A Brief Introduction to San Gines: Madrid's Oldest Chocolatería

Lori Zaino

Madrid’s most famous chocolate shop, San Gines, serves one of the city’s most popular breakfast combinations: chocolate and churros. The building dates back to 1890, when it was originally built as a restaurant and inn, but in 1894, San Gines began serving their famous chocolate and churros.

Decorated in green panels with lots of mirrors, green chairs and old-fashioned tables, the San Gines feels authentic right off the bat.

Cristina Candel /

The churros are long sticks of dough created from water, salt and flour. Typically, dough is poured into a vat of hot oil, deep-fried and stirred with a very long stick, which helps the dough form into long spiral sticks – similar to a donut, but not round. The sticks are then cut down and a bit of sugar may be added on top. The hot chocolate is served the authentic Spanish way: thick and steaming, perfect for dipping churros into. If you’ve already tried churros, porras are a thicker, more doughy version and well worth a try. This delectable, calorie-filled treat may not seem like it would be that addictive, but it really is – once you start dipping, you may eat several churros sticks without even realizing it.

Cristina Candel /
Cristina Candel /
Cristina Candel /

Besides enjoying the cafe, you can pick up some San Gines souvenirs, like chocolate bars or mugs. In 2011, San Gines opened a branch in Tokyo, which only lasted a year before closing, unfortunately. However, in 2013 the cafe opened two locations in Bogota, Colombia, which are both doing well.

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