Champagne paired with fresh Seafood. Tapas with Vermouth on tap. Local markets carrying the world's most excellent hams, and let's not forget about the local wine. We found Madrid to be a foodie's paradise when hanging out in the Central region of Spain.
Welcome to Madrid! In my opinion, a foodie's 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" for 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 an effortless and safe city to navigate via public transportation and on 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 it's where the good foods at! You'll find locals eating at these spots; always a good sign! Also, don't shy away from crowded restaurants. If a restaurant is super full, it means the food is good. There's always room at the bar, even if full, push your way through and make an order like a real 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 insider tips on the best places to check out and fresh foods to try. We highly recommend Devour Madrid; The name of the tour we chose was "Huertas Neighborhood Food & Market Tour," and it's 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 foods from this tour were: Homemade Porra and Chocolate, Freshly made Potato Crisps, Cheese and Wine tasting, Ham tasting, and Tapas hopping, 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, it's a must do during your stay. We tried three hams: Jamon Serrano- which is the most commonly used for tapas and at restaurants. Jamon Iberico de Bellota- made from acorn-fed pure breed Iberico ham, one of Spain's sumptuous delicacies. Cecina de Leon- beef ham that has been salted and dried using 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 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 much 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, it is prevalent and a delicacy
about €25 a plate. I loved it! 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 have them is still this market. It's the freshest form of them all. They open it in front of you, sprinkle a dash of salt on top, and the squeeze of lemon is all it takes to eat this delicacy that is better enjoyed raw.
3. Forget happy hour oysters; Concha de Malaga is where it's at—caught in the South of Spain in Malaga's beach town. I'm not sure if it's sold in the states, but it's 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 it's doable between two people. 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 widespread in Spain. For a nightcap, 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 a 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 hopping 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 place that looks interesting, go in, have a drink and a tapa. I love Spain! Every time you order a drink, you get a tapa on the house! It should be like that everywhere, in my opinion.
Have other foodie spots in Madrid we missed and are your fav.? Leave a comment, and we'll check them out next time we're around.
Thanks for Reading!