Tapas, cocido Madrileño, Spanish tortilla (potato omelette), bocadillo de calamares (calamari sandwiches), Iberian ham and other cured meats, callos, croquettes, patatas bravas, fried peppers… just to name a few traditional snacks that that you will be able to taste in cool restaurants in Madrid!! The real Madrid food experience is an explosion of new tastes and colors to wow your palette and have your tummy rumbling (ours stomachs are already doing summersaults that put Homer Simpson to shame!).
We wouldn’t want you thinking that’s all that Madrid has to offer though! After your initial crash course on our traditional grub, y’all better open those traveling minds to venture away from the well-known dishes and allow yourselves to be surprised by our city’s un-ending gastronomic offer.
As you know, the global foodie community is growing by the minute! Food tourism is very in at the moment! Local and exciting cuisine is quickly becoming the most sought-after thing that adventures seek! Eating is one of life’s biggest pleasures, and tasty food is a given here. Are you ready for the culinary experience of a lifetime?
WHERE TO EAT IN MADRID IN 2019
What can we say? Madrid’s food scene is a treat for all!! There is a truly phenomenal selection of cool restaurants in Madrid that are suitable for every budget and cater to your every need and preference. Want to grab some finger food or do you prefer the posh places with like seven different types of forks? We got both. Fancy eating until your heart is content before a drinking session? Or maybe find a sweet cocktail bar to woo your crush? Madrid’s culinary universe has absolutely everything you could ask for.
Here in Spain we do love to exaggerate a teeny tiny bit! But guys, we’ve got the numbers to back up our claims here: Madrid is home to 9,224 restaurants (and a lot of vegetarian restaurants in Madrid) – which is equivalent to 12% of all restaurants in Spain. The capital’s hospitality sector generated 36 BILLION euros in sales last year, so you can just imagine how important a good food experience is to us.
Now to the good part. Us being the wonderful people we are, are about to hand you valuable information on a silver platter (pun intended). We’re gonna whisper in your ears where to eat in Madrid until your hearts are content! All recommendations have been carefully investigated and selected, and stamped with the Cats seal of approval, of course!
Get yourselves comfy and put those napkins on your laps. Here we go with a lot of cool restaurants in Madrid!!
TAPAS: QUITE THE RELIGION
Here in Spain, a real love for tapas is woven into our DNA. In Madrid, it has become a well-known personality trait! And for a good reason! What is there not to adore? Going out for tapas is fun, it’s traditional, it’s for sharing between loved ones and, more importantly, tapas are washed down well with cañas!! A good tapas bar in Madrid will have you feeling full after no more than three orders. Finding the top bars is an art we have mastered.
Bodega La Ardosa:
Let’s begin with the classic option, right in the heart of the trendy and hipster Malasaña neighborhood. Here you can grab ice-cold cañas, or Vermouth if you prefer, and munch on some delicious omelette, salmorejo (a tomato and bread-based purée served cold) and croquettes (they’re out of this world). La Ardosa has been at the top of everyone’s list since 1892 thanks to its outstanding home-cooked style food. You can’t get more homely!
A little more on the sophisticated side, La Catapa is considered, by Madrid’s resident food experts, as the city’s most interesting tapas bar. Its seasonal cuisine means its menu changes every now and again, always promising the most quality products for every time of year. It’s right beside the magical Retiro Park.
Where to eat in Madrid cheap and quality? This is your place. Copious amounts of food at ridiculous prices! The famous El Tigre cider houses are always full to the brim. Every drink purchased is accompanied by a huge tapas platter (included in the drink price!). We recommend you go on the emptiest of stomachs, we aren’t exaggerating about just how much food you get!
The secret formula to success is actually pretty simple, and Indalo has it on point! Every drink gets you a mouth-watering tapa from a varied selection on offer. Toasts with all of the toppings, mini bocadillos, croquettes, fries… Just to name a few. A cheap and cheerful combination. There are a few Indalo venues scattered around Madrid: in Atocha, Fuencarral and Chueca!
Credit: Instagram @indalotapas
WHATEVER THE BUDGET
If you are looking for somewhere in the Spanish capital that won’t break the bank (or if you just don’t feel like splashing the cash – we’ve all been there), but still want quality yumminess, here are a few cheap and cheerful options for you! Pro tip: always try and reserve your spot at any kind of restaurant – we live for eating out here, no matter what day of the week, and especially at night!
One of the best places where to eat in Madrid. Three simple ideas: Creative food, chic decorations, and a €12 daily menu. It really is that straightforward! This place is right next to the emblematic Puerta de Alcalá.
Buns & Bones:
Barbeque with a twist. What more could you ask for??? Nestled into the Mercado de San Antón, super close to Cats Hostel Madrid Sol, this little corner restaurant is all about oriental influences. Don’t be fooled by the dainty bites, this place is all about exciting flavors! Follow the heavenly aroma of barbequed meat!
Credit: Instagram @bunsandbones
Who said high standards and a tight budget were mutually exclusive? Saona has opened in various trendy districts, like Chamberí o Salamanca, offering inspired and intriguing Mediterranean menus – for daytime and night-time dining – for under €15. Everyone and anyone will feel at home in Saona’s funky ambiance!
Credit: Instagram @gruposaona
Another home-made Spanish food venue, this time for the economically challenged! Also with a cute international twist. Their 11.90€ menus are designed down to the last detail to delight your tastebuds. Every week is a different menu, so there’s always a reason to go back!
THE AUTHENTIC AND COOL RESTAURANTS IN MADRID
If you are the type to go all out and try every single thing about the city you’re visiting, food should be no exception!! We can only but congratulate you, because Madrid is going to KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF. We love eating good food – especially our own!! BUT…Beware! Don’t fall for any tourist traps! So many restaurants claim to have the best traditional food, but make sure you do your homework on the best of the best.
Madrid’s most “pedigree” restaurant, most likely. Lucio, eternal owner of this pillar establishment in La Latina, developed a food empire through the most basic recipes: huevos rotos (broken eggs over fries). This is the star of the show, but we would encourage you to try all the delicacies on offer in Lucio’s Home.
The king of genuine Madrid food is, and always will be, cocido madrileño – the Spanish stew to end all stews. Enough to warm the cockles of your heart. This is an elaborate dish, with lots of delightful ingredients swimming around in the tastiest of broths. La Bola is the place to go. It’s not cheap, but it’s 100% the real deal and very much worth it!
El Sobrino de Botín:
Another gem to add to the list of Madrid’s culinary culture. We are talking about a house founded next to the Plaza Mayor in 1725 that specializes in Castilian dishes that have been around, forever, a wood-fired oven and a classic old-style dining room. The best dish is the suckling pigs. You’ll fall in love!
THE GOURMET TOUCH
Haute cuisine, the most innovative of proposals, the “gastro” culture… the world of cooking has become ever so sophisticated nowadays, and our tastebuds are loving every second! Instead of prioritizing quantity, we’re moving towards preferring all the small gourmet details. Cool restaurants in Madrid are no exception. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal in one of the following places that, all in all, are not actually that expensive within the haute cuisine environment.
Guys, this is da bomb. It takes minimalism and neutral decoration chic to the next level. But this just makes its food stand out all the more. The grand piece of advice of this entire post is right here – Leave. Room. For. Dessert! You’ll find the best sweet treats in all of the land here. Their cheesecake is to die for!! Pure joy awaits.
Credit: Instagram @fismuler
This fashionable place is right in the heart of the noble Salamanca district. The interior will take your breath away with its impressive, wild style deco. Perfect for an Instagram pic, let’s be honest. This multicultural dining experience is a must!
Can’t decide whether to go for a full-on meal, for cocktails or out dancing?? No need! Alboroto Experience has it all under control. This fiesta-dining concept is pretty new to the city – and this venue offers a spectacular menu, an amazing ambience and the most appetizing drinks!! You’ll want to hang around after dinner for a boogie, wait and see! It’s right on Calle Princesa, best location ever.
Credit: Facebook @alborotoexperience
RIB Casa de la Carnicería:
Dearest lovers of succulent and juicy meat! Here you have found your piece of heaven. The pink tomato steak, roasted pepper, and avocado ice cream… The Guadarrama steak tartar or the rib “lollipop”. We can’t even pick one dish to recommend. The place is also very striking, as enormous as it is unique, and is located right in the center in the Hotel Pestana Plaza Mayor.
Credit: Facebook @RIBmadrid
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Let’s finish with a couple of peculiar restaurants where to eat in Madrid. Only for the most extravagant diners! These venues are well-known for the type of food they serve as well as the experience they offer! Are you ready for exotic, fun, different dinner plans?? Welcome to the wild side!
A favorite in Madrid that you simply have to try out. So, what’s so special about it? Head downstairs and you’ll find out! Suddenly, a sandy beach welcomes you, smack-bang in the middle of the city! Thousands of first dates have taken place here!
Credit: Instagram @restauranteojala
Dans Le Noir:
This restaurant challenges you to enjoy your romantic dinner date in the pitch black! You’ll be guided through your experience by blind servers, so you can experience your food with a heightened sense of taste and smell. Do you dare?
Enjoying dinner (or even an afternoon snack) in a spectacular theatre is possible in Madrid. Platea, located in Plaza de Colón, is a dazzling restaurant, converted from an old theatre. It covers almost 6,000 square meters and presents five floors of wonder. Platea hosts different spectacles and shows, every hour on the hour (aerial acrobatics, flamenco performances, acoustic sets or DJs. The show must go on!
Credit: Facebook @plateamadrid