You come to Madrid and you are fascinated with the city, but you want to go one step further. What better way to get to know a place well than to try the local food? From Marli House, we show you the ones you must definitely try to feel like a true Madrileño.
In almost any bar in Madrid, they serve you free tapas just by ordering something to drink, but there are places that turn them into an art form. They say that tapas were introduced in the inns and taverns of the 12th century to prevent drunkenness. Tapas are small portions of food that come in all kinds of flavors: croquettes, ham, omelette, bravas potatoes, broken eggs, and many more. It all depends on the creativity of the place. It is very common for the tapas to change as you order more drinks. In Madrid, the most renowned tapas place is Sidrería El Tigre (Calle de infantas, 23), but there are other bars like La Abadía (Calle de Jacometrezo, 15), Los Angeles (Calle del Angel, 8), Preciados (Calle Preciados, 38), or the tavern of Angel Sierra (Gravina, 11). The list could go on, but these are some in the city center.
The cold winter of Madrid invites you to eat hot meals, and cocido madrileño is one of the best options. It is a stew whose main ingredient is chickpeas accompanied by various vegetables, meats, and pork fat. It is a very calorie-rich meal to face the low temperatures. We suggest some places where you can taste it: Casa Lhardy (Carrera de S. Jerónimo, 8), Malacatín (Calle de la Ruda, 5), Taberna de la Daniela (Calle Cuchilleros, 9), Los Galayos (Calle Botoneras, 5), or La Clave (Calle Velázquez, 22).
Callos are nothing more than the tripe of pork or beef, and in Madrid, they are a gastronomic specialty. In the case of the Madrid specialty, beef tripe is used and combined with Asturian chorizo, blood sausage, bacon, tomato sauce, chili pepper, and other spices. Everything is boiled, resulting in a special dish for winter. The recommended list to try them is as follows: La Tasquería (Calle del Duque de Sesto, 48), Zalacaín (Calle Álvarez de Baena, 4), Viavelez (Avenida del General Perón, 10), Latasia Casa de Comidas (Paseo de la Castellana, 115), or La Tasquita de Enfrente (Ballesta, 6).
Calamari sandwiches are slightly cheaper than some of the dishes we have presented in this list, but that doesn’t mean they are any less delicious. They are simply battered and fried squid rings served in a sandwich. It is very common to see tourists eating them while seated in Plaza Mayor, as the traditional places where they are cooked can be found nearby. You can get calamari sandwiches at La Campana (Calle de Botoneras, 6), Bar La Ideal (Calle de Botoneras, 4), Bar Postas (Calle de Postas, 13), Cervecería Restaurante Plaza Mayor (Plaza Mayor, 2), or Bar El Brillante (Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, 8).
That’s right, they are called “estrellados” or “broken” eggs. They are one of the most popular dishes in Madrid. It is a dish where eggsshare the spotlight with ham and also includes potatoes. Although it is a very simple dish, it is a delight. In Madrid, you can find them at places like Los Rotos (Calle de Huertas, 74), Los Huevos de Lucio (Calle de la Cava Baja, 32), Taberna Almendro (Calle del Almendro, 13), Restaurante Taberna Madrid Madriz (Calle de Fuencarral, 85), or La Casa del Abuelo (Calle de la Victoria, 12).
Another typical Madrid recipe is garlic soup, which also includes eggs, bread, chicken broth, and paprika. You can order it at Restaurante Al Socaire (Calle de Pío Baroja, 10), Las Cuevas de Luis Candelas (Calle de Cuchilleros, 1), Casa Labra (Calle de Tetuán, 12), Casa Carola (Calle de Padilla, 54), Ajo y sal (Paseo de San Francisco de Sales, 41), or Taberna Casa Maravillas (Calle de Jorge Juan, 54).
Besugo a la madrileña
You know that Madrid is not located on the coast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good sea bream, thanks to the direct supply from Cantabria and Galicia. Sea bream in Madrid has been cooked since the 18th century, and tradition dictates that it should be prepared with onion, garlic, potatoes, parsley, olive oil, lemon, and breadcrumbs. The result is a crispy dish that can be savored with wine. Where can you try it? At Casa Lucio (Cava Baja, 35), Madrid (Calle Bureta, 7), Filandón (Carretera de Fuencarral al Pardo km 1,900), El Pescador (Calle Ortega y Gasset, 75), or O´Pazo (Reina Mercedes, 20).
Potaje de garbanzos
Potaje de garbanzos is one of those dishes that are preferably eaten on a specific date. It includes chickpeas, spinach, cod, and is especially consumed on the Friday of Lent during Holy Week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order it throughout the year. This dish, dating back to the Middle Ages, was prepared in clay pots with many spices. In Madrid, you can order potaje de garbanzos at places like Restaurante La Clave (Calle de Velázquez, 22), La Gran Tasca (Calle de Santa Engracia, 161), La Rayúa Gran Vía (Calle de la Luna, 3), El Pescador de Monte Carmelo (Avenida del monasterio de Silos, 22), or Restaurante Los Galayos (Calle de Botoneras, 5).
Tortilla de patatas
Do you prefer it with or without onions? This is the eternal debate about how a true Spanish omelette should be. The truth is, in Madrid, it is generally eaten with the center slightly runny, meaning the inside is somewhat soft or the eggs are slightly undercooked. It is a very common dish that you can find in almost every bar and restaurant, and you can even buy it at the supermarket. But it’s best to eat it freshly made. We suggest the following places, some specialized in tortilla de patatas: Casa Dani (Calle del Pez, 36), Sylkar (Calle de la Espronceda, 17), Restaurante Las Tortillas de Gabino (Calle de Rafael Calvo, 20), Hoy Tortilla (Calle de Finisterre, 15), or La Tortilla Restaurante (Calle Condesa de Venadito, 26).
Surely you have seen them displayed in the windows like towers of sandwiches. In Madrid, there is an abundance of ham sandwiches, just like in the rest of Spain. However, this simple dish has its specialists in Madrid, as choosing good bread and, above all, good ham is crucial. We suggest some places where they have mastered this type of food: El Museo del Jamón (Calle Mayor, 7, and other branches), Bocadillos Oink (Calle Gran Vía, 22), Viandas Hacienda Zorita (Calle de la Montera, 3), Bar El Brillante (Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, 8), and Los Bocadillos (Calle del Marqués de Urquijo, 1).
You read that right: in Madrid, they eat snails with their own style. You may not be a fan of this type of dish, but if you are, keep reading. While in other parts of Spain, snails are cooked with butter and parsley, grilled, with mint, or with rice, in Madrid, they are cooked with meat broth, seasoned with serrano ham, chistorra (a type of sausage), and a sofrito of vegetables and chili pepper. It’s a truly exquisite combination that you shouldn’t miss. It is a typical dish in June, and you can try it at places like Bar Los Caracoles (Calle de Toledo, 106), La Cocina de María Luisa (Calle Jorge Juan, 42), La Malaje (Calle Relatores, 20), Casa Amadeo Caracoles (Plaza de Cascorro), or Mercado de Vallehermoso, which is well-known for preparing this type of dish. Are you up for trying them?
Entresijos and Gallinejas
Gallinejas are fried lamb intestines, a dish almost exclusive to Madrid, sold in specialized shops (especially fry shops), but in the past, they were obtained from kiosks or popular stores. The “entresijo” also comes from the gallineja. They are not as easily found nowadays, but we will show you some places where they usually make them: Casa Enriqueta (Calle del General Ricardos, 19), Freiduría Gallinejas (Calle de Ramírez Tomé, 32), Freiduría El Chaval (Calle de la Esfinge, 76B), Casa Ricardo (Calle de Fernando El Católico, 31), or Freiduría Nucita (Avenida Pablo Neruda, 81).