Madrid resident James Ansell goes exploring and finds ” six of the best” Pintxo and Tapas Eateries in Madrid’s famous old quarter.
People travelling to Madrid often want to experience the food culture so often associated with Spain. While more and more international restaurants and fast-food diners enter Madrid, locals and tourists alike have remained obsessed with going on a ‘tapeo’. There’s no better feeling than spending a sunny day on a tapas crawl with good friends enjoying the best tapas available! With so much choice of places to go, we at The Madrid Metropolitan have compiled a list of our six favourite tapas bars in Madrid to save you time researching, so you have more time to eat!
La Musa Latina
La Musa is located in Madrid’s La Latina neighbourhood. This area is filled with beautiful, narrow medieval-style lanes and is also home to El Rastro flea market (a must see in Madrid!). This Tapa bar allows you to enjoy an incredibly diverse menu with foods ranging from octopus to croquetas. Whatever you decide to try, you will not be disappointed. Inside the bar you will find tables made from recycled wood, giving a fun, hip atmosphere. We recommend going to El Rastro on a Sunday morning, and grabbing some tapas in La Musa afterwards for the perfect day of living like a local!
La Musa Costanilla de San Andrés, 12, 28005, Madrid
Estado Puro is not just any old Tapas bar. It blends classic tapas with a touch of originality from their chef Paco Ronero, which means that a tapa here will not be replicated elsewhere! It lies directly opposite the world-renowned art museum, el Prado. Spending an afternoon admiring the art and ending up admiring the gastronomic art of Estado Puro? Count us in. The bar is very “cool” with great service. The prices are slightly higher than what you might pay elsewhere, but it is great value for the quality of the food. 20 euros will certainly give you a ‘food coma’! We recommend the ‘mejillón tigre’ – a lovely spicy tapa bursting with flavour.
Estado Puro Plaza Canovas del Castillo 4, 28014, Madrid
Taberna de Antonio Sanchez
Founded in 1787, this is the oldest tapas bar in Madrid. It maintains certain decor from over 100 years ago such as the traditional bullheads hanging from the wall which were caught in 1902! They have even kept intact the original glass lantern from when they first opened. Located in the center of Madrid, just 5 minutes away from Sol and Plaza Mayor. Their speciality is their “Torrijas” (Spanish style French toast), but also not to be missed is their “rabo de toro” (oxtail). For people who want to delve a little more deeply into Madrid history (while enjoying amazing food), Taberna de Antonio Sanchez is not to be missed.
Taberna de Antonio Sanchez Calle del Mesón de Paredes, 13, 28013 Madrid
When exploring Puerta del Sol it can be hard to avoid the so-called ‘tourist trap’ bars. However, we are here to help you! Casa Toni is as authentic a tapas bar as you can find in Madrid. It is low-key, expect minimal design, yet maximum friendliness from staff. What you see is what you get – and what you get is guaranteed great food! They make their tapas with the characteristic garlic flavour synonymous with Madrid. Our favourite was their “ración de carne” and their “patatas bravas”. The crowd inside range from friends in their 20s getting some cheap food to older groups finishing off their night at the Opera which lies super close nearby. If you’re staying central and want to dine with locals, check out Casa Toni.
Casa Toni Calle de la Cruz, 14, 28012, Madrid
“The queen of the tapas” patatas bravas are a staple in Spanish cuisine, and especially enjoyed by vegetarians. Given its popularity, it can be hard to find the best place to find it. That’s where we come in- ‘Las Bravas´ is as good as you will find in Madrid. When people call here the best place for bravas, it is hard to argue … their speciality sauce is so good that it has been patented and can now be bought to take home with you. People come here to chat with friends over a caña (small beer) and, of course, bravas. It is located super close to Sol on Calle de Álvarez Gato.
Las Bravas, Calle de Álvarez Gato, 3, 28102, Madrid
Malasaña is one of Madrid’s coolest areas, filled with coffee shops, bakeries, markets, and vintage stores. Spending a day wandering around experiencing the atmosphere is a day well spent. The experience can get better by topping it off in one of Malasaña´s most famous tapas bars ‘El Palentino´. Spanish newspaper El País dubbed it “the best bar in the world (or at least, in Malasaña)”. They closed for one year, reopening again in 2019, and have maintained links to their past. Their owners describe ´moving skies and earth´ to avoid ending up being ´just another KFC´. This attitude has helped create an authentic local experience where you can enjoy traditional tapas – in particular, we recommend their ´bocadillos’ (baguette sandwiches)
El Palentino, Calle del Pez, 8, 28004, Madrid