Foodie in Madrid!
Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Champagne paired with fresh Seafood. Tapas with Vermouth on tap. Local markets carrying the worlds greatest hams and lets not forget about the local wine... We found Madrid to be a foodie's paradise when hanging out in Central region of Spain.
Welcome to Madrid! In my opinion, a foodies paradise... in this post we'll concentrate on eating our way through Madrid and exploring the world of tapas. For a more comprehensive guide to Central Spain with itineraries, food stops and activities - check out my previous blog " Dancing, Tapas and Gaudi" 6 days in Central Spain.
Lunch tip -- many bars and restaurants in Madrid serve a menu del dia - a prefix three-course lunch for €10-€15 find a local spot full of people and blend in!
We found Madrid to be a very easy and safe city to navigate via public transportation and by foot. We recommend you always carry cash for a taxi after a night of drinking and for "hole-in-the wall" Tapas spots you'll find along the way, as most don't take cards and its where the good foods at! You'll find locals eating at these spots... always a good sign! Also, don't shy away from over crowded restaurants. If a restaurant is super full it means the food is good. There's always room at the bar, even if full, just push your way through and make an order like a true spaniard, they'll make room. Finally, don't be alarmed if you see people tossing their garbage on the floor after eating as this is a common practice in Spain.
Food Tour with Devour Madrid —
When in a new city, we always love hanging out with locals and getting insiders tips on the best places to check out and new foods to try. We highly recommend Devour Madrid ; The name of the tour we chose was "Huertas Neighborhood Food & Market Tour" and its about 3.5 hours long, making a total of 9 stops for €75. This includes all food, drinks and local guide. Some of our favorite eats from this tour included: Homemade porra and chocolate, Freshly made potato crisps , cheese and wine tasting, Ham tasting and Tapas hoping drinking Sweet Vermouth on tap, a must while in Madrid!* Other tours available online.
Markets-- Explore the local Mercado de Anton Martin and the upscale & trendy Mercado San Miguel.
Mornings and Lunches are for Mercado de Anton Martin a local market where everyone goes shopping for fresh produce and meats so head there hungry! There's plenty of new foods to try at every stall. I highly recommend going Ham tasting at this market- Ham tasting is a big deal here in Spain and unless you're vegetarian its a must do during your stay. We tried a total of 3 hams: Jamon Serrano- which is the most common used for tapas and at restaurants. Jamon Iberico de Bellota- made from acorn fed pure breed iberico ham, one of Spains great delicacies. Cecina de Leon- beef ham that has been salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke. This is also a great market to try boquerones, go olive tasting and find local cheeses.
Happy Hour Mingling and Dinner belong to the a little more upscale Mercado de Anton Martin, one of our favorite eating spots in Madrid! We loved this market so much, we visited twice! You can find almost anything to eat here, fresh seafood, sweets and a great selection of wine. Our favorite stall was Mariscos Morris where we tried so many local and fresh seafood for the first time! After an elaborate tasting at this spot, here are my top 3 you should try. 1. Percebes or barnacles : I would have never even thought about trying this but here in Spain is very common and a delicacy at about €25 a plate. I loved it and think everybody should give it a try. 2. Sea urchin - so fresh and soft with a pudding texture that melts in your mouth, It almost tastes like a dessert. My first time trying it was at this market and I fell in love with it. Since, I've had it in Japan and New York City and my favorite spot to try them at is still this market. Its the freshest form of them all. They actually open it in front of you, sprinkle a dash of salt on top and the squeeze of a lemon is all it takes to eat this delicacy that is better enjoyed raw.
3. Forget happy hour oysters, Concha de Malaga is where its at. Its fished in the South of Spain in the beach town of Malaga. I'm not sure if its sold in the states but its definite a local find in Madrid so a great place to give it a try. During our seafood adventures we also became obsessed with boquerones, I recommend giving those a try as well. The stall right across from this one has great ones. You have to order a full plate though as single units are not sold but they are small so between two people its totally doable. Another great place to try boquerones is at Mercado de Anton Martin ( where we went ham tasting) and any tapas bar will have them as they are very common in Spain. For a night cap, take a stroll in the area of La Gran Via, making a stop at Circulo de Bellas Artes where you can visit its rooftop for some cocktails and city view. *Note: there's a fee to go up and drinks could be a bit overpriced. Other Spots to check out: Go Bar and tapas hoping in Barrio la Latina . Check out "El Viajero" with a secret roof Terrance. If in the Center near Plaza Mayor, our favorite spots were: Los Gatos, Casa Gonzales, Bodegas Ricla, Taberna el 7 de la Cava & Taberna la Concha. If you see a spot that looks interesting go in have a drink and a tapa. Something I love about Spain is that every time you order a drink you get a tapa on the house! Should be like that everywhere in my opinion.
Have other foodie spots in Madrid we misses and are your fav.? Leave a comment and we'll check them out next time we're around.