Taberna Real, Plaza Isabel II 8
I had walked past this big place on the corner every day for three weeks, but never went in because it somehow did not look that great from the outside. Eventually, though, we went in for coffee and to use the big rectangular tables to do some work.
It turns out that this place is great - what I mistook for an empty room with no ambience is in fact a spacious well-decorated bar area that is alive with chatter. There is also a restaurant upstairs. The service is prompt and professional and no-one seemed to mind us hanging around for an hour with just a cup of coffee each.
Since the place looked good, we went back again a couple of hours later for drinks and tapas. There was a bit of confusion when I tried to order a ración of cheese: the barman explained that they did not serve big portions like that, but was happy for me to order a 'small tapas', which turned out to be a big plateful of cheese nonetheless. This mature cheese, with its sprinkling of almonds and dribble of oil, was delicious, especially once I had availed myself of a glass of red wine to balance it. Recommended.