The Spanish love their cured ham. Most bars we went into had an entire leg of it (trotter and all) balanced on the edge of the bar, along with an enormous carving knife, and we passed countless places that had row upon row of enormous hams hanging from the ceiling. In fact, they love their ham so much here that they’ve even named a chain of restaurants: ‘Museo del Jamon’ (literally translated as ‘Museum of Ham’).
Decorated with huge legs of ham hanging from the ceiling and bar, the menu consists almost exclusively of platters (raciones) of cured meats and cheeses. Like a number of places in Madrid though, Museo del Jamon offers three different prices: bar, salon and terrace. It’s generally far cheaper (by about €2-3 per dish) to stand at the bar than it is to sit outside on a terrace soaking up Madrid’s fabulous al fresco cafe culture. We opted for the mid-price salon option and ate in the restaurant – I must say that this was probably the best value for money place that we found in Old Madrid terms of price and portion size (even their terrace prices).
The other great thing about this place is that it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak a word of Spanish, because the menu has pictures of all the dishes – result! So after perusing this with great interest to see whish dishes looked the tastiest, we opted for a racion of chorizo and one of jamon serrano (cured ham) with cheese, along with a plate of chips (patatas fritas). The wine we went for was their house Rioja (Ciencuevas Rioja Crianza 2006), which was immensely drinkable. For around €20, we were full up and merrily tipsy. Highly recommended as a central, great value place to grab a bite. Or three.