9 Fantastic Restaurants in Madrid that You Have to Try
The author of this post is Cecilia Prieto, a journalist born in the north of Spain that has been living in Madrid since 2009. She currently writes and edits Madlocal, a blog devoted to tourism in Madrid, with a focus on insights to enjoying Madrid as the locals do. Enjoy her list of fantastic restaurants in Madrid!
It’s been a while since the last time I wrote something for Madlocal. But I promise this new post is worth the wait, because I’ve spent the last two months doing one of my favorite things: food discovery.
Here you have a very varied list: from Spanish food to Italian, Mexican, Asian, fusion cuisine, and even a 2-Michelin starred chef’s restaurant for less money than what you think!
All restaurants have been tried personally by myself and some of my close ones. All pictures have been taken by myself with my shitty cellphone – sorry for the quality – but I promise everything is delicious. Prices will always depend on what you order, but I’ll give an estimate per person. Enjoy!
Alma Cheli’s chef and owner recognizes he learnt cooking with Karlos Arguiñano, a famous TV chef in Spain. The kind of dishes you’ll find in this restaurant are quite innovative. My favourite pick is ensaladilla rusa (potato salad with tuna, eggs, olives and mayo, with a pinch of caviar on top) and their Gin Vermú… you can’t order just one! Their panceta a la naranja (bacon cooked as a Chinese duck flavoured with orange) is also delicious. You’ll find these and other dishes in a restaurant that also shows one of the owner’s true loves: James Brown and soul music.
Book in advance (BIA)? Recommended. You can do it here.
Price per person (PPP): about 15 euros
“Ni gastro ni pollas” (“we don’t give a fuck about gastropubs”) is a motto you’ll find at this place. Kitchen 154 offers Asian street food in a charming food market, Mercado de Vallehermoso. They have a short list of dishes, but everything is really tasty. I’m personally in love with their Korean ribs, but chicken wings are really cool.
Disclaimer: everything is spicy. Literally everything.
BIA? Mandatory for Kitchen 154 at Vallehermoso. You can do it here. Punctuality is very welcomed.
They also have another restaurant located in Barrio de Malasaña which doesn’t need booking, but it has a slightly different food offering (Korean tacos and such).
PPP: about 15 euros
There are some Mexican restaurants in Madrid that are really good, but I personally love this one. It’s a tiny, charming place. It has a banner which claims, “We don’t have wifi, talk to each other,” and that’s the spirit of Chapultepec– talking and sharing. Tacos are the specialty, and cochinita pibil is the best one, but I also like the chicken mole. The most expensive taco costs about 1,5 euros. They also have quesadillas, tamales and guacamole, although I recommend focusing on tacos. They also serve Mexican beers (Pacífico, Modelo, Corona – known as Coronita in Spain) and different kinds of margaritas and micheladas.
BIA? No, but avoid the place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays after 21:00, it gets too crowded. I believe they have a 2×1 Margaritas offer on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
PPP: 10- 20, it really depends on your ordering.
Neapolitan restaurant with an intimate atmosphere. They just cook fresh pasta and pizza al forno di petra. All the staff are southern Italians and they’re really, really kind. Everything is tasty, but my favorite pick is the truffle pizza. Sacottini filled with pear and cheese are also fine. Depending on how many customers are at the restaurant, service can be a bit slow, so I would recommend ordering a starter.
BIA? Not necessary, but recommended on weekends.
PPP: about 20 euros
If you love puff pastries, this is your place. Everything on the menu has puff pastries, from starters to desserts! I would recommend asking for the daily offering – it includes a soup or a salad plus a main course from the general menu, and it’s cheaper. Hojaldrería is located near Gran Vía and it used to be a belle époque cafeteria, and the new owners have respected the original decoration. I ordered the Wellington burger and it was a true discovery.
BIA? Recommended. You can do it here.
PPP: about 20 euros
If you wanna get true, high-quality Spanish flavour, this is your place. Look for the bar located at Calle Guzmán el Bueno, 55 if you want a 1950s tapas bar. Look for the bar located at Claudio Coello, 116 if you want something more modern and sophisticated. Both are going to surprise you with traditional dishes prepared in the best possible way. Everything is delicious, but I would suggest green asparagus (espárragos trigueros) or green peppers (pimientos de padrón), fried calamari, jamón and ensaladilla rusa.
BIA? Not necessary, but recommended from Thursday to Saturday. You can do it here.
PPP: 25 – 30 euros
This used to be an old restaurant, and now is an old restaurant with a boho touch after the new owners started running the place. You can find a menu with plenty of original dishes, that mix traditional Spanish recipes with ingredients mainly from Italian cuisine. Fideuà is fantastic at this place. You better save room, desserts are delicious (the salty chocolate one is simple amazing)!
BIA? Mandatory. You can do it here.
PPP: 30 euros
I’ve saved the best for last. BiBO is an Andalusian brasserie that currently stands as one of the trendiest places in Madrid. The 2 Michelin star-chef Dani García – awarded for his restaurant in Marbella– has created a spectacular place with original dishes that are a true spectacle for your mouth and your eyes. One of the most popular dishes is brioche de rabo de toro, but everything is delicious. We ordered the brioche, croquetas and a red tuna tataki that was lovely. Desserts are very original, too. The staff is really nice; we went to celebrate our anniversary and they offered us two glasses of champagne as a reward.
BIA? Mandatory. You can do it here.
PPP: 40 – 60+, varies depending on what you order.
Bonus track: Alfredo’s
If you ever feel homesick and want to have a great burger in a true American burger house, this is your place. Meat is slowly grilled and then served with bacon, cheese and the original Alfredo’s BBQ sauce. Amazing. Ribs are really good too. And they have their own Alfredo’s beer.
BIA? Mandatory. There are several Alfredo’s bars in Madrid, the oldest – and most authentic one- is located on Calle Lagasca. You can book in here.
PPP: about 15 euros.
I promise I’ll try to post with a more regular basis. In the meantime, let’s enjoy Madrid as locals!