A Day Exploring La Latina's Vibrant Tapas and Bar Scene
A Sunday afternoon is well spent in La Latina | © Catarine Belova/Shutterstock
La Latina is one of Madrid’s most traditional and most exciting neighborhoods, especially for those planning to indulge in cuisine and cocktails. The area is known for its tapas – small plates of food often eaten standing up among friends and likely paired with a glass of wine or beer. Here’s a guide to La Latina’s bar and tapas scene, which is best explored on Sundays.
Madrid’s largest flea market, the Rastro, occurs every Sunday of the month in La Latina. You can find pretty much anything here, from typical souvenirs to antique furniture to hand-crafted leather goods. Break up the shopping with beers or a snack at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the Rastro route. If you haven’t yet had breakfast, opt for a coffee or thick chocolate and churros.
Visit the Mercado de la Cebada
One of Madrid’s most interesting food markets, Mercado de la Cebada offers the most authentic Spanish delights while still having a decidedly hipster scene. First, have a couple of tapas inside the market, like grilled octopus or goat’s cheese and caramelized onions on a baguette, and then head out to the patio to admire the street art, have a beer or listen to live music.
Mercado de la Cebada, Plaza de la Cebada, Madrid, Spain
The outside of the Mercado de la Cebada | © Guillermo de la Madrid/Madrid Street Art Project
Wander along Calle Cava Baja
Calle Cava Baja is filled with some of Madrid’s most traditional and oldest tapas bars. Stop into any bar that strikes you as interesting and order tapas by pointing at whichever one you want in the glass cases sitting atop the bar. One of the most famous spots is the Taberna El Tempranillo, known for their delicious meats and cheeses, not to mention smooth Tempranillo wine blends.
Taberna El Tempranillo, Calle Cava Baja 38, Madrid, Spain, +34 913 64 15 32
Try some fancy tapas
While tapas can always be enjoyed standing at the bar, trying a fancier spot for more gourmet tapas is fun too. Juana La Loca offers contemporary takes on more authentic varieties. Expect to see all the typical Spanish like omelette or croquetas, but don’t be surprised if they include ingredients like cabrales cheese, truffle or have an Asian-inspired twist.
Juana La Loca, Plaza Puerta de Moros 4, Madrid, Spain, +34 913 64 05 25
See the sun set at El Viajero
While El Viajero boasts three floors, the rooftop is the place to be for a Sunday evening sunset over the tiled roofs. Try a traditional tinto de verano drink (a red wine spritzer) paired with the delicious Canarian specialty tapas, patatas con salsa mojo. Once you’ve downed a few drinks the club-like second floor is loads of fun if you want to dance.
El Viajero, Plaza de la Cebada 11, Madrid, Spain, +34 620 63 81 59
Check out the sunset at El Viajero | © Lori Zaino
Once you’ve had your fill of tapas, have a mojito and dance for a bit – Sunday evenings are actually the most popular time to do so at Vaova, which is typically packed shoulder-to-shoulder after 8-9pm on a Sunday evening. Get there early if you want to score a spot on one of the sofas. Then, if you’re still standing, stop into Graffiti Music Bar, aptly named for zone in which its located, filled with street art. This is the late-night spot to be, as they stay open until 3.30am.