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Where to Eat in Madrid

Madrid’s gastronomy is very varied and could be described as a mix of Spanish cuisine from various regions. The dishes are normally tasty, filling and are usually ordered to share.

Going out for tapas in Madrid is a great tradition and the city is full of tapas bars or taverns. Most of the capital’s traditional dishes are served as “raciones”, large portions which are ordered to share with your friends or family. Another perk about Madrid is that a lot of restaurants serve food throughout the day, so you won’t have to worry about having a tight schedule during your holidays.

Although Madrid is not a coast city, it has numerous quality seafood restaurants. One of the most popular seafood dishes is called “calamares a la romana” (fried squid). There are several bars that offer delicious fried squid sandwiches around Plaza Mayor, a must if you haven’t tried it!

Restaurant in Madrid
Restaurant's window display in Madrid

Traditional dishes

Madrid has several typical dishes, some of which can also be found in other regions, with slightly different ingredients. These are some of the most popular dishes:

  • Orejas a la plancha: Grilled pig ear with garlic and parsley. It is usually served with chips.
  • Gallinejas: Deep-fried lamb insides and intestines.
  • Caracoles a la madrileña: “Madrid-made snails”, snails that have been cooked slowly in a meat broth, which is sometimes a little spicy. 
  • Cocido madrileño: Traditional chickpea-based soup with meat.
  • Callos a la madrileña: Made with pig stomach, chorizo, ham, tomato and paprika, this dish is usually served in winter.
  • Soldaditos de Pavia: Little bits of battered and fried cod served with red peppers.
  • Huevos estrellados: Fried egg with chips, ham, chorizo or chistorra (fast-cure sausage).
  • Pastas del consejo: Small lemon biscuits made for the first time for King Alfonso XII during the nineteenth century.
  • Rosquillas tontas y listas: A type of ring-shaped pastry, only made in May. The “listas” have a layer of icing sugar.
  • Rosquillas de Santa Clara: These rosquillas taste of anise and have a layer of icing sugar.
  • Bartolillo: Fried sweets with a cream filling.
  • Barquillo: A type of wafer with icing sugar.

If you don’t want to spend too much…

If you don’t want to spend too much money eating out, you’ll find numerous cheap restaurants, especially tapas bars and local taverns near calle Fuencarral and Gran Vía.