You wouldn’t normally visit the Spanish capital just for the main purpose of eating and trying its cuisine; the purpose most of the times is related to monuments, museums, churches, and of course, Spain’s history. However, there are some people interested in Madrid street food.
Moreover, visitors won’t expect to turn their visit into an unforgettable gastronomic experience. How will that be possible? It’s because of the traditional food, tapas and food markets.
We will share today with you our favourite chefs. They will make your trip!
- Traditional Madrid dishes
- Cuisine & gastronomy for alternative travellers
Let’s start the guide for Madrid street food from its roots.
If you are travelling to a foreign country, you have to try the local cuisine. No experience will be complete without trying delicious dishes at a local atmosphere. We will start with typical bocata de calamares, the famous tortilla de patatas and the delicious cocido. They are starter kit for a Madrid street food experience.
1-. Bocata de calamares
This is a very typical dish that would perfectly represent Madrid street food at its best exposure. You could find it in almost every Spanish bar or restaurant.
It is very simple. ‘Bocata de calamares’ consists of a sandwich (baguette style loaf of bread) filled with fried squids. Regularly, the size of the sandwich is quite big, definitely not like a tapa.
A bocadillo is a huge portion of bread, very different than the montadito which is a tiny sbread. In Spanish language, bocata is the short word for bocadillo.
There are plenty of restaurants around Plaza Mayor where you can try them, such as La Campana in Calle de Botoneras, 6.
You should never pay more than 4 euros for a “bocata”. Furthermore, do not forget to order a fresh Cerveza (beer) to share with your sandwich.
Talking about cervezas, if you want to taste the very authentic Madrilenian beer, Mahou should be your first choice. It’s everywhere in Madrid. More than a beer, we would say that it’s an institution. Part of the history of the city.
2-. Tortilla de patata
Spain’s most famous Spanish tapa. For instance, people sometimes eat a ración (portion depending on the number of guests) for brunch. You’ll also find others who try them as a pincho (smaller portion) with bread.What about a plain tortilla at night with a glass of vermut or wine?
Tortilla de patata’s main ingredients are potatoes, eggs and onion. In other words, the ideal vegetarian alternative to Madrid street food.
We would recommend you Taberna Pedraza, which features a tortilla counter. Incredible, huh? You also have to try Pez Tortilla, either in Calle del Pez or Cava Baja. There exists many different tastes, such as the special tortillas stuffed with truffle, brie cheese or cured ham.
3-. Cocido madrileño
It is one of the most traditional dishes in the Spanish capital city. In the very beginning, it was enjoyed by nearly 100% of the population.
Cocido madrileño is a popular regional dish, cooked by families for special days or events. In order to cook it, it won’t be necessary to spend a lot of money. However, it could be considered as a gourmet meal in some specialized restaurants.
When you ask a native madrileño (person born & raised in town) which restaurant features the tastiest cocido, there will always be one answer: my mother.
Moreover, it’s not the same to eat it at home than in the restaurant. People usually go for a siesta afterwards. When these locals are asked “What is the best restaurant in Madrid to try cocido?” the answers will change to La Bola situated in central Madrid or Malacatín in the middle of La Latina district.
Please be sure that you book ahead of time at any of these two restaurants.
Other options for Madrid street food
This article was possible thanks to a collaboration with Enzo Lauretta from Madridiana. It was his expertise on the field what allowed us to elaborate this short guide to enjoy the best Madrid street food.
The opinion of an Italian food expert
He has the longest list of international restaurants to suggest. In other words, he is curious by nature and always loves to try different cultures.
Enzo would start with an italian restaurant. Mr. Lauretta goes there at least once a week. He loves to take away a special pizza from Gabriele, the owner at La Capricciosa (La Latina). This is a tiny trattoria with a lovely familiar atmosphere, and great authentic italian food.
Killer Sobo is a mix between typical Spanish food and Japanese, they call “Japo Castizo”. It’s amazing. It is located in Calle de la Redondilla, 7.
Later, we would find the Chinese restaurant he has suggested everybody during the last season. It’s called Biang Biang. The restaurant is located in Chueca district, Calle de Pelayo, 8.
The owner is the sweetest person you could ever meet and their tallerines are epic. Enzo has lost count of all the times he had lunch there.
Best vegetarian flavour in town
According to Enzo’s words, “it is difficult to write down just one favourite vegetarian restaurant”. He turned vegetarian at the beginning of 2020 and he had time to discover a few gems before the Coronavirus hit the country.
Pizzi & Dixie and Fantastic V in Malasaña where his latest discoveries. The former is famous for its pizzas and for the italian touch on the menu. The chef wrote the very interesting book “Slow Vegan”.
The latter it’s a tiny place with a unique atmosphere. They do takeaways. Fantastic V has the most impressive vegan burger you could find in Madrid.
For a very typical Spanish tapas experience, Enzo would recommend our guests Cervecería Restaurante Padrón in Noviciado. They serve raciones and for every cerveza or vermut you order, a tasty side dish is included for your enjoyment.
It’s not for having dinner, just an “aperitivo” (side dish included in the price of a drink)
Madrid’s most famous mercados (food markets)
Las but not least, we would find the food markets that every neighborhood has. You couldn’t spend your trip in Madrid without visiting any of the following mercados:
- Antón Martín market (Calle de Santa Isabel, 5)
- Mercado de la Cebada (Plaza de la Cebada, S/N)
- Mercado de los Mostenses (Plaza de los Mostenses, 1)
What we may observe is that these markets do not only sell groceries, but they have also turned into a very special place where to hang out. You could find there bars next to stalls selling fresh & organic products. For instance, fishmongers who offer their products in a tapas style.
Cooltourspain’s opinion about Madrid street food
I know this food guide sounds like two or three kilos more on your way back, but trust me it worth every bite of tortilla and every sip of cocido you we’ll have!