The main centre of Madrid is full of legendary restaurants, cafes and discos, here we want to introduce you one of the most charismatic and unknown, the bakery and restaurant Lhardy.
Since it opened, almost no one has been able to say his name well at first…. Lardi, Lhardi, Lardy …? this is one of the oldest and most iconic restaurants in the city, with more than 175 years of history and always in the same place, in the “Carrera de San Jerónimo 8”. Restaurant Lhardy has had the honor of receiving all kinds of personalities from the upper class of the capital, originally, as French bakery, and later as one of the most elegant and unique restaurants in Madrid. His shop, located at the same level as the street it´s one of the best places in Madrid to enjoy cakes and pastries of the highest quality, but above all, this small, venerable appearance is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious soup accompanied by a glass of Jerez wine, especially during the cold winters of the capital. This technique, which has become tradition since the 19th century became the perfect way to warm up the body before continuing with your crazy day. This tradition was born with the idea of reviving the spirit, according to the original meaning of the French word restaurer, from which the word restaurant.
The most impressive secret of Restaurant Lhardy is in its upper floors… right outside the store, there is another entrance, narrow and without much ornament that gives access to the top of the building where the restaurant is located. There we can find a series of differents halls in which celebrities such as Alexandre Dumas or even King Alfonso XII regularly celebrated banquets. Possibly, the most famous is the Japanese Hall, built in the late 19th century, during a time when the oriental style was in vogue, this room is still one of the famous places in the city for those celebrities who like to come to this restaurant to enjoy.
Its current facade comes from the year 1880 when it was completely renovated. They decided to give it a classic look tipical from the past to make it more cosy. They achieved this by using mahogany woodblocks bought directly from Cuba.
Its founder was the Frenchman Émile Huguenin, who learned the trade of baking in Besaçon. After passing through Paris, he moved to Bordeaux where he met several Spanish exiles. According to the stories, it was the French writer Prosper Mérimée who suggested that he try his luck in Madrid. Huguenin heeded the advice given and moved to the Spanish capital, where he opened the bakery first, and later, the restaurant with the name of Lhardy, surely, imitating a famous restaurant in Paris called Hardy.
What is clear, is that this historic service that has been with us for more than 175 years in the city of Madrid, Restaurant Lhardy has hosted the most luxurious banquets of the most famous writers, politicians, financiers, bullfighters and other local celebrities that during their years of history, they have been accompanying the historic walls of this corner of high style and nostalgia that we find in the very centre of Madrid.
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