Strolling in the city center of Madrid and looking for food is a fun activity – I am actually impressed by the taste and the delightful variety of Spanish cuisine: Seafood Paella, Tapas and Sangria, Iberia Ham, and Churro (*like emoji*) ~ make you almost impossible to say no to all these yummy delicacies and just walking around in Madrid may surprise you in a good way. To go beyond, I reached out to my fellow bloggers and they have shared some amazing experiences in Madrid, let’s have a taste of what Spanish dishes have to offer!
Mercado de San Miguel
A vibrant Spanish market with all kinds of delicious food
The most surprising experience in Madrid was that one afternoon we wandered to a local market – Mercado de San Miguel, not far from the Plaza Major. Surrounded by the glass wall, the market was not exceptionally big but it was well-lit by the Spanish sunlight “pro-” morning rain. During lunchtime, the market was packed with hungry travelers from all around the world, and the food stores had made their delicacy already and long queues were seen everywhere. Aside from the mouth-watering Tapas, Sangria, Paella, and Churros, the market has also handicraft stores, bars, ham stores…, you name it. Outside the market were a dynamic dining and relentless clubbing area. The passionate Latinos would probably give you the best hangover (which could last for days I’m sure). The market closes at 12 am on weekdays and is extended to 2 am on weekends, no city on earth is more ALIVE than Madrid! One of the most unforgettable finds in the market is the fresh and delicious oysters – oysters lovers alert!
Jamón at the San Miguel on a self-guided walking tour
The savory-sweet combination is absolutely sublime
Jamón is the Spanish word for ham and is one of the most famous food in Spain. This dry-cured ham is most commonly eaten in thin slices and pairs perfectly with melon. The savory-sweet combination is absolutely sublime!
Jamón starts as a whole pig’s leg packed in sea salt, which is left to absorb the salt for a few weeks. After that, the leg is hung to cure for up to four years. When the ham is ready, the whole legs are off to the food markets and tapas bars across Spain.
We started gorging on jamón at the incredible Mercado de San Miguel while on a self-guided walking tour of Madrid. Here you can see vendors slicing paper-thin slivers of ham right off the pig’s legs. Like elsewhere in the market, the food is beautifully presented and is like little edible works of art.
Another excellent option for jamón in Madrid is the aptly named Museo del Jamón. This stand-at-the-bar tapas joint serves various kinds of jamón with cheese or melon and cold beer, sangria or vermut.
What is Tapas?
A tapa is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine. Tapas can be anything, from hot to cold; from meat, seafood, to vegetables, as long as they are served in small dishes. While they are supposed to be “appetizers”, diners gather and order a table for tapas and enjoy a great time over beer. Common Spanish tapas had ingredients like olives, ham, meatballs, prawns, anchovies, squids, quail eggs, mussels, chorizo, tuna, potatoes, tomato, and more… the list goes on.
Tortilla de potatas at Casa Dani
Great place to have a taste of Spanish omelet – tortilla de patatas
Tortilla de patatas, also known as Spanish omelet or tortilla de papas, is a Spanish dish made with eggs, potatoes, onion, salt, and oil. I tried this recipe on my trip to Spain. I ate this at a restaurant named Casa Dani in Madrid. The restaurant has good reviews and its most famous dish is Tortilla de patatas. The ingredients included in this dish are Olive oil, Yukon gold potatoes, onions, eggs, and crushed salt. It is a regional dish and that is why trying it at the place of its origin is the best choice.
Casa Dani in Madrid is an ideal place to try the dish for the first time. The restaurant offers the dish at a reasonable price and the taste is worth the money. If you are visiting Madrid in winter, Tortilla de Patatas is something not to miss. The dish is warm and a perfect delicacy to serve during the low temperatures of Madrid. Tortilla de patatas is the best food in Madrid recognized by different names including tortilla Espanola or tortilla de papas. The dish is cooked in a skillet and it is served as Tapa. People enjoy it with a baguette and green salad or even simply as a snack.
Bocadillo de Calamares at El Brillante, Casa Maria or Bar Postas
A squid sandwich that was influenced by Andalusian cuisine
Strolling through the streets of Madrid and enjoying a bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) have always gone hand in hand. This mythical snack is the perfect alternative to recharge your batteries and there is no Madrileño who does not honor this dish that boasts tradition like no other.
The origin of this dish came under the influence of Andalusian gastronomy as taverns around Madrid started offering this affordable crispy dish stuffed in a bun. Whether shaped in the form of rings or strips, fried or in tempura, bathed in lemon, or seasoned with daring mayonnaise, bocadillo de calamares is always a crowd pleaser.
If you are 3 days in Madrid, here are three places where you should have bocadillo de calamares.
- El Brillante – located in front of the Atocha Station, this tapas restaurant, opened in 1954 and is one of the most famous places in the city.
- Casa Maria – located in Plaza Mayor, it’s an ideal place to sit and admire this breathtaking place, bocadillo in hand.
- Bar Postas – located in Los Austrias neighborhood is a place with tradition and a winner in the art of the squid.
What are Churros?
Chrruo is a Spanish dessert bakery, it is a sweet strip of fried dough dusted with granulated sugar, cinnamon, chocolate sauce, vanilla cream, and other toppings.
Think of it as a Spanish doughnut stick – it is typically piped from a star-tipped pastry bag and it could be folded or served short. The origin of churros is unclear, it was believed that the recipe may have brought to Europe from China by the Portuguese; another guess? Churros was made by Spanish shepherds to substitute for fresh baked goods.
Churros at Chocolatería San Ginés
Serving the best authentic Spanish churros
Milijana from World Travel Connector
Iconic ‘churros con chocolate‘ are a classic Spanish dessert and some of the most popular Spanish food. If you want to try some of the best authentic Spanish churros with chocolate in Spain, head to La Chocolatería San Ginés in Madrid.
Famous La Chocolatería San Ginés is the most popular spot in Madrid to have arguably the yummiest chocolate con churros in Spain. Legendary Chocolatería San Ginés is a 5-star chocolate cafe in Madrid where guests lick their fingers while dipping delicious fresh churros in hot, dark, and thick chocolate. The chocolatería has a long-held reputation for serving excellent food and for outstanding service. Actually, La Chocolatería San Ginés is one of the most touristy places in Madrid for a good reason. Getting unarguably the most fabulous churros with the most fantastic chocolate in Madrid is well worth waiting in a queue! La Chocolatería San Ginés was founded in 1894 as a churrería (a traditional churros shop). The charming interior of San Ginés cafe embraces romantic cafes of the late 19th century. La Chocolatería is located in the passage of San Gines near the Gate of the Sun in the heart of Madrid. It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Churros are traditionally eaten in Spain for breakfast. So, when in Madrid, head early in the morning to Chocolatería San Ginés and sweeten the start of your day with the best churros con chocolate in Madrid!
Cochinillo Asado at Sobrino de Botín
The oldest restaurant in the world in Guinness World Record
We wandered in the city drunken after a fulfilling afternoon meal, we ran into the Restaurante Botin, which was claimed by the Guinness World Record to be “The oldest restaurant in the world”. It says on the certificate, the restaurant was opened in 1725 and has been operating ever since; it even retains the original 18th-century firewood oven! It was run by the Gonzalez family.
As we had just eaten, we came back the same night – luckily we were able to grab a table and just walk in with only a short wait outside.
We had a jug of Sangria and tried Cochinillo Asado – Spanish Suckling pig (NOT Chicharrón!!), which seemed to be a signature dish of the restaurant. Well, it tasted good, and we had a good time, and the experience of dining in the oldest restaurant in the world was special enough. 🙂