malling is not popular in madrid. well, you have to take into account that they don't have many malls. most of the shops in the city center are built into classic old buildings, none of which are torn down but which are preserved. they have great respect for their heritage! these old buildings may be gutted on the inside and renovated to accommodate new shops. just like this old theater on the gran via. it probably had seen better days, or maybe because the recession hit the country real hard, they could no longer maintain it. we were surprised to see that it had been transformed into a new branch of H&M! but take a look at the grand interiors. they kept the facade (it's actually the law), as well as the fabulous high-ceilinged lobby with chandeliers and built the store around it. beautiful!
meanwhile, we visited a mall in another part of town, close to the outskirts. apparently a lot of filipinos live in this area. (probably a lot like daly city in the bay area..) the name of this mall is la vaguada, which carries the usual spanish brands.
and look what we found, a restaurant called cafetería manila!
we were told that this was a popular restaurant back in the day when it was located on the gran via. owned by a spaniard, the interiors were decorated with items he brought back from his travels to the philippines. but the restaurant eventually closed down and later re-opened in this mall, not as a fancy restaurant, but more of a café that serves all types of people—from executives out for lunch to mall-goers to families to well-dressed senior citizens who have lots of time to hang out.
we ordered assorted hams and cheeses, paella, and fried fish. and a bottle of cheap wine :-)