Best Al Fresco Cafés in Madrid's Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor at dusk
The Plaza Mayor at dusk | © Sebastian Dubiel/Wikipedia
Lori Zaino

Who wouldn’t want to have a glass of wine and some tapas while enjoying the views of Madrid’s most famous landmark? Luckily, the Plaza Mayor is full of outdoor terraces and inviting cafés for visitors to sit at and take in its charming views. Where else can you throw back a cold beer while you admire 237 balconies facing a 16th-century statue of the King Philip III and his horse? So head over to Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and sit out at one of these cafés, all located right inside the square.

Cervecería Restaurante Plaza Mayor

Drinks specialties at this al fresco café include beer and vermouth on tap. Cervecería Restaurante Plaza Mayor also makes the famous bocadillo de calamares (calmari sandwich) which you can even get to take away, but a much better idea is to stay, eat, and relax outside in the sunshine.

A traditional calamari sandwich in Madrid

Casa María Plaza Mayor

If you’d like to enjoy a hearty lunch outside, visit Casa María Plaza Mayor, which prides itself in offering delicious traditional Spanish cuisine. The restaurant regularly offers special prix fixe menus for holidays and events, and you can reserve at table by calling or visit the establishment’s Facebook page, making things easy if you don’t speak Spanish.

La Torre Del Oro

The terrace of this bar-restaurant is a beautiful place to sit out with a drink, but the inside of this bar has quite a bit of history to it. With photos covering the La Torre Del Oro’s walls, you’ll see that famous people like Bruce Springsteen and Robert F. Kennedy visited the very same spot you’re standing at. The bar prides itself on serving a variety of Andalusian tapas and boasts a unique bullfighting theme, with photos of famous bullfighters and bull heads hung on the walls.

Outdoor terraces in the Plaza Mayor

Restaurant Hegar

If you’re looking for a more elegant dining experience, Hegar is one of the fancier restaurants in the Plaza Mayor. While you can still sit out on the terrace and enjoy a coffee, the indoor seating area, designed in a classical, traditional Spanish manner, is the ideal setting for an important evening dinner.

Los Arcos

Los Arcos is known for serving up large jugs of sangria and plates of tapas piled high. While the inside is nothing to write home about, splitting a pitcher of sangria on the outdoor terrace is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Cervecería Éboli

Cervecería Éboli open their terrace from January to November each year—what they consider to be the summer season. However, you can reserve indoor seating year round. Enjoy typical plates like Galician-style octopus, oxtail and a hearty pan of paella here.

Sit outside at the Plaza Mayor

Museo del Jamon

Contrary to the name, the Museo del Jamon actually isn’t a museum at all—it’s a bar and restaurant with several locations around Madrid, one of which is in the Plaza Mayor. As the name suggests, it specializes in many different kinds of ham as well as typical Spanish dishes and tapas like tortilla española.

Bar Tineo

The outdoor terrace at Bar Tineo is open year round except for the month of December, and specializes in seafood cuisine. Clams, mussels and paella are must-try options here. They take reservations for larger groups and even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll feel right at home, as the staff pride themselves on speaking excellent English.

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