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What to Eat In Madrid and where to find it: boozy beverages and carby goodness

Caleb and I LOVE Madrid for many reasons, but what keeps us going back every year is the FOOD. We’ve been to the city almost 10 times purely just to eat our way through the city. No shame in our food-loving game!

Spoiler alert: We think that the 3 must-try foods in Madrid are salt cod fritters, tortilla Espanola, and regalitos de rabo de toro, and we’ll tell you why (and where to find them) in this guide of what to eat in Madrid! We’ll also share 14 other must-try foods that are guaranteed to make your taste buds fall off your head.

Let’s get into it, starting with a video we made of some highlights!

YouTube video

Pro Tip For Tackling This List

Madrid is one of Europe’s best foodie cities so, depending on how much time you have in Madrid, you probably can’t eat everything on our list of what to eat in Madrid…unless you like a challenge. So, we’ve numbered it from our most favorites to least favorites to make it easier. If you only have a short time, like 2 days or so, we’d recommend prioritizing #1-7. These are either what we find the tastiest or a unique, local experience.

A close-up of a plate with two pieces of crispy battered fish on an outdoor metal table, symbolizing a casual street food experience

1.Salt Cod Fritters

I know you’re like, “Why is fried fish at the top of this list? Because I can get that at home”, but this is the best fried cod you will ever eat during your existence on Earth. Sounds dramatic, but it’s not. Casa Labra is known for these little parcels of oily, salty, fishy, crunchy goodness.

We waited in line at 11am for them to open and saw Grandmas asking the water to fill their Tupperware containers with them; they were that good.

The outside is golden brown, crispy, and oily (calories don’t count on vacay, okay?), and the fish is so flaky and juicy. It’s worth visiting Madrid just for these – we’re not lying. Just make sure you order the fried cod bites called tarjeda de Bacalao, not the croquettes.

Find them at Casa Labra – C. de Tetuán, 12, Centro, 28013 Madrid, Spain

Traditional Spanish omelette served with bread on a white plate, accompanied by a glass of vermouth, set against a backdrop of a busy bar

2.Tortilla Espanola

While this is a popular dish all across Spain and considered traditional Spanish cuisine, Caleb and I had never really seen the draw before having it in Madrid. Honestly, it seemed just like the kind of boring food purely created to soak up all the alcohol that people drink in Spain.

*ducks as the Spanish people throw tomatoes at me*

How-EV-Er, we went to Pez Tortilla and tried their tortilla with caramelized onions, and it was game-changing. The tortillas there are runny (in a good way), and the potatoes are perfectly seasoned and soft.

They have multiple locations across Madrid but we love the location on Calla Cava Baja,

Regalitos de Rabo de Toro from el Anciano rey de los Vinos in Madrid on a table with a glass of vermouth

3. Regalitos de Rabo de Toro

Rabo de Toro (bull tail stew) is eaten all across Spain but comes from one of our favorite places to visit when spending time in Madrid: Cordoba. However, El Anciano Rey de los Vinos takes this classic dish and stuffs it into crispy, buttery pastry, and tops it with a roasted red pepper. They also serve KILLER vermouth!

Yes, it’s as good as it sounds, and it needs to come to a face near you (aka your faces) ASAP.

Their address is C. de Bailén, 19, Centro, 28013 Madrid, Spain.

IMPORTANT: we learned about this delicious little morsel on our food tour with Devour Madrid, and it was one of the best food tours we’ve done. If you want to be able to experience the best food in Madrid, gaining exclusive access to some popular restaurants without waiting in line or not getting in, you MUST DO IT.

Click here to read reviews and check pricing and availability!

A rustic table setting featuring a slice of crusty bread topped with vibrant red tomatoes, accompanied by a beer and a coffee, basking in the warm glow of a Madrid café.

4. Pan Con Tomate

Literally translated to bread with tomato, this simple dish is widely eaten as a breakfast or a tapa across Spain, but our favorite is in Madrid. You can get it topped with Iberico ham at our favorite brunch spot, Ojala, in the trendy Malasana neighborhood.

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While this dish sounds so simple, it’s so good that we’ve introduced it to all our family, and then they made it for all their friends. DON’T MISS IT.

A person holds a box of 'Mantecados de Erez' from Monasterio del Corpus Christi, showcasing the convent's traditional Spanish cookies, with the name 'Madres Jerónimas' inscribed, offering a taste of local religious artisanal baking.

5. Secret Nun cookies

Did you know that you can buy cookies from cloistered nuns at a monastery in Madrid? I KNOW. Caleb and I thought this was one of the best-hidden gem experiences we’ve ever had, and the cookies were SO DELICIOUS.

We recommend the sherry-flavored cookies (the irony of boozy cookies from a convent is our favorite) that have a hint of lemon and pretty much melt in your mouth. You can check out our guide on buying nun cookies for all the insider tips.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

you can only buy 1/2kg-1kg, so you’ll likely be eating cookies every day….we see no problem here. 

A plate of stuffed mushrooms with chorizo.

6. Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms

You’ll find stuffed mushrooms – or “champis” as the locals call them – all across Madrid, but haven’t found anywhere that does them better than Meson del Champinon. It translates to “house of mushrooms,” so that might tip you off as to why they’re so good – it’s what they DO.

Here, you’ll find stuffed mushrooms with chorizo, oil, garlic, and parsley, and they will ruin you for any other stuffed mushroom that you eat in your life forever and ever the end.

TAYLOR’S TIP: these are tricky to eat with the two toothpicks they provide. There is a photo on the wall that shows you how, or just ask the waiter. 

This was another one we learned about on our epic food tour with Devour Madrid! If you want to experience the best food in Madrid and gain exclusive access to some popular restaurants, you MUST DO IT. We did it twice. It was that good..

Click here to read reviews and check pricing and availability.

golden brown Spanish french toast with a scoop of ice cream on a white table with a blue glass of water

7. Torrija de Leche 

French toast, but make it 100x more delicious is what’s in store for you. This is what would happen if French toast and bread pudding went on a romantic Spanish getaway and one thing led to another.

It’s much spicer and more moist than your American French toast, and I think it tastes like mulled wine inside French toast as it’s made with lemon, orange, cardamom, and cinnamon.

We usually don’t eat food twice, but we went back to Restaurante Los Galayos twice because we needed more Torrija in our lives. Find it at C. de Botoneras, 5, Centro, 28012 Madrid, Spain.

A dish of patatas bravas dressed in a creamy sauce on a terrazzo table, accompanied by a glass of water and cocktail, epitomizing a modern tapas experience.

8. Patatas Bravas

While you can eat Patatas Bravas all across Spain, you can’t eat the ones that won an award for being the best in the ENTIRE WORLD.  

Patatas Bravas are another food we thought was kind of an “eat after vermouth” dealio as it’s essentially just fried potatoes smothered in a creamy, spicy, paprika-heavy sauce. But then we tried the award-winning recipe at Le Qualite Tasca on Calle Ponzano, just outside of the city center, and our lives were forever changed. 

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

A close-up view of a traditional Spanish meal, featuring a terracotta bowl of garlic shrimp, alongside a glass of red wine, served on a bar counter, evoking the cozy atmosphere of a Madrid tapas bar.

9. Gambas Al Ajillos

Not to alarm you, but the famous Spanish tapa, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), was born in Madrid. Head over to La Casa Del Abuelo to try the dish that started it all. It’s so simple – just shrimp, olive oil, garlic, and chile – that it shouldn’t be that good, but IT IS. It’s one of our favorite tapas bars to go in Madrid!

TAYLOR’S TIP:

Don’t skip the house-sweet red wine. It’s not overly sweet, and Caleb and I thought it paired perfectly with shrimp.

Address: C. de la Victoria, 12, Centro, 28012 Madrid, Spain and C. de Toledo, 11, Centro, 28012 Madrid, Spain

two men holding yayos at casa camacho in Madrid, Spain

10. Yayo’s

While this is a drink, not an “eat,” you would think we’d been body-snatched if we didn’t have a boozy recommendation or you. Wander over to one of the super old and super-popular, standing-room-only tapas bars in Madrid called Casa Camacho, where their house-made drink is a combo of vermouth, gin, and sweet soda.

It wasn’t Caleb’s favorite, but I loved it, and you can only get it in Madrid, so you should at least try one. Or four.

Address: Calle de San Andrés, 4, Centro, 28004 Madrid, Spain

11.Huevos Rotos

While eggs aren’t very common at breakfast, they sure are the rest of the day, especially in the form of these “broken eggs.” It reminds us of Spanish poutine because it’s a plate of fried potatoes topped with over-easy eggs that are *usually* broken. Sometimes, you break them yourself with bread because why not eat more carbs on carbs? You’re on vacation!

YOLO..or maybe YOV? 

TAYLOR’S TIP:

We’ve had it both with meat on top and without. So, if you’re a vegetarian, just double-check with your server which way it comes!

12. Cocido Madrileño 

You likely won’t find this stew if you’re visiting Madrid in the Summer, but it’s everywhere in the colder months. We’re talking about a gut-busting stew that is loaded with pork, vegetables, chickpeas, and chorizo and then simmered for basically forever until it’s tender and so flavorful.

It’s important to know that this stew is usually eaten in 2 or 3 courses. You may get a little bit of the broth with some noodles as the first course, then the veggies and chickpeas, followed by the meat. Sometimes, the meat and veggie courses do come together, though.

5 Spanish churros on a plate with a cup of melted chocolate

13. Churros Con Chocolate

If you’ve researched the best food in Madrid for ½ a second, you know about Churros con Chocolate at San Gines. While it feels “touristy” to recommend, they are REALLY good. We found the chocolate to be thick and dark, and it was basically like drinking a melted chocolate bar. HOW CAN THIS GO WRONG?

You’ll see long lines after the locals go bar hopping or even for an afternoon snack.

TAYLOR’S TIP:

don’t expect the churros you get at our state fairs. In our experience, these ones don’t have cinnamon and sugar.

14. Bocadillo de Calamares

This is the most famous sandwich in Madrid, and it is literally fried calamari on some bread. THAT’S IT. Some people do add garlic mayo or tomato sauce. Honestly, we don’t see the hype of this calamari sandwich because we don’t understand fried food on bread, but it’s SUPER popular in Madrid. 

TAYLOR’S TIP:

DO NOT eat this in Plaza Mayor, where you’ll see signs for it everywhere. The “local spot” is at Bar La Campana, just 2 minutes away. 

Address: C. de Botoneras, 6, Centro, 28012 Madrid, Spain

3 Spanish croquettes in a bowl with 2 glasses of vermouth

15. Croquettes

If you go to Madrid without eating croquettes, you should reevaluate your life – not to be dramatic or anything. We’re talking little fried balls of goodness that are crispy on the outside and SO creamy on the inside. 

You can get them in so many flavors, the most traditional being with ham, but we LOVE the mushroom version at La Bolita Vermoutheria on Madrid’s famous Calle de Cava Baja!

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

16. Callos a La Madrileña 

Calling other “adventurous eaters” like us because this one is for you. This stew is also served in the winter months and consists of chorizo, blood sausage, and…wait for it….beef tripe.

Yes, that is beef stomach, and yes, it’s actually good! This stew is smoky and a little spicy thanks to paprika, and the chorizo and blood sausage make it comforting and rich for a cold winter day.

In other news, we found the blood sausage in Spain to be 100x better than anywhere we’ve ever had. Even if you can’t get past the whole “beef stomach situation,” you should try morcilla. We love it at Restaurante Los Galayos, so you can wash it down with French toasty goodness. You’re welcome.

17. Oreja a la Plancha 

Yep, we’re recommending you eat pig’s ear. You want to experience the true culture of a city, and this is that! You’ll find pan-seared pig’s ear sprinkled with salt and paprika and sometimes with accompaniments like bacon.

We can’t lie; it’s not our favorite. But it IS traditional, and you should try it once.

How we can help you next

To make the most of all the epic eats you’re going to have, you have to know how to *do* tapas like a local! We were overwhelmed when we first went to Spain, and we don’t want that for you, so we put everything we’ve learned in our ultimate guide of tapas tips!

So, what foods are you going to prioritize?

Other Posts to Help You Plan Your Trip:

Free Email Course: Madrid Made Easy

Discover everything you need to know to plan an EPIC Madrid Getaway in our free email course!
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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