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Calle Cava Baja: Eating Down Madrid’s Most Epic Tapas Street

50+ tapas bars in only 300 meters (.18 miles?) Have you died and gone to heaven? Nope – you’re still very much alive, hungry, and on the Calle De Cava Baja in Madrid – Caleb and I’s favorite places to “tapa” when we’re in Madrid! Every single time, we make sure we do a tapas crawl on this street. We travel for food and Madrid’s famous tapas street understood the assignment.

This post is an insider guide to where to eat on this famous tapas street, even if you just have a short time in the city. Caleb and I have been to every spot and eaten everything we recommend.

Let’s dig in!

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Quick Facts To Know before Eating Your Face Off

  1. Calle Cava Baja is one of Madrid’s liveliest streets with loads of bars and restaurants – more than 50 tapas bars! It’s a fun place to spend a night on a weekend in Madrid!
  2. It’s located in the La Latina neighborhood, one of our favorite foodie spots.
  3. It’s in the heart of Madrid, just a couple of minutes away from Plaza Mayor and Mercan San Miguel, making it super easy to add to your Madrid itinerary with its central location.

1. Taberna La Concha

La Concha Madrid is in our favorite restaurants on Madrid’s Cava Baja. They’re known for their Spanish “fusion” tapas and classics and homemade vermouth cocktails called “Manuela.”

We always bring their homemade vermouth back from Spain. We go there multiple times every time we’re in the city. There’s a lively upstairs and a quieter downstairs that’s nice for a more romantic vibe!

What to order: We’ve had almost everything on the menu, and it’s all good. Our favorites are the Thai curry fish balls, stewed pork cheeks, and meatballs in tomato sauce.

And, if you don’t get vermouth, we can’t be friends because it’s the best in Madrid.

Insiders Tips:

  • Book in advance on their website Monday through Thursday because this spot is packed!
  • Stay away from the afternoon – the afternoon waiters are not as friendly to tourists, and the food/vermouth cocktail quality dips.
  • Don’t get the white vermouth – the red is better.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 7, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

2. Taberna Del Tuerto

This adorable little bar situated at the beginning or end of the very walkable Cava Baja (depending on where you start) is lined with colorful ceramic tiles on the walls, a ceramic floor, and exposed brick walls – just like every old-school tapas bar should be.

Here, they are known for a variety of toasts, but the pork cheek is the star, as well as the homemade vermouth, which, we can say from personal experience, is incredible. 

What to order: Seriously, get the cheek toast. It was 10/10 “would recommend on Yelp.” Like so memorable I wish I could eat 100 of them. The cheek is stupid tender with caramelized onions and the crispy yet soft bread? How they did it, we don’t know, but we’re here for it.

Insiders Tip: The tapas are a little more expensive here than in other places, but worth it.  

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 7, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

3. La Perejila

Ugh, where do I start with this Calle Baja Madrid gem? The ultra-bright lime green walls and a random mix of mirrors and frames make this spot a whole vibe to add to your bucket list! It’s loud, bustling, and kinda chaotic in a fun way.

There are tons of locals here, not just tourists (a big plus for us), and they’re known for their homemade “vermouth de Grifo” (vermouth on tap), which we had to sample for…research. 👀

What to order: If you don’t try the Sobrasada toast with manchego cheese, you’re missing out. The mussels are also incredible and come in a huge portion.

Insiders Tip: They prefer you to eat here, not just drink, especially during busy hours, so it’s not the best place for JUST a drink.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 25, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

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4. Taberna La Cava

Caleb and I think this la Latina tapas spot feels like a romantic cave with black ceilings, low lighting, exposed brick walls, and a massive wrap-around bar for standing and drinking if you’re not hungry.

What to order: If you like stuff on bread, this is your spot. They have a huge list of warm toasts, especially with fish toppings (anchovies, smoked cod, etc). Most of them are safe bets.

Insider’s Tip: DO NOT get the smoked salmon and cheese toast. We’ve found that this combo is common in Madrid, but we can confidently say it should never go near your mouth based on personal experience. The vermouth is A+ too!

Address:  C. de la Cava Baja, 28, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

5. Taberna Tempranillo

With a name like that, this barrio Latina Madrid tapas bar better have an excellent wine list, and after drinking our way through it, we can confirm they do. It’s one of our favorite tapas bars! The inside feels like an old, romantic wine cellar with a massive wall of wine bottles. Caleb described it as “Merlin’s wand shop, but make it wine.”

What to order: We recommend the quail breast pintxo toast and the squid pintxo toast with caramelized onions, which are unforgettable. Also, their “huevo dobloa with truffle” is a must-try.

And, duh, you gotta get a glass of Tempranillo.

Insiders Tip: Tables are for eating. For a drink only, cozy up at the bar and stand.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 38, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

6. Casa Lucas

Casa Lucas, famous on the Cava Baja, is a cozy tapas bar with wooden decor. They offer excellent hot and cold toasts and larger dishes, or you can just enjoy a drink at the bar.

What to order: We recommend the “Alella,” soy sauce chicken on toast with caramelized onion and corn mousse. The vermouth here is fine—not outstanding, but not bad either.

Insiders Tip: This spot might be more “touristy,” as we mainly heard English spoken.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 30, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

7. Erre Que Erre

Even if you can’t pronounce it, you must visit. They specialize in “pintxos,” various toppings on bread. The atmosphere is youthful and fun, especially on weekends!

What to order: Our favorites were the roast beef, pepper, and cheese toast and the smoked salmon, cream cheese, and lemon toast. Also, the white vermouth here is AMAZING.

Insiders Tip: No English menu, but you can choose by looking at the toasts displayed at the bar. Pointing worked well for us! We usually order what there is least of, as that means people are ordering it so it must be good!

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, Nº24, Centro, 28005

8. Pez Tortilla

Going to Pez Tortilla is about as authentic as it gets, from the super busy, should-to-shoulder standing-and-eating situation to the EPIC Tortillas Espanola that they are known for in a variety of flavors. It’s got a young, local, and lovely vibe that we think makes it one of the coolest spots in Madrid.

What to order: Any of their tortillas are good but we think the tortilla with arugula and caramelized onion is one of the best things to eat in Madrid. It’s super simple but a flavor bomb with perfect seasoning. Wash it down with a sweet-and-spiced vermouth!

Insiders Tip: There is no English menu, it’s just written in Spanish on the wall. There is also no waiter, you just order at the bar and possibly eat at the bar like Caleb and I did.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 42, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

9. La Bolita Vermoutheria

This dark, small, and BUSY tapas bar is focused on vermouth, and their list is as long as your Netflix “watch list.” They also have some small tapas with a focus on croquettes.

What to order:  We tried multiple kinds of vermouth, but their vermouth on tap (de grifo) is the best, with hints of balsamic and cinnamon. The mushroom croquettes were incredible and not greasy, just perfect crispy-golden-goodness.

Insiders Tip: The croquettes come in 3,5, or 8 sizes, and we recommend getting more than you think because they’re that good. Skip the artisanal vermouth – Caleb and I liked Taberna La Conchas A LOT better.

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 34, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

10. Lamiak

We’re genuinely obsessed with Lamiak, not in the fake “oh, I’m SO OBSESSED with this product that I’ll link for you to buy” influencer way. It’s eclectic and old-school, with yellow walls, wooden tables, and jazz posters.

It’s always bustling here. We waited to get in, and the waiter set us up in a corner with a stool for a table to enjoy vermouth and a free bruschetta tapa. The place is chaotic in a fun way that’s memorable.

What to order: Go for the popular beef cheeks with potato gratin. The potatoes are super cheesy, and the beef melts under your fork.

Insiders Tip: Perfect for when you’re over toast. They offer a wide selection of “non-toast” tapas at great prices!

Address: C. de la Cava Baja, 42, Centro, 28005 Madrid, Spain

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Many lists include Posada de La Villa in their cava baja Madrid restaurants list, and while it’s delicious, Caleb and I feel like including it here would be misleading. It’s more of a sit-down restaurant focusing on roast meats and not a tapas bar where you would go for a tapa or two and a drink. 

Our Personal Pro Tips

  1. Don’t bring a backpack or bag. There’s no space, so you’ll probably hit someone with it, and a backpack really makes you look like a tourist. 
  2. Embrace the awkwardness. You’ll have to stand around and wait for a table sometimes. It’s okay. Just go with it, and you’ll have more fun than if you feel weird about it and leave ASAP just because there isn’t a table right away. 
  3. Look for spots that serve “vermouth de grifo,” which means vermouth on tap. It’s homemade and always delicious.
  4. Don’t just go to a tapas bar; do a crawl. This is what the locals do; they usually go to 3-4 spots at night when they go out for tapas.

    We wrote all our best tips down on this Tapas Guide!
A tranquil scene of Cava Baja street in Madrid, lined with historic buildings painted in warm hues, with balconies overlooking the quiet, cobblestoned street in the early evening.

Self-Guided Tapas Crawl Map

Here’s a quick map we made of all 10 stops so you can plan your own tapas adventure!

When you’re done with your crawl on Cava Baja, we recommend doing this guided food tour in Madrid that has all different stops so you can have more amazing food. Caleb and I have done it twice, had different stops both times and loved both times!

If you guys love food as much as we do, you have to spend time at this famous tapas street in Madrid! Spain, in general, is one of the best places to visit for foodie couples in Europe! If you have any questions just leave a comment and we’ll respond ASAP!

Now that you’ve explored the more “touristy” food street on Madrid, it’s time to move on! If you want a *truly* local tapas crawl, you need to check out our ultimate guide to visiting Calle Ponzano!

Other Posts From Our Madrid Files:

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A couple stands embracing while looking at the Almudena Cathedral during sunset in Madrid, with the grand architecture and clear skies in the background

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Rosalie! Such a good thing to point out! We’re not HUGE “beer people” but the local favorite in Madrid is a brand called Mahou. You will find it EVERYWHERE!
      For wines, you’re safe with pretty much any red wine. Some of the must try’s are the classics: Tempranillo (Caleb’s fav), Rioja and Ribera Del Duero (which comes from pretty close to Madrid!) We have found the white wines to not be *as* good but I do really love their white variety called “Albariño.”

      There is a great Spanish wine bar called Vinoteca Vides that is close-ish to Calle Cava Baja that is an excellent place to try Spanish wine! The servers can help you choose based off your taste preferences. or, Taberna Tempranillo right on the Cava Baja has an AWESOME wine selection. Does this help?

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