We are in the capital of Spain, so please treat me like a queen!!! Food in Madrid is delicious, if you get out from the tourist route for sure you will find some awesome [and cheap] places to eat, drink and have fun. Go for local dinners and you won’t be ripped off, and will experience the real and delicious food in Madrid.
To be honest I did expect that we would be parting all nights in Madrid, but turned out we enjoyed so much the day time activities that we ditched the clubs to be fresh in the next day expedition. However, on the nights that we went out we found some nice places to experience a local dinner and drinks. Without a doubt, the best area for trying the best food in Madrid are Malasaña and Chueca, also you can find good places around Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.
Malasaña neighborhood is full of small tapas bars and trendy restaurants. There you can find from a traditional Spanish tapa to a cheap pizza, it all depends on your taste and pocket. Besides Malasaña is the Chueca area, well-known for the clubs, gay bars, and sex shops. I love there, so many nice places, lively streets and people with different styles. Our pick for two nights out there was the tapas bar El Tigre, food in Madrid with tons of fun and interesting people!
Our recommendations for good and cheap food in Madrid
– El Tigre
[cheap and local food in Madrid]
Address: Calle de las Infantas, 30
Getting there: metro Banco de España (L2), Gran Vía (L1, L5) and Chueca (L5) or you can go walking, nice place to get around.
Opening Hours: daily 2pm – 3am
Price: Food & Beer/Sangria 5€ per person
Tips: Be prepared to eat a lot, drink a lot and get squeezed by the crowd.
El Tigre is one of those places that you can have cheap food and drink but also have great fun. It is made for local people, but became famous among foreign students and travelers who want something more original from Madrid. The tapas bar is really small and you can barely see it when you walk through the street, and that’s the charm of it. Just go there who is willing to do it.
As soon as you get there, try to find a small corner to stop by, and don’t bother to look for tables and chairs: you won’t find them. The idea is: drink – eat – laugh – get out! Find your spot and start the teamwork, one stay taking care of the space, the other goes to the bar and order a BIG GLASS (1 liter) of beer or sangria, it costs 5€, and you get for free a huge plate of assorted tapas. End of the story, with two glasses you already have your dinner. Money saved!
Ok, it is not the most stylish restaurant, neither the most organized one [as people tend to be a little messy while eating], but the food and the atmosphere make up for everything. A good option to start the night or to go for some snacks after parting. And don’t be shy, when you go for the second round ask the waiter for your favorite ones.
[best selections of tapas and gourmet food in Madrid]
Address: Plaza de San Miguel
Getting there: metro Sol (L1, L2, L3) and Ópera (L2 and L5), bus lines: 3, 148
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday 10am – 12pm / Thursday to Saturday 10am – 2am
Price: tapas from 4€ till menu for 15€ per person
Tips: Before ordering walk through the whole market, the variety of food and prices is huge so it is better to check all the options first.
The market is beautiful, full of color, flavors, and smells. When I got inside I had the desire of eating everything. From the veggies shelves, Jamon tapas, till sweet cakes. Everything!!! Although I did not, the prices were quite expensive for us, but definitely totally worth every penny you expend there. Of course, we tried some delicious food: a Jamon montadito [bread with fresh ingredients], a brie and sun-dried tomatoes montadito, arroz de pulpo [rice with octopus], with a Spanish white wine. But a proper meal was out of our reach.
After tasting lunch or dinner get a coffee and some sweets, take a sit around the square and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the market. It was built in 1916 and it is all made in iron and glass. In the past it was a place for trading groceries, fruits and meat, now it is more a gourmet point where people meet to have a few tapas and sip wine.
[perfect for a snack, food in Madrid on a go]
Address: Atocha St, 54
Getting there: metro Antón Martín (L1), bus lines: 18, 22, 86
Opening hours: every day from 9am – 12pm
Price: beer + tapa 5€ per person
Tips: There are five of this restaurant in Madrid, we just tried the one that is located at Atocha street. Good place to go with friends, nice beers offers.
We were walking around Madrid city center and we passed by this restaurant. The name caught my attention and all the Jamon legs hanging inside was an invitation to get in and try. When you think about food in Madrid, Museo Del Jamon is known as a traditional place. And the place looks like a museum indeed, there are legs all around, different types, cuts, origins and prices. You can eat in or take home. We preferred to stay and get a beer with some tapas and of course the Jamon.
The restaurant offers really nice deals, especially for groups that can buy buckets of beer and share food. As we are in Spain most of the people don’t sit to eat, so be prepared to sneak into a small place around the bar counter. The name of the shop comes from 1978 when it was founded on the Paseo del Padro, next to the most important city museums. So it could not have a different name.
Around Museo del Jamon there are other local restaurants, as in Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol [near San Miguel Market]. Those areas are famous for good and affordable food in Madrid, but also an area of pickpockets, so look after your belongings. In general, Madrid is a very safe city, we walked around the city late at night and never had a problem. Around Puerta del Sol square you will spot some strange faces and some girls working, but not a big problem at all.
In the same area there are lots of clubs for salsa music specially made for tourists. I personally don’t recommend them but feel free to try. Later you can give me your thoughts about it!
Check big events like Rock and Run
As we said Madrid is a huge city with tones of things happening every week. Before traveling, check the official website to find out what is going on in the Spanish capital. Maybe you can attend an awesome concert or take part in some competition.
On the Sunday that we were there, it was happening the Spanish edition of Rock and Run. We are big fans of running and rock and roll so the event was great fun for us. The big thing about this competition is that along the course there are stages with rock bands playing for the athletes and crowd.
We stopped in front of the Royal Palace to watch it. As the runners passed by to complete the 42 kilometers, families, supporters and tourists were cheering and dancing at Plaza do Oriente. We did the same, enjoyed the sunny morning. Rob was taking pictures and I was practicing some of my rock moves.
The race started early in the morning and went through all the city center. No surprise that most of the streets were closed and some tourists were complaining about it. That’s why is important to have a look at what is going on in the city, you can plan your day and don’t get surprised on your way. During big events public transport tends to have a different schedule, streets sometimes are closed and security is enhanced.
Summer is a big moment for all Europeans cities. If you are traveling during this season is almost sure that you are going to see some music festivals, food markets, sports competition and lots of local parties. Enjoy it, be part of it. In Spain, summer is time for Ferias [local fair with food, children amusement park and flamenco dance], or San Juan night with big bonfires and fireworks.
Make sure to check the dates before booking your trip, I am sure you don’t want to miss all this. It is such a unique experience! We were supposed to stay for two weeks in Spain, by the end we were there for a month, and I was sad about leaving.
Have you visited Spain already? How is your experience with food in Madrid? Do you like it?