Outdoor cafés in Madrid's Plaza Mayor square
An avant-garde tapa. Madrid Tourism Board. Photo by: Javier Peña
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 also invite you to take part in a tradition that forms part of the life of the city, its "tapas": small dishes of food which are guaranteed to delight everyone.
In Madrid, as in the rest of Spain, gastronomy is an art. as you'll soon see when 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 the cocido (chickpea casserole), its most famous dish, or its famous "squid roll". If you feel like it, you can combine it with a good Designation of Origin Vinos de Madrid wine. And, if you have a sweet tooth, order some torrijas (syrupy bread dish) or enjoy a thick hot chocolate drink with "churros": you're sure to be back for more.
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.
Tapas - not to be missed
Going out for tapas is a deep-rooted tradition in Madrid. It consists of going from bar to bar eating "raciones" (dishes to share), some of which are genuine gastronomic creations, within the reach of all budgets.
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 areas around Sol, La Latina, Plaza de Santa Ana square, Plaza Mayor, Cava Baja and Cava Alta in La Latina are the most popular spots. Take the opportunity to discover bars steeped in centuries of history. Many of them are decorated with tiles, and feature traditional marble tables, columns and wooden benches: entering them is like going back in time. If you prefer more avant-garde, imaginative and sophisticated tapas with a highly original presentation, head for the Salamanca neighbourhood, where you'll find numerous fashionable eateries.
Gastronomic markets: a mixture of tradition and avant-garde
A good example of this fusion between tradition and new trends are the gastronomic markets. Madrid has a good number of old food markets in historic buildings that have now been reconverted into authentic gourmet area or street markets. Some of these are the San Miguel, San Antón, San Ildefonso, Antón Martín, San Fernando and Platea markets–this last one being a little more sophisticated. Here, gastronomy crosses borders and opens up to international flavours also.
Not just gastronomy, but art too… in addition to a busy calendar of cultural events all year round, guaranteed fun at any time of the day and night, non-stop commercial activity... All this and much, much more awaits you in Madrid, a city which makes everyone feel at home. What are you waiting for?
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