My experience eating in Madrid has been a rough one. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve eaten plastic, and paper… I’ve also witnessed food being taken out of a dirty bus bucket and served to customers. Eating out in Europe is a lot different than eating out in America to say the least. I have had my fair share of questionable nights out in America but that is nothing compared to the experiences I have had in Spain. With that being said, I have tried to name my top 3 places to eat in Madrid so far. I have been in Madrid for almost 4 months now and have eaten at quite a few restaurants but these three have had me coming back many times, starting new traditions, and telling people!
Ochenta Grados- Calle de Manuela Malasaña 10
I first went to Ochenta Grados with my honorary tios from Madrid. I have the utmost trust in them when it comes to choosing restaurants (and anything else) because they have impeccable taste, and they have never failed to amaze me when going out to eat. The atmosphere of the restaurant was trendy and clean. The menu is only small plates and tapas so it is typical to order a few and keep ordering while you are eating. The service was great, presentation even better, and it was clean! These were by far the best patatas bravas I’ve had yet and that is saying something because I get patatas bravas everywhere I go. I would recommend going to this place for a “tapas and wine” night with friends, order a few menu items and choose from their large selection of Spanish wines for a chill night out.
What I ordered: Ensalada de Quinoa, Solomillo (pork), Patas Bravas, Fruita del dia
Things to note: Best patatas bravas I’ve had in Spain (so far), typical Spanish restaurant that closes during siesta it usually opens back up around 8:30 pm.
Menu: Tapas/small plates
Offers: gluten free menu, pregnancy menu (…?), and English menu .
Attire: Casual/ Upscale
The Green Club Cafe- Calle de Manuela Malasaña, 30
It took me a while to finally go to this cafe because it was just far enough from my apartment to be too lazy to walk to, but too close to take the metro. Finally one grocery-less Sunday my roommate and I decided to check it out. This cafe has the best of both worlds; it has a relaxed and organic atmosphere, yet it is impeccably clean and feels as if you are at a sit down restaurant when you get your food. You can come in during the day with your laptop and sip on your cafe con leche or have wine and tapas before a night out, both very fitting options. The Green Club Cafe has since become a lazy Sunday ritual for my roommate and I, we get the brunch deal with fresh squeezed orange juice and it never lets us down.
What I ordered: I usually get the 8.95 menu del dia for brunch. For 8.95 you get a drink and a plate with 4 items (bacon, egg, gaspacho, etc.).
Things to note: they have a daily gluten free dessert, free wifi, and it is common to bring your laptop
Menu: Tapas/ Normal plates
Offers: Gluten free options (bread and pastries)
El Caldero- Calle Huertas, 15
I came here with my friend and her family (native Spaniards) for lunch on a Sunday. The restaurant is small and there was a wait but it was well worth it. The atmosphere is nice, white table cloths and dressed waiters was the norm, even during lunch. Traditional Spanish cuisine is the main focus in this little restaurant, everything was perfectly plated and made to order. It was cozy and quiet, perfect for a night out or late lunch (aka normal Spanish lunch time).
What I ordered: Paella mixta and jamon serrano for appetizer
Things to note: Paella is delivered to the table in its traditional serving pan on a cart, after dinner we received complementary shots of homemade caramel liquor.
Menu: Full plates
Offers: Speak to your server for dietary needs
Attire: Casual/ Upscale
There it is, my three favorites so far. I am sure these will change with time so I will definitely make another post about food in the future, there can never be enough food related blog posts in my opinion. I can assure you that all of these places are clean and not “questionable” as I like to put it. There are literally tons of restaurants and cafes everywhere you go in Madrid so it can be hard to tell which one are hidden gems. I hope this aids you in your search for good eats around Madrid be sure to let me know how it goes!