Brunch is a relatively recent arrival in Madrid, but there are great options if you know where to look. These 10 top spots, from artsy cafes to luxurious hotel restaurants and chocolaterías, offer as good a brunch as you’ll find anywhere; so good that even the madrileños are catching on.
Cafe, Bistro, Spanish
A smart bistro in Madrid’s fashionable Chueca neighborhood, Café Oliver makes a strong claim to having pioneered the madrileño brunch and still offers one of the best menus in the city. For €25 you’ll get coffee, fruit juice, toast and freshly made pastries to start, a choice between eggs Benedict, fried eggs with bacon or scrambled eggs with herbs (for our money the best of the three), and a final course such as pancakes with maple syrup or tropical fruit salad. Popular with artists and thespians, Café Oliver is busy at the best of times. Though brunch is served until around 3:30pm, it’s wise to arrive early.
With a little help from its pared-back modern design and trendy malasaña location, Federal is fast becoming one of the hippest hangouts in the city. An Aussie-run café with a sister branch in Barcelona, it’s known for excellent coffee, top-notch burgers and inventive salads, but above all for its breakfast and brunch menu. Served until 1pm on weekdays and 4pm at weekends, it comprises classics like yogurt with granola, muffins studded with sticky sweet plums, and French toast with caramelized bananas and maple syrup. More substantial options include scrambled eggs with spinach, served on sourdough toast, and fiery Mexicanhuevos rancheros.
With it’s 24-hour opening times and walls cluttered with photos of celebrity patrons, Chocolatería San Ginés might be the most famous place in Madrid to eat churros con chocolate but that doesn’t make it the best. In the eyes of many, that accolade goes to Chocolatería Valor where you’ll find a long list of traditional and gourmet chocolate blends in which to dip your donuts sticks. There’s no brunch menu as such, but with churros, crepes, waffles, milkshakes, pastries and savory toasts topped with fragrant tomato and ibérico ham all on offer throughout the day, Valor is the ideal place for a do-it-yourself version.
Much of the talk surrounding Ramses centers on its fiercely modern interior, designed by French guru Philippe Starck, but the food here, which earned chef Aurelio Morales a Michelin Guide recommendation, lives up to the setting. The weekend brunch menu (€25) runs from cakes and pastries to Greek yogurt with honey, eggs Benedict, and Spanish embutidos (cured meats). Naturally coffee and fresh juices come with it, but if you’re looking for something stronger, Ramses’ Bloody Marys, like all of their cocktails, won’t disappoint. They taste even better sipped in the sunshine on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.
The terrace and gardens of the Hotel Ritz, Madrid | Courtesy of Belmond
If you’re in search of something a little more lavish, it hard to go wrong at the Hotel Ritz. Brunch is served on Sundays between 1:30 and 3:30pm in the plush interior of the hotel’s Restaurante Goya or on shaded terrace adjacent to the gardens. It takes the form of a sumptuous buffet showcasing traditional delicacies from Spain along with dishes from overseas. Everything from elegant patisserie to sushi, cheeses and cured meats is on offer and, naturally, the service is impeccable. A post-prandial stroll through the treelined Parque del Buen Retiro or a visit to the Museo del Prado next door makes a fine way to spend what remains of the afternoon.
Part of modern bookshop complex La Central, which also boasts a cocktail bar and a varied program of cultural activities from concerts to book readings, El Bistró serves seasonal Mediterranean cuisine that includes a continental Sunday brunch menu. Browse the bookshop’s shelves (with over 70,000 volumes on offer you’re sure to find something to your liking) and sit down to plates of well-made eggs Florentine, fruit salads and buttery pound cake. With flavors like kiwi, honey and strawberry, juices are something different and you can add a Bloody Mary or Espresso Martini to your order for just €3, if you’re in need of an extra mid-day boost.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Beer, Wine
Not only is Carmencita Bar’s brunch menu excellent, it’s also great value. Poached eggs topped with salmon, avocado or crisp fried bacon go for €8.50, with breakfast cocktails, including Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys just €5. Served between 12 and 4:30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the menu also features huevos rancheros with guacamole and black beans and American-style brunch creations, including hearty plates of bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns. You can even opt for a burger (the restaurant’s speciality) and choose from a long list of decadent creations. Unsurprisingly given its numerous attractions, Carmencita Bar’s brunch is no secret, so booking ahead is advised.
The overall top spot may be hotly contested, but the award for the most spectacular brunch in Madrid must surely go to The Westin Palace, one of the city’s most opulent hotels. Every Sunday afternoon, scenes from classic operas and traditional Spanish zarzuela are performed beneath the elegant stained glass dome of the Westin’s La Rotonda restaurant. Meanwhile, guests enjoy champagne cocktails and a lavish buffet of sweet and savory dishes, from lobster and delicate foie gras canapés to exquisite chocolate desserts. At €77 it’s far from cheap, but the experience and the quality of the food make it worth every céntimo.