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Where to Eat and Avoid On Madrid’s Calle Ponzano: One Of The Most Epic Tapas Streets

71+ tapas bars in only 1 kilometer (.6 miles). Are you dreaming? Nope – you’re just on Calle Ponzano – one of the most loves-by-locals for EPIC tapas in Madrid!! While Caleb and I love Calle Cava Baja, it’s a little more “touristy” than Ponzano. We always makes sure to visit this hidden gem every time we’re in Madrid!

I mean, we fly over oceans in glorified tin cans with wings just to eat good food, and Calle Ponzano just gets it. 😏

This post is an insider guide to where to eat in this less-touristy residential area. If you’re a food-loving couple like us, we want to help you experience the best eats! Let’s dig in!

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Quick Facts To Know Before Tapas-ing Your Heart Out

  • The menus will be in Spanish, and the servers may or may not speak English. Follow our tips for speaking English in Madrid for the best experience.
  • The tapas on Calle Ponzano are high quality, which means higher prices.
  • While Madrid is super walkable, Calle Ponzano is about a 45-minute walk outside Madrid city center. You can always take a 20-minute metro ride. Or, if you have a car in Madrid, you could drive, just don’t drink and drive.
  • This street is so loved by locals that it has its own hashtag, #ponzaning, and the regulars are called #ponzaners.

1. 4 Latas

Oh my gosh, friends, this is the coolest HIDDEN GEM in Calle Ponzano. If you choose one place, it should be 4 lanes, as it was our favorite on the road. The vibe here is young (but not in a way that makes you feel old) and trendy, with dark, moody lighting and dark walls. It’s perfect for a more upscale, romantic, chill, and fun weekend out.

The menu here is HUGE and a Spanish fusion, and we wanted to eat virtually everything. 

What to order: The sobrasada, brie, and honey bikini (which is like a grilled cheese, not a swimsuit) will knock your taste buds out of your face, and we may have fought over who gets the last bite of artichoke flower with egg and Iberico ham.

The vermouth here is very spice-forward with a nice sweet balance, and we give it 11/10. Salud!

Insiders Tip: For the fastest service, walk up the bar and order, as servers don’t come around much.

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 49, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

If you’re looking to save money in Madrid, the Chamberi neighborhood (where Ponzano is!) is a GREAT option! Click here to check prices, photos and availability of hotels in the area!

2. Le Qualite Tasca

This adorable little spot is probably the most romantic bar restaurante Caleb and I visited. It’s so pretty, with tiled tables, a bar, and plants hanging around. It’s the perfect bar to check out if you want to be in the vibe of Ponzano but still want a romantic evening away from the hustle and bustle. 

What to order: The guide of this epic food tour we did (twice!) told us to come for the Potatas bravas. The menu actually said they won an award for the best bravas in the WORLD in 2022 and holy freaking moly, we see why. You need to eat these on your bucket list, OMG.

They were roasted whole baby potatoes (not fried chunks) and topped with the creamiest and slightly spicy paprika sauce with some kind of meat on each potato.

I can’t write anymore because I am going to get too hungry. 

Insiders Tips:

  • There is no English menu (like most spots here), and the staff don’t speak English.
  • It’s more expensive than other bars but worth it.
  • They tapas list is small and they have more larger plates than smaller if you’re looking for a more “dinner” experience.

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 48, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

3. La Sastreria

You know Caleb and I basically EXIST for vermouth (you think I’m exaggerating, but am I?) and always bring it home from Spain. This vermoutheria on the corner of Calle Ponzano, with 8 KINDS of vermouth ON TAP, is as authentic as it gets. It’s one of our favorite vermouth bars in the city!

If you don’t go, Justin Bieber will write a new song…we can’t have that.

What to order: They have everything from red to white vermouth, and we recommend the house vermouth. Boring? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.

They also have multiple kinds of mussels and Gilda (skewers with pepper, olive, and cured fish), which we loved.

Insiders Tip: Don’t go here super hungry as the menu is small, and it’s more for drinking with a small snack.

Address: Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 17, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

4. Fide

Fide is a LIVELY, shoulder-to-shoulder little spot for varieties of seafood toasts, plates of seafood, and seafood salads. They have two locations on the street, and both are great!

There are a few tables to eat at, but the fun is about crowding around the bar like sardines while EATING sardines (…haha?) This spot is super fun and feels really local. Our waiter spoke English, which is a bonus in these parts!

What to order: We LOVED the anchovy toast, which had somehow crispy-yet-fluffy bread with a salty anchovy and lots of awesome olive oil. Plain ol’ plates of sardines also looked very popular!

Insiders Tip: We had vermouth here, and some people had wine, but most people were drinking beer, so you should probably get that.

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 8, Chamberí, 28010 Madrid, Spain

5. Candeli

Oh la la – a Michelin guide-recommended restaurant! While this (slightly more expensive) spot is more of a “sit down,” it has a more low-key and romantic vibe than some of the other bustling bars on Calle Ponzano Madrid. 

 The focus here is Mediterranean seafood that is beautifully plated with a nice wine list. While the menu has larger plates, their tapas are fab, and some large plates come in half sizes. It 

What to order: The octopus with truffle was so stupid tender you barely had to chew and it kind of had an Asian vibe with a little hoisin sauce. 

And, if you’re wondering, yes, you need to wash it down with a glass of dry and fruity white. 

Insiders Tip: There is no English menu but a QR code, and you can let your photo auto-translate.

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 47, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

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6. Arima Basqe Gastronomy

With more than 30 vermouth labels, you know we’re recommending this tiny but delicious tapas bar that focuses on Basque Food (I know, thanks, Captain Obvious.) We’re talking things on sticks and lots and lots of toasts.

We had to walk by twice because it got so busy and lively, but the vibe was still somewhat chill and relaxed in a good way!

What to order: According to the waitress, the most popular items on the menu are the stilton croquettes, calamari on brioche, and pork cheeks. We had the pork cheeks, which had a herby-balsamic sauce, and we were literally so good I wanted to cry.

Obviously, vermouth is a must. We asked the servers to give us the “best,” which didn’t disappoint. 

Insiders Tip: The portions here are pretty small, so you may want to order an extra tapa or two. Or, add another restaurant to your crawl!

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 51, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

7. De Atun

You may have guessed it, but the focus here is tuna and not just an old canned tuna. De Atun is about the “almadraba” tuna from Southern space, the ancient technique of catching red tuna in strategically placed nets at specific times yearly. Usually, this tuna is shipped to Japan, but de Atun is one place you can actually try it in Spain!

The vibe here is trendy and upscale, with more sitting than standing and dark, moody low lighting.

What to order: Pretty much anything is good, but we recommend any of the varieties of tuna tartar – there are 6 of them! If you really wanna “go for it,” try the tasting menu!

Insiders Tip: This spot is SPENDY as far as tapas bars go. But if you want to try something local, unique, and delicious, it’s worth a stop. 

Address: C/ de Ponzano, 59, Local, Chamberí, 28003 Madrid, Spain

People eating inside a small tapas bar with yellow and blue ceramic tiled walls

Now, The 1 Tapas Bar to Avoid…

Caleb and I always want to keep it real with you and help you have the best eats, so we need to tell you where not to go: Doble.

We saw it recommended EVERYWHERE when we were researching for restaurants on Calle Ponzano and we have NO IDEA why. The staff is rude (especially to tourists) and only wants patrons who eat a certain amount. Plus, you might not even get served if you don’t order food to make room for those who will (and will spend more.)

So, unfortunately, we have to disagree with more bloggers out there and urge you to skip Doble during your tapas crawl, as it’s one of the worst bars on Calle Ponzano.

Our Personal Pro Tips

  1. If you want the most authentic and lively experience, try to get to Calle Ponzano from 8:30pm to 10:30pm. Lunchtime (1:30-3:30pm) is also good – still lively but a little more low-key.
  2. Ordering: you might see “tapa,” “pintxo,” or “raciones” on the menu. Tapas and pintxos are small plates, while raciones are larger “meal plates.”
  3. Leave the backpack at home – you’re just going to bump into people and be “that tourist.”
  4. Embrace the awkwardness – You’ll have to stand around and wait for a table sometimes or go up to the bar and order yourself. It’s okay. Just go with it, and you’ll have more fun than if you feel weird about it and leave ASAP.
  5. Don’t just go to one restaurant; go to a couple. Just like when crawling down Calle de Cava Baja, this is what the locals do; they usually go to 3-4 spots at night, and it’s SO much more fun!
Evening view of a lively street scene outside a row of restaurants and bars, with people walking and dining alfresco, illuminated by street lamps and warm indoor lighting

Self-Guided Tapas Crawl Map

Here’s a map of all our recommended spots so you can put together your own tapas crawl!

Question You Might Have

What Neighborhood is Calle Ponzano in?

Calle Ponzano in the Chamberi neighborhood is a very residential area of Madrid.

How to use the metro to Get to Calle Ponzano?

The metro line for Calle Ponzano is Metro Alonso Cano (L7) / Ríos Rosas (L1)

Honestly, for foodies like us, Calle Ponzano is a must-visit for its epic culinary scene in Madrid. We hope this guide helped you figure out exactly where to eat on your own tapas adventure! Let us know in the comments if we can help you with anything!

Now you need to make sure that you don’t look like a tourist during your tapas crawl! We can make sure you don’t with our best tapas tips guide! Or, read our guide to drinking vermouth in Spain if you do not know how to do that properly!

Other Helpful Posts to Plan Your Trip to Madrid

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