When we think about Madrid, just like Pavlov’s dog, our mouth starts watering at the thought of the endless rows of tapas, the huge glasses of sangria, the various local food markets and the endless selection of little coffee shops and restaurants. If you are foodies at heart or just enjoy eating great food, Madrid will definitely not let you down. Madrid is such a lively city with so many great eateries both traditional and modern. There is such an abundance of coffee shops, restaurants and bars to choose from so to make it easier for you, here is our Madrid foodie guide to where to eat, drink and feast in Madrid (have you already read our ultimate guide to Madrid neighborhoods?).
Malasaña – the Ultimate Foodie Bucket List
Malasaña is one of the most charming and colorful neighborhoods in Madrid. You can spend hours strolling around the endless coffee shops and bars, go on a graffiti treasure hunt or just sit in a corner and spend your time people watching. Some of the best coffee shops in Madrid are located here and as night falls, these groovy little coffee shops are transformed into trendy bars that serve tasty tapas and a wide selection of alcohol. Here are some of our favorite places to grab a light breakfast, delicious brunch, lunch or dinner or even better, a tasty cocktail:
Ojala – Stop for a quick bite at this trendy café/bar and enjoy its cool refreshing mint-colored atmosphere. Soak in the hipster vibes while grabbing some delicious breakfast or brunch – they serve some of the best breakfasts in Madrid! The friendly staff will gladly recommend one of their excellent toasts, salads, wraps or some of the healthy snacks like the excellent hummus dip with sweet potato fries or the yummy guacamole. If you happen to be there in the afternoon or evening time, you must go down to the basement floor where you can enjoy a meal and a cocktail, served in a beach theme atmosphere – yes there is actual sand and neon colors to put you in the mood for a beach party and you’ll almost be able to smell the fresh sea air (not really but almost…).
HanSo café – A popular coffee shop located at Calle del Pez which serves excellent breakfasts, toasts, pastries and desserts with an Asian twist. This is a great place to enjoy a light meal and watch the world go by without a care in the world. If you are looking to try something new, order the Matcha cappuccino or just play it safe and try one of their famous avocado toasts.
Federal Café – We just loved the clean décor and natural colors (with a touch of yellow) of this great coffee shop where we had some of our best meals in Madrid. In addition to the main space there is also an open courtyard and some very photogenic windowsills (shall we say instagrammable?). Just choose your favorite breakfast, a healthy lunch or a cup of coffee and a pastry, and settle in because believe us, you’ll have a hard time leaving this charming coffee shop.
Toma Café – If you like neighborhood coffee shops with some hipster vibes, you’d love this place! Try their toasts or grab a light meal and if you happen to be a vegetarian/vegan, they have plenty of vegan friendly choices (including various kinds of milk). This place is always packed but usually you’d be able to find a table.
La Muza – this tapas bar/restaurant is part of La Muza Group, and it has an excellent selection of tapas from around the world. You can find here traditional Spanish tapas but also unusual ones with an Asian or Mexican twist. You can also try their Tapas tasting menu which is a pretty good deal for two persons. Whatever you choose, it will be delicious!
Mercado de San Ildefonso – this is a little neighborhood food market which actually feels more like a trendy bar. This three-floor market offers food and drinks from around the world so just choose your favorite dish and sit inside or in the lovely patio and enjoy your meal. In the late afternoon or early evening, many locals and tourists stop here for a light snack and a glass of cold beer or sangria before starting their night so it can get quite busy.
Chueca – Where to Eat and Hang Out
This colorful Madrid neighborhood that happens to be the symbol of the gay community is dotted with lots of coffee shops, restaurants and bars, not to mention a really trendy market that you should pay a visit to. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Chueca:
Bosco De Lobos – This place might be hard to find but it is defiantly a hidden gem. It is part of En Compañía de Lobos Group that has several restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona. Bosco De Lobos offers a great Italian menu in a well-designed space and a lovely atmosphere. You can choose your table in the charming garden or the interior space which is designed like a library with an open kitchen where you’ll see the chefs working on your dishes. Everything is good here so whatever you choose; risotto, pasta or thin crusted pizzas, it’s going to be a delicious Italian feast!
/M – Don’t let the kind of gloomy atmosphere fool you (don’t they know photographers need good light?), the colorful dishes will quickly cheer you up. This restaurant serves unique tapas inspired by the flavors of Peru and South America. Every dish here is a work of art, both in the presentation as well as the taste. This is going to be a gastronomic experience that is well worth the slightly expensive price tag so enjoy the food and order yourself a nice Pisco Sour to accompany the meal.
Honest Greens – Spanish food is so delicious but can be quite heavy at times, so if by now you are craving something more healthy, the fresh salads at Honest Greens are exactly what you need. Yuval, Sari’s daughter, actually found this wonderful place. After our visit to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, she insisted on having lunch here (there is another branch in Chueca) and we were thrilled that she did. Everything is as fresh as can be and all you have to do is choose your “market plate” or “garden bowl” and add your sides, protein or additional toppings. The atmosphere, friendly staff and beautifully designed space only enhance the experience (and provide many Instagram-worthy moments for your feed). There are options here for meat lovers as well as vegetarians and vegans so if you haven’t figured it out by now, if you are looking for healthy restaurants in Madrid, this place is definitely worth your time!
Mercado de San Antón – This upbeat and lively gastronomic market is located just near Chueca and it is one of the best markets in Madrid. Stroll among its three floors and enjoy the unbelievable wide selection of the best cheese, seafood, tapas, desserts and beverages you can find here. Everything looks delicious and is so fresh you’d have a hard time choosing just one or two dishes. It is a great place to try the Pinchos (tapas from the Basque country), just choose a few from the rows and rows of baguette slices with every topping you can think of, a truly colorful festival for your palate. On the ground floor you can find a variety of local delicacies and fresh ingredients you can buy. Make sure to visit the top floor for a great view of Chueca barrio from above. Here you can also dine or have a drink in La Cocina a restaurant/bar that is always busy so make sure to make a reservation or be prepared to wait for a while.
La Latina – Restaurants and Nightlife
La Latina is another trendy Madrid barrio with lots of options for food and nightlife which makes it one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Madrid. We didn’t get to try many of the fabulous restaurants here but the ones we did, we really loved.
Juana La Loca – this exclusive restaurant and tapas bar serves delicious Pinchos (tapas from the Basque country) in unusual flavors. It is very popular so reserve a table in advance or be prepared to wait for one. You can choose one of the fancier dishes such as the truffled risotto with wild mushrooms or the grilled duck foie gras or order the more traditional ones like the excellent Spanish tortilla which was great as well!
La Musa Latina – the younger sister of La Musa Malasaña is located in the heart of Plaza Paja and serves a tasty selection of tapas from around the world. The Parisian inspired interior design contributes to the special atmosphere and the menu offers various tapas dishes with international flavors (Asian, Mexican, Spanish and more). We devoured our Carpaccio role and loved the fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and fig jam.
Mercado de San Miguel – This famous market is located in the heart of Madrid, next to Plaza Mayor and close to La Latina barrio. You can’t miss the modern construction of glass and steel, not to mention the crowd of people going in and out. Morning, noon or night this market offers culinary delicacies to hundreds of people who come to have a bite, hang out with friends or just take some photos of this gorgeous market. Wander around the endless food stands that offer rows of pinchos bites, trays of freshly made paella dishes, gourmet cheese, meats and seafood and of course pastries and desserts. It is a must visit spot on any foodie’s bucket list!
That’s the list for all of you food lovers who are going to visit Madrid. Enjoy your vacation, eat some pinchos for us and more importantly, drink some sangria, and remember our motto: Eat Well, Travel Often and don’t forget to share the love 😉