The Spanish capital is a great place to eat anything, but don’t let that distract you from Madrid’s own food culture. Madrid Spain food is authentic, often hearty, and the perfect way to immerse yourself into the citys culture.
Today, get your foodie pants on because we will be discussing not only the most typical foods in Madrid but also where to get the best.
People and things of Madrid are called Madrileño, this is an easy way to connect the dots of origin on a menu item.
In addition to eating your way around town, make sure you check out other Madrid activities that involve:
- Day trips
- Best things to do in Madrid
- Lavender fields Brihuega
- Madrid Parks
- Best places to live in Spain
While visiting the Spanish capital, make sure you try some of these authentic dishes that will give you a true taste of Madrid in a few bites.
Madrid Spain food
What is the food like in Madrid Spain? Food in the capital can be heavy with meat. You’ll find most authentic Madrid dishes either has meat in it or is fried.
Potatoes are also a big staple in Spanish cuisine. A typical entree anywhere in Spain usually has poultry with potatoes and vegetables.
With that said, Spain is a place that eats a lot of pork. They eat every inch of a pig , literally. These dishes go way back to the Romans and have been a thing of Madrid’s culture for ages.
It’s convenient to know what is authentic so you can try it while you are visiting if it interests you. Here is the list of the best things to eat in Madrid.
11 of the best things to eat in Madrid
As we explore some of the best things to eat in Madrid, make sure you take note of what interests you so you can try it once you finally arrive.
1. Churros con chocolate AKA churros and chocolate
A classic all over Spain, churros are the perfect sweet treat to have at any time of the day. Churros are a fried pastry that originated from Madrid. They are typically long sticks of dough deep fried into crispy cylinders until they become golden brown on the outside
Madrileños eat them for breakfast, mid day snack (called merienda in Spanish), and even late night for the party animals.
You’ll see people all over Madrid eating churros at chocolate shops, churreriras, cafes, cafeterias, and even bars. To find the best and freshest though, stick with chocolate shops and churreriras.
Churreriras are churros stands or cafes focused on making churros
The most common way to eat churros is on their own or dipped or with a cup of hot thick chocolate. It’s not like American hot chocolate where it’s watery, it’s very thick and is perfect for dipping.
Some common toppings for churros are sugar, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, or chocolate sauce.
In addition to churros, you can also find porras in majority of churro places. Porras are a thicker, crunchier and wider fried pastry in comparison to churros. They’re delicious and definitely a must try while you are getting churros.
The best places to get churros and chocolate in Madrid is:
- Chocolateria de San Gines and is located in Plaza Mayor – have 2 options 1 for take away and a normal cafe where you can sit down (usually always super busy and a long line)
- Los Artesanos 1902 – they have a dark chocolate options which is fun and different (less touristy, less wait time, local gem)
- La Antigua Churreria – have different kinds of churros, i.e churros with cream, porras, etc.
- Chocolat – located in Huertas, isn’t as historical as the rest but great taste and super fluffy delicious churros
If you can’t have gluten, no worries, learn about the best gluten free bakeries in Madrid because yes there are healthier options for indulging.
2. Bocadillos de Calamari AKA fried squid sandwich
Spain is known for having some of the best food in the world, and that doesn’t always mean complex dishes.
Bocadillos de Calamari, aka fried squid sandwich, is a crowd favorite because it’s delicious yet is super simple.
The simple sandwich has a crispy fried flour coating on top of the squid and is served on top of bakery bread. Its served as is but sometimes people put garlic mayionnaise or a tomato and paprika puree mix on top.
Majority of the sandwiches go for 3 to 5 euros, super cheap and quite filling.
To get the best bocadillos de Calamari in Madrid you can go to:
- El Brillante, not so touristy, local gem
- La Campana – super touristy and in Plaza Mayor
- Bar Postas – outside of Plaza Mayor and offers tortillas incase someone in your party doesn’t eat fish
3. Huevos Rotos aka broken eggs
Huevos Rotos is a very popular dish in Madrid. Restaurants and bars alike offer this on most menus. So what is it? The dish has french fries or cut potatoes fried in olive oil on the bottom, and over easy eggs on top.
There are then different variations of what is on top of the eggs, most places put ham on top while others can put sausage and/or bacon.
For the best huevos rotos in Madrid, you have to visit:
- Los Huevos de Lucio – tapa bar, super famous for their egg dishes
- Taberna La Carmencita – classic historical gem, open since 1854
4. Cocido Madrileño
Cocido Madrileño translated in English is Madrid stew. No brainer it will be on the Madrid spain food list!
It’s a very popular pork stew soup in the capital city that is served as an entree. You’ll see it being offered almost everywhere during the winter months.
The soup is hearty. In it you have, vegetables, chorizo sausage, pork meats, thin noodles, and chickpeas. Typical vegetables in cocido is usually potatoes, carrots, and sometimes celery, cabbage, and turnips.
The point of the soup is to be cooked for (usually 4-5) hours so the flavors blend in well and this makes the broth super tasty. By slowly cooking everything the meats also become pretty tender.
You eat cocido in a round of 3 servings. In the beginning you have the soup broth with the thin noodles. These particular thin noodles are called fideos in Spain. After the broth, you have the veggies and chickpeas, and then finally you have the meat.
This is definitely not a light dish but it’s perfect if you are hungry and are cold.
These are the best places to eat cocido in Madrid:
- Casa Carola – Madrid bar that’s super cozy and cocido is spot on. They also have cocido croquettes that are so good.
- Restaurante Los Galayos – cozy Madrid restaurant that opened in 1894, known for their delicious cocido.
- Malacatín – taurine tavern serving cocido since 1895
These are the best in the city when it comes to quality and experience. You can get cocido at a random bar but I promise you it won’t be the same as going to these historic traditional places who have been making it for years.
5. Spanish omelette AKA Tortilla de Patatas
Nothing says Madrid spain food louder than the spanish omelette. Tortilla de Patatas is incredibly popular all over Spain and is definitely one of the best things to eat in Madrid.
It’s offered everywhere but ofcourse there are some restaurants that out shine the others when it comes to this classic dish.
Tortilla de patatas is made with eggs, potatoes, and sometimes onions. Depends where you go what they put, but the ideal tortilla looks the same. It’s supposed to be golden on the outside and a bit gooey on the inside.
Some places put vegetables and meat in it but it just depends on the place. Try a basic tortilla first to see how you like it. I love it with potatoes and onions but that’s just my preference. You find your ideal tortilla so you can do you.
Tortilla de patatas is sometimes served by itself for a breakfast meal and looks like a slice of cake, this is a pincho de tortilla. It is also sometimes served as a sandwich.
It can be served hot or cold, depends on how you are eating it and your personal preference.
Where to eat tortillas in Madrid:
- Juana La Loca – known for their ultra gooey tortilla, this is an awesome restaurant in La Latina that has Basque inspiration and has been in business since 2001
- Pez Tortilla – Varied different kinds of gourmet tortillas, literally so goood! Beer selection is also very nice too
6. Madrid Spain food calls for the classic croquetas
Croquetas are called croquettes in English. They are an insanely delicious fried treat and ofcourse are part of the Madrid spain food list.
It comes in the form of a ball and inside it has bechamel sauce and other fillings. There are so many different options you’ll find flavors ranging from mushrooms, vegetables, ham, fish, meat, etc.
It’s supposed to be perfectly fried and crispy on the exterior and in the interior have a beautiful creamy texture. There’s no chance in the world that any croqueta is made the same and definitely do not just get these anywhere.
Unfortunately, sometimes they are served frozen and aren’t good- at all. Make sure you try a place on this list to properly enjoy croquetas. It’s one of the most delicious things to eat in Madrid so if you can eat fried foods, you won’t be disappointed.
Where to eat the best croquetas in Madrid:
- Santerra – this place has won awards for their croquetas, haha. But really they are super good and this restaurant is in the lovely Salamanca neighborhood so highly recommend this one.
- Casa Julio – hidden gem located in Malasaña that has varied flavors and super big croquetas. Also has vegeterian friendly options.
- B13 – If you don’t eat meat, definitely try this vegan place out for vegan and vegeterian friendly croquetas.
- Casa Manolo – a bit further out of the city center in Vicalvaro. Great croquetas and nice interactive owner who’s usually always working.
7. Cochinillo AKA Roasted Suckling pig
This is a common dish you’ll find in a lot in Segovia and in the pueblos of Madrids mountains. They also offer this in the capital, you just have to know where to look to find good cochinillo.
Cochinillo can be tricky to prepare considering its supposed to be roasted slowly over the course of a few hours.
Ideal texture calls for very tender meat and a thin crispy outer layer of skin. The care of the pig is also super important and of course effects the quality of the taste. In Segovia, this is such a serious topic they even have a competition for who has the best.
Where to get the best Cochinillo in Madrid:
- Casa Botin – guaranteed freshness and also the oldest restaurant in the world
- Restaurante El Senador – highly rated cochinillo that comes from Segovia
- Los Galayos – on the list for cocido, and it’s on the list for cochinillo too. Great option to try it!
8. Mushrooms in garlic flavored sauce
If you don’t eat meat, definitely take note of this Madrid dish, it’s super popular and the Madrileños love it. Setas al ajillo is a must for vegans considering Spain is a country that eats a lot of meat.
The setas al ajillo dish is served in tons of bars and is always a safe bet you can refer to if there’s nothing else for you to eat.
People usually drink this with an alcoholic beverage such as beer or red wine but anything refreshing will do too.
The mushrooms in a garlic sauce are made in different ways, such as baked, grilled, fried, or stuffed.
Where to get the best setas al ajillo in Madrid:
- Mesón del Champiñón – stuffed mushroooms, classic gem when it comes to mushrooms, highly recommend!
- Casa Toni – more simple, offer grilled mushrooms
A classic Spanish easter dessert, torrijas is loved by many all year round even outside of easter. It’s the Spaniards take on french toast and is super easy to make at home if you’d like to try it.
You will see torrijas everywhere during semana santa “holy week.” Torrijas is a notoriously famous and historic dessert to try.
Where to get the best torrijas in Madrid:
- Pasteleria Nunos – creative and different pastry shop
- Sana Locura – gluten free option, made with corn bread
- Los Galayos – impressively delicious and beautiful torrija at an overall great restaurant
10. Patatas bravas
This dish is one you’ll see all over the country when visiting Spain. It’s basically french fries but it’s cut into tiny square wedges, not long thin french fries like we commonly see in the rest of the world.
There’s nothing really too special about patatas bravas but the fact that they cut it differently and serve it with a bravas sauce.
Bravas sauce is a red sauce that is usually spicy and has paprika, sometimes tomatoes, and aioli (garlic mayo) in it.
Together the cube potatoes and this sauce makes a patatas bravas dish.
Where to get the best patatas bravas in Madrid:
- Las Bravas – classic spot in the city for bravas, local favorite, super quick service
- Docamar – tapas bar thats famously known for their patatas bravas, delicious food
- Bodega de la Ardosa – amazing tapas bar that opened in 1892 and has a great bravas dish
11. Pisto Manchego
No denying that Spaniards love their meat, it’s easy to think maybe there’s not too many vegan friendly dishes.
However, there are definitely vegetable friendly dishes you can try, you just have to look for them and know about them ideally ahead of time.
Pisto Manchego is definitely one of those classic vegan dishes. Do note though, make sure that there isn’t meat in it. Sometimes pisto is mixed in with tuna or eggs. If you don’t want either, just ask, they’ll tell you if it’s inside.
Inside pisto manchego is garlic, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, olive oil, onions, and sometimees eggplant.
It’s basically like a Spanish ratatouille except in Spain it doesn’t have squash. Pisto should be slowly cooked and is usually served as a side or an appetizer. You’ll also commonly see it in empanadas at bakeries all over the city. Just make sure you ask if there’s poultry in it because sometimes there is.
Where to eat the best pisto manchego:
- Taberna Malaspina – authentic pisto dishes
- Levadura Madre – one of the best vegan pisto empanadas in the city
Madrid Spain food Conclusion
Finding out what to eat in a brand new city you’re visiting is definitely overwhelming. This Madrid Spain food list teaches you the best things to eat in Madrid so you know what to order in the best restaurants that offer these dishes.
Put aside the overwhelm and travel prepared. Even if you don’t eat meat or gluten, you now have options of what you can turn too.
Tell me, have you ever been to Madrid before and did you like the food here?