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Travelling in Madrid means visiting exquisite museums, wandering along extensive boulevards while looking at the dramatic architecture, strolling through perfectly manicured gardens, and feasting on some tasty Spanish delicacies like paella, cava, and tapas of course! When eating in Madrid, having tapas is an absolute must. Spanish tapas are most commonly enjoyed as an appetizer before dinner, or they are eaten as a small snack while bar-hopping during that time in between the end of the workday and dinner.
These little plates are a national treasure when it comes to Spanish gastronomy, and there is really no hard and fast rule as to what makes a tapa. Tapas can vary from veggies to meat, they can be hot or cold, raw or cooked, and baked or fried. They literally come in all shapes and sizes. What you eat will definitely depend on where you eat. So, before you start to wonder where to eat in Madrid, have a look at our top five tapas spots below!
Opening Hours: 13:00-16:00 and 20:00-24:00 Monday through Sunday
This one is one of the coolest places to enjoy tapas in Madrid. Super stylish and super trendy, this restaurant offers some of the best tapas. They have been able to take traditional Spanish tapas and give them a contemporary twist, making for some modern, yet, unique dishes. The tapas are tasty and presented in truly artistic ways. It is super chic; they are known for their stylish décor in a comfortable and modern setting. The service is great, and most of the waiters even speak English, which is good news for all the non-Spanish speakers out there! They also have amazing tasting menus, so if you are really hungry you can try a little bit of everything. They will even help you choose a wine to pair with your dish, so don’t be shy when it comes to asking them for recommendations.
Opening Hours: Monday- Sunday 12:00 – 2:00
It has a cool interior, chic and trendy but not too overdone. The atmosphere is a bit quirky with an alternative vibe and a super friendly staff. The menu is really interesting, as it has most of your more classic traditional tapas, but it also has some somewhat experimental dishes- tapas with a modern twist. Their highly creative menu means that everyone in your group is sure to find something that suits their taste buds. They also have a great cocktail menu that is just as varied and “unconventional” as their food dishes.
Insider’s Tip: Try the gazpacho and the croquetas for your tapas order, and also go for the “Mother of Dragons” cocktail- a great shout out to all those Game of Thrones fans!
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00 -24:00
Eating in Madrid would not be complete without a trip to this restaurant. Located not too far from the Sol neighbourhood, it’s a great place to have a snack after spending the afternoon at the beautiful Plaza Mayor. Centuries ago, the same site was once a church, a public square, and then an open-air market. Though the iron framework has been renovated, it is still the spitting image of the covered market it once was when it was first inaugurated in 1916.
It has more than thirty stalls of everything you could dream of eating and drinking: fruit and vegetables, tapas, baked goods, beer, wine, champagne, and much more. It’s one of the most popular meeting spots, both for locals and tourists, for tapas and drinks. The atmosphere is fun and lively, and it’s a great spot for couples, singles, groups, and families.
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday 13:00-1:00 and Friday-Sunday 13:00-2:00
The best way to find a good restaurant or bar is to see which one is the most crowded. Judging by the large crowds and constant influx of people, it is one of the best spots for Spanish food in Madrid. This place will usually be packed in the evenings and especially on weekends, but keep in mind there is a little seating area downstairs if it becomes too hectic. This restaurant is a cute little place in Madrid Centro, not too far from Plaza Mayor, and it makes our list for a few reasons.
The tapas menu is quite extensive, offering heaps of traditional items. They are vegetarian-friendly, and they also have both vegan and gluten-free options. In addition to the delicious food, they also have a great selection of wine and cava. However, most people come to sip on the homemade vermouth. FYI- The Manuela Vermouth Cocktail, their little concoction of vermouth, gin, and Campari served up in a Martini glass, is known for being the best in Madrid! Best of all, they are open seven days a week and their kitchen is open from 1 in the afternoon until midnight.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 17:00-2:00 and Friday-Saturday 17:00-2:30
Whether you are eating solo or in a small group, this restaurant will take good care of you. Their staff are super friendly and speak multiple languages, so communication definitely will not be an issue. Located in the Chueca District of Madrid, it is just two blocks from the Chueca metro stop, so it’s super easy to get to. Serving signature cocktails and tasty dishes with love, their cuisine could be called a nice little mix of Spanish, Mediterranean, European, Contemporary, and Fusion. The ambience of the restaurant is fantastic; it’s really upbeat and everyone there- diners, drinkers, and workers alike- all seem to be busting with energy. The casual urban décor and the gentle lighting of this cute little boutique restaurant make you feel comfortable and right at home. They have a great selection of tapas with a few spins on some of the classics. They also boast an extensive cocktail menu: a lot of traditional drinks and many of their own signature mixes.
Insider’s Tip: They do not take reservations, so either show up a bit early or be prepared to wait, especially on weekends.
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30-17:00 and 19:00-23:00 and Saturdays 11:30-16:00
Located in Madrid Centro, this restaurant is a super cute tapas bar run by a local couple. The friendly owners are so warm and welcoming that they have even been known to invite special guests to see how they prepare and cook the meals in the kitchen. They aren’t known to be multi-lingual, but they are so hospitable that you definitely will not feel uneasy if you cannot speak the local language very well. In fact, it will probably enhance your experience. This little mom and pop shop is in a touristy area, but it somehow flies under the radar, as it is mostly visited by locals. Their dishes are really tasty, and they are known for having the best tortillas in Madrid. The seating is limited, but the great selection of local wine and beer make up for it. If you only have a short time in Madrid and you are looking for a more authentic experience, this is definitely the best place to go. Be sure that you hit up the ATM before you go, as they are a cash-only restaurant and do not accept credit cards.