants. In the centre of Madrid, I think the Royal Palace’s Campo del Moro is even more beautiful than El Retiro Park. The green area spans 20 hectares and has beautiful fountains and romantic gardens. On the weekend, I like to drive out to Chinchón, a charming village just 50 kilometres outside Madrid. The town’s Plaza Mayor is ringed with atmospheric terraces where you can enjoy traditional dishes like roasted pig.”


Click "EXPAND" to discover Casa de Campo

Click "EXPAND" to discover Chinchón


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