Breakfast in Madrid: What To Eat and Where To Eat It

Whatever you're in the mood for, Madrid has you covered where breakfast is concerned
Whatever you're in the mood for, Madrid has you covered where breakfast is concerned | © Brunch at Zenith
Photo of Adam Bloodworth
15 January 2020

Whether you’re after something typically Spanish or totally surprising, there are plenty of breakfast options on offer in Madrid.

As Spanish cities go, Madrid is huge. Naturally, this means there’s a bigger international food scene here than in Spain’s smaller cities of Bilbao, Valencia and San Sebastian, places which tend to have much more traditional culinary traditions. In Madrid though, it’s more common to find ‘modern’ Spanish cooking, which means the food is a lot more culturally diverse: and for breakfast, Mediterranean and American influences are common. But eating like a Madrileño by chowing down on churros with chocolate before 9am is a must – it’s how the city likes to wake up. A more health-conscious traditional breakfast option is toast with tomatoes and serrano ham called pan con tomate y jamon. The good news for food hounds is that restaurants are in a relatively compact area, so a lazy morning’s breakfast-into-brunch crawl is both a good and perfectly practical idea.

Tomato rubbed bread with Serrano ham is a classic breakfast dish served across Madrid | © Juan Moyano / Alamy Stock Photo

Feel uplifted at Zenith Brunch and Cocktails

Restaurant, Healthy, $$$
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For beautifully arranged acai bowls and healthy shakshuka dishes, head to Zenith cafe | © Courtesy of Zenith

Head to Zenith for the third or fourth morning of your Madrid trip, when you’re all churro’d out and fancy something more healthy. Colourful acai bowls, shakshuka and vegan bagels will put a spring in your step, and their chai tea is a fan-favourite. The restaurant also has outstandingly friendly staff, which is another reason why Zenith the type of place you’ll find yourself going back to again and again.

Prepare for your cultural day out at Matilda

Cafe, Spanish
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Matilda Cafe is perfectly located next to Madrid's 'Golden Triangle of Art' | © Courtesy of Matlida

This modest café is right by the Prado museum, and sometimes entry queues for the museum can get long, so try a pitstop in here first. It serves a traditional Spanish breakfast of fresh croissants filled with Iberian ham and Spanish cheese, alongside a range of unusual freshly squeezed juices; its most popular being the pear and lemon juice. Also try their homemade muesli and the city’s quintessential fresh tomatoes on toast.

Experience Madrid’s past at Café Comercial

Cafe, Restaurant, Spanish, $$$
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Facade of the Cafe Comercial, Madrid
For a traditional Spanish breakfast, head to Cafe Comercial which has remained unchanged since the 1950s | © Maria Galan / Alamy Stock Photo

A cornerstone of the Madrid dining scene, Café Comercial dates back to 1887 and is great for a flamboyant, no-holds-barred breakfast blow out. Inside, expect things to appear as if time stood still: luxurious brown leather banquettes are crowned with antique mirrors, while the ornate light fixtures and marble tables haven’t changed since the 1950s. The café serves traditional Spanish breakfast fare, which means churro pastries and chocolate (a classic Madrid breakfast dish), pan con tomate (tomatoes on toasted bread) and freshly carved jamon. It’ll set you back, but for the unmatched glamour it’s worth the splurge.

Be indulgent at Churreria San Gines

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Dessert Shop, Candy Store, Spanish, Dessert
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This restaurant’s been churning out churros since 1984, and has a late-night license if you fancy sampling this sweet treat late at night instead of early in the morning. Spread over two floors, the restaurant is traditionally Spanish with ornate wall hangings, big marble tables and tiled floors, upon which waiters hastily dash back and forth brandishing coveted tubs of doughy churros.

Go gluten free at Celicioso

Bakery, Gluten-free
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Celicioso is a haven for coeliacs and gluten-avoiders who crave delicious baked goods | © Courtesy of Celicioso

For one more restaurant representing modern Madrid, try Celicioso. This gluten-free bakery is also great for dairy- and sugar-free eaters that still want a punch of flavour to start the day. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows look out on passers-by dashing out from the nearby Grav Via metro station. The lively international menu ranges from the inevitable gluten-free pastries and cakes to sumptuous poke bowls and more indulgent, holiday-ready topped pancakes.

Be superfood fantastic at Superchulo

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Healthy, $$$
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If you’re distancing yourself from Spain’s famed heavy breakfasts in favour of something more healthy, Superchulo’s colourful superfood dishes will probably be your vibe. And if you’re avoiding meat, the totally meat-free Superchulo is ideal. They serve food that suits any time of the day, but for breakfast go for the Buddha bowls, porridge or vegan muffins. Superchulo’s the type of joint meat-eaters are dragged to but leave converted by their vegan friends.

Try Madrid’s most fashionable spot at Misión Café

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Healthy, Coffee, $$$
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Misión Café has arguably the best coffee in town, and a number of healthy breakfast bowls | © Courtesy of Esar Aadil/ Mision Cafe

Nolo Botana and Pablo Caballero, the duo behind hip Madrid roastery Hola Coffee, have done it again with Misión Café. The newly opened joint is Instagram friendly, with exposed bricks painted white to contrast with the exquisite, black Modbar coffee-making equipment. Food is largely plant-based and healthy, with the homemade muesli and cocoa a real standout. The bread’s fresh, and served artfully topped with spinach, salmon or peanut butter.

Go back to the 1960s at Lolina

Bar, Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Spanish, $$$
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Lolina cafe in Madrid
For mid-century style and classic Mediterranean cuisine, stop at Lolina Cafe for breakfast or lunch | © Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo

This quaint café is also known as the Lolina Vintage Café, and sits nestled in the Tribunal neighbourhood popular with Madrid’s creatives. It’s full-on 1960s-style – from the kitsch wallpaper to the furniture, which pops with primary colours – and the straightforward breakfast menu is awash with Mediterranean classics like smoked salmon with Spanish olive oil and toasted sesame seeds on artisan bread. The strongly brewed coffee is a popular choice, too.

Have breakfast in one of Madrid’s famous museums at Café del Jardín

Cafe, Coffee, Tea , Pastries
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Ultimately Madrid is most famous for its museums, so why not combine food and culture? Try zipping around the Museo del Romanticismo then rewarding yourself with a late and lazy breakfast in the museum’s serene garden courtyard. Try the homemade tarts and sip on a cup of aromatic Pakistani tea.

Grab-and-go at La Mallorquina

Pastry Shop, Cafe, Pastries
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Customers window shopping at La Mallorquina in Madrid
Sample one of La Mallorquina's ensaïmadas, a traditional sugar-dusted pastry | © Paul Christian Gordon / Alamy Stock Photo

‘La Mallorquina’ is spelled out in bold, italicised lettering on the front of this old-fashioned pastry shop that’s a favourite with Madrid’s residents. Pop in for a take-out pastry (try the ensaïmadas, light sugar-dusted pastries) from the downstairs bakery, or go upstairs to enjoy views over the Puerta del Sol.

These recommendations were updated on January 15, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.