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Taberna La Concha: The Best Tapas Bar in Madrid for Foodies

Looking for the best tapas in Madrid and wondering if Taberna La Concha deserves a spot on your itinerary? You’ve landed in the perfect spot!

Oh, Taberna La Concha, a hotspot for the BEST house-made vermouth and Thai Curry Fish Balls in Madrid. I know that doesn’t sound very “Spanish” but stay with me, you guys. Caleb and I adore Taberna La Concha with the kind of love that means I am staring at 4 bottles of their vermouth on our bar here in the USA. We’ve visited this gem nearly 10 times and each time involves a food coma. Not mad about it!

This post serves as your exclusive guide to an unforgettable meal at Taberna La Concha. If you’re anything like Caleb and me, a couple who “will travel for food” and want to eat at all the best restaurants that make Madrid worth visiting which means Taberna La Concha is a must-visit. Let’s dive in!

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From The Author: Taberna La Concha is a favorite restaurant in Madrid for me and Caleb and we’ve eaten almost everything on the menu. If you have questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Why We Are Obsessed with Taberna La Concha

Caleb and I discovered Taberna de la Concha on Madrid’s Calle Cava Baja by accident. It was our first trip to Madrid during the busy season and we couldn’t get in anywhere for dinner because we did not make reservations…except Taberna La Concha. We knew nothing about it but we were hangry and about to murder each other (it sounds like an exaggeration but you guys have been there as a couple, I know it.)

Even though we prefer to research the crap out of food before we eat, our stomachs took over and we went in. Turns out, it was EPICALLY delicious.

Then, the next year we went to Madrid and didn’t learn from our mistakes because adulting is hard and we couldn’t get in anywhere again….except Taberna La Concha. EXCEPT, we forgot it was the same spot we went to the last time this happened…

Until we got downstairs and sat at the EXACT SAME TABLE.So, we decided that the world was sending us a sign to eat here forever and now we go (multiple times) every time we visit Madrid! Now it’s always the first stop on our itinerary.

But, you didn’t come here for a story: you came for the EATS.

Taberna La Concha sits at the beginning of Madrid’s very walkable and famous tapas street: Calle de Cava Baja in the La Latina neighborhood and has SUCH an authentic tapas bar vibe. The upstairs is super tiny with just a handful of tables that people squish around, talking over martini glasses like sardines during peak hours.

If you sit upstairs, make sure to check the funny buttons that say press for cava and press for Manuela – their signature vermouth cocktail.

The downstairs is a little quieter and cozier although a little less “atmospheric” than the bustling upstairs, but beggars can’t be choosers if you guys find yourself wandering the streets hangrily in Madrid. A less-atmospheric downstairs is a whole lot more atmospheric than jail, you know?

IMPORTANT TIP:

In the evening, there is always a SUPER-friendly waiter who speaks great English – he has glasses, a goatee, and is bald. Try to get him as your waiter! We struggled both with English and the friendliness of the waiters when we visited multiple times during the afternoon. We also found the vermouth was not as good during the afternoon. Not sure if the not-so-friendly bartenders did not make the cocktail right because we were tourists. So, go in the evening. just as a heads-up.

The tapas menu is available in English and Spanish (yay!), plus there’s a gluten-free menu if gluten isn’t your soulmate, unlike the two of you. 

Was that cringy? Don’t answer that.

What You Have to Eat

If you don’t order their famous “Manuela” vermouth cocktail then you honestly didn’t do Madrid right. It’s so good that we bring it home as a souvenir!

The owner of the bar is called Concha and she named the drink after her daughter, Manuela. When you order it, it’ll be made with three sprays of gin, filled with their house red vermouth, and topped with a dash of Campari with an olive and orange peel garnish. 

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You can get red or white vermouth but Caleb and I can personally recommend the red as we’ve had both. It’s some of the best vermouth in Madrid.

If you order it without food it’ll come with a free little cracker with a delicious topping like octopus or foie gras (which we no longer eat due to the horrible way it’s made.) But, you need to order food okay?

A cozy and vibrant tapas bar called Taberna La Concha interior with eclectic decorations, featuring wall-mounted plates, a variety of hanging glasses, and a large floral arrangement. Patrons are engaged in conversation, adding to the warm and social ambiance of the Spanish eatery.

In terms of eats, well…you really can’t go wrong with entire Taberna la Concha menu of “Spanish fusion” tapas. Our favorite must-try” are:

  • The Fishballs in Thai Green Curry Sauce – Yes, you’re side-eyeing the fact that it’s meatballs made of fish but stop that. These white-fish balls are really mild in terms of “fishiness” and they are super moist! The curry sauce is thick and creamy and the flavor will punch you right in your tastebuds in the best possible way. Don’t worry: they’re not really spicy at all!
  • Homemade Meatballs In Tomato Sauce – These ain’t your Italian meatballs! The tomato sauce is loaded with paprika and the meatballs are really tender without feeling super fatty and without overpowering spice.
  • White Prawn Carpaccio – Thinly sliced draws topped with all kinds of herby/pesto sauce and oil? It’s SUPER light and refreshing tasting.
  • Pork Cheeks in Red Wine Sauce – They must cook these cheeks forever because they are impossibly tender with the deepest, most flavorful red sauce with hints of paprika. This tapa is also quite big so keep that in mind when ordering!
  • Smoked Cod on Toast – Taberna La Concha is known for their unique toasts and this smoked cod is our favorite. Cod or (bacalao) is a big thing in Spain and the smokiness with the crispy bread is * chefs kiss.*
  • A plate of Assorted Cheese – While this isn’t fusion or unique, it goes down really nice with one three manuela cocktails, let me just tell you.

Unlike at Taberna El Sur, there really isn’t any menu item we would tell you to avoid – praise the Lord for no cheese on salmon.

PRO TIP:

Caleb and I usually share anywhere from 3-5 tapas for the two of us when having a full dinner here, so order accordingly! Save space for the free truffle at the end of dinner because they are EPICALLY good.

Close-up of a plate of meatballs in a rich red sauce, dusted with a sprinkle of spices, paired with two dark red martinis, showcasing an appetizing meal setup.

Other Important Details

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

Hours: Monday to Friday from 12:30 pm to Midnight.

Atmosphere: Traditional but super lively upstairs (especially during peak hours) with a little more cozy downstairs.  

Reservation Policy: They take reservations from Monday to Thursday only, so you can’t reserve if you visit Madrid on the weekend!

How to Make Reservations: You can make reservations by emailing them or through the contact form on their website.

Our Rating: 4.5/5.  Only because we didn’t appreciate the unfriendly waiters the few times we’ve gone in the afternoon. If we’re talking evening, then Caleb and I give the food, atmosphere, and pricing a 5/5.

Once you try Taberna La Concha, make sure to also go on this incredible food tour of Madrid. Doing so will ensure you don’t miss any of the best food and drinks in the city! We’ve done it TWICE and loved it both times! Don’t worry, you won’t visit this spot and will only go to new-for-you places!

An intimate bar setting with two martini glasses, one with a dark vermouth garnished with a cherry, the other clear with an olive, on a white countertop, accompanied by a bowl of yellow crisps, suggesting a relaxed social atmosphere

FAQ

Does Taberna El La Concha Take Reservations?

Yes, Taberna La Concha takes reservations by email, but only Monday through Thursday.

Is Taberna La Concha Open for Lunch?

Yes, Taberna La Concha is open for lunch from 12:30 pm every day.

Does Taberna La Concha Offer Gluten-Free Options?

Yes, Taberna La Concha does have gluten-free options. In fact, they have an entire gluten-free menu.

In Conclusion: Taberna La Concha Is Everything You Want in A Tapas Bar

That’s a bold statement but it’s very true: Tabera la Concha Madrid is truly only one of the best tapas bars in Madrid. Whether you two venture out into a Thai Curry Fish Balls situation or find yourself sticking to a cheese plate, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to spend more days in Madrid just to eat here again.

Ready to venture out to all the tapas that make Madrid worth visiting but not sure exactly HOW to do tapas “right” and not look like a tourist? We can fix that with our ultimate guide to our best tapas tips!

We hope you found this helpful when planning what and where to eat in Madrid!

So, would you try curry fish balls or are you sticking to traditional pork meatballs? I need to know!

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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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