Outdoor cafés in Madrid's Plaza Mayor square
Patronato de Turismo de Madrid.Javier Peña
A new-creation tapa.
Traditional restaurant in Madrid. Madrid Tourism Board. Photo: La Nave
Discover Madrid through its gastronomy. From simple home-style recipes to the most elaborately prepared menus in luxury restaurants, there is a huge variety on offer in the Spanish capital. We would also invite you to take part in a tradition that forms part of the life of the city - going out for "tapas": small plates of food that people go crazy for.
In Madrid, as in the rest of Spain, gastronomy is an art. You will notice if you visit any of the restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns to be found all over the city. There are endless delicacies to try. Madrid's cuisine has received influences from other parts of Spain throughout its history, but it still has its own typical, traditional recipes. Be sure to try cocido (chickpea casserole), its most famous dish. If you have a sweet tooth, then order torrijas (fried bread with honey or sugar) for dessert: you are bound to go for seconds.
Madrid is a hospitable, open city, and this characteristic is also reflected in the cooking. In the streets of Madrid you will find establishments specialising in regional cuisine
from all over Spain. This is the case, for example, on the Paseo de la Gastronomía (Gastronomy Route). This is a large area at the Casa de Campo Exhibition Centre. The Casa de Campo is Madrid's largest green area, with ten restaurants situated in buildings that are replicas of Spain's traditional, emblematic regional architecture. Here you can enjoy the best Mediterranean cuisine, as well as typical dishes from Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country, surrounded by gardens, with a play area for the little ones.
Tapas - not to be missed
Going out for tapas is a deep-rooted custom in Madrid. It consists of going from bar to bar eating "raciones" (literally, servings), some of which are genuine gastronomic creations, within the reach of all budgets.
Además, es una perfecta excusa para recorrer el casco histórico de la ciudad. Sienta el ambiente popular y animado de sus tabernas y mesones, y pasee por las zonas de tapas, que son muchas. De entre ellas sobresalen las del centro antiguo, con lugares como Sol, La Latina, la plaza de Santa Ana, la Cava Baja y la Cava Alta y la Plaza Mayor. Aproveche la ocasión para conocer tascas con siglos de historia. Muchas de ellas están decoradas con azulejos, mesas de mármol, columnas y bancos de madera: entrar en su interior es como retroceder en el tiempo. Si prefiere tapas más vanguardistas e imaginativas, de elaboración sofisticada y presentación original, puede acudir al barrio de Salamanca, donde abundan este tipo de locales.
It is also the perfect excuse to discover the historic centre of the city. Experience the bustling, lively atmosphere of its taverns and restaurants, and stroll through the areas packed with tapas bars. The most outstanding areas for tapas are in the old town, such as Sol, La Latina, Plaza de Santa Ana Square, Cava Baja and Cava Alta, and Plaza Mayor Square. Make the most of the occasion to discover bars with centuries of history. Many of them are decorated with tiles, marble tables, columns and wooden benches: inside you will feel transported back in time. If you prefer more avant-garde, imaginative, sophisticated tapas with the most original presentation, head for the Salamanca neighbourhood, where there are many places of this type.
Gastronomy and art too, a packed year-round cultural calendar, fun at any time of day and night, ceaseless commercial activity... All this and much, much more awaits you in Madrid, a city where no one feels a stranger. What are you waiting for?