A Backstreet Tour of Madrid's Best Foodie Spots

A foodie tour of Madrid | © Escarabajo Amarillo
A foodie tour of Madrid | © Escarabajo Amarillo
Photo of Lori Zaino
6 March 2017

Madrid has some amazing restaurants, whether you’re in the mood for tapas, something budget-friendly or something trendy. Typically frequented by locals, here’s a tour of some of Madrid’s best if you’re a foodie looking to try some real Spanish cuisine.


Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, Spanish, $$$
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Cazorla, Calle de Montesa
Cazorla, Calle de Montesa
Cazorla is a typical Andalusian restaurant with several locations in Madrid. Located slightly further away from the typical tourist zones, this bar is a family-friendly, local spot, with plenty of southern Spanish seafood tapas like fried sardines. Be prepared to stand around one of the many barrels that serve as table tops as you eat and drink at this lively bar.

La Carbonera

Bar, Restaurant, Tapas, Spanish, $$$
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If you’re in the mood to sample cheese, La Carbonera’s selection of Spanish and international varieties will impress even the most knowledgeable cheese connoisseur. The best idea is to order one of the cheese boards, which allows you select different types of queso and try them in groups of four, five or six. Of course, the restaurant offers plenty of wines to pair with the cheeses, and the ambiance (thanks to trendy decor and funky tune) is on point.


Bar, Restaurant, Tapas, $$$
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The creamed spinach tapa and a cheese tapa at Jurucha
The creamed spinach tapa and a cheese tapa at Jurucha | © Lori Zaino

This authentic Madrileño tapas bar is as traditional as it gets. Stand at the long bar and order a drink and one of the many delectable looking tapas on small baguettes in clear cases. The bartenders will heat up the tapas for you upon order, making the bread nice and crispy. Fan favorites at Jurucha include the creamed spinach topped with quail egg on bread and the salmon with brie on bread. Brush up on your Spanish before going here, though, as most of the waiters and bartenders speak only Spanish.

La Manduca

Bar, Restaurant, Tapas, Spanish
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Ham is one of the most delicious of all Spanish dishes
Ham is one of the most delicious of all Spanish dishes | © La Manduca

Though La Manduca is located in the outskirts of the city center, it has practically a cult following of hungry locals that make the trek out to chow down on the delicious meats, cheese and ham offered there. Summer is the best time to visit, when the small bar quadruples in size thanks to the enormous outdoor terrace it sets up in the plaza outside its restaurant. If you can handle a little spice, this spot offers some of the best patatas bravas in town.

Chocolatería Valor

Cafe, Spanish, $$$
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Try some chocolate at Valor
Try some chocolate at Valor | © Lori Zaino

Chocolate and churros (delicious fried sticks of dough) is one of Madrid’s most popular (and most calorific) breakfasts. While there are many touristy spots where you can indulge in the pleasure of dipping churros into steaming hot mugs of chocolate, Valor is known to have some of the best chocolate con churros around—not to mention, the restaurant is decently priced and virtually devoid of tourists. There’s even a Valor shop next to the restaurant so you can buy some sweets to to take home.

Casa Mingo

Restaurant, Spanish, Pub Grub
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One of the oldest restaurants in Madrid, this spot dates back to 1888. Although tourists sometimes stumble upon it, Casa Mingo is still frequented by tons of locals and really hasn’t changed much from when it first opened. Sticking to its roots, the restaurant serves sidra, an apple cider-like drink originating from the Asturias region in Spain, as well as cheese, chicken and chorizo-based dishes.