When it comes to tapas, Madrid is one of the best places to learn all about the unique Spanish concept. And don’t worry if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of tapas restaurants that won’t break the bank. From creative fusion to traditional Spanish, discover the best and most affordable tapas bars to check out next time you’re in Madrid.
This stylish restaurant on the beautiful Plaza de la Paja is a great option if you’re looking for a creative take on tapas in La Latina. The menu turns several different world cuisines into tapas, such as the bao bun stuffed with prawns (€6.80), charcoal aubergine hummus with pita (€4.50) and the fried green tomatoes (€6.70). There are also more Spanish-style tapas, like croquettes and fried squid, but always served in an unusual way.
This little unassuming tapas bar in Lavapiés has become very popular with tourists, and for good reason. The laid-back restaurant, whose walls are decorated with Pedro Almodóvar film posters, serves up some excellent takes on traditional tapas, and a few international additions, all for a reasonable price. Try the shredded beef ropa vieja (€9.50), the mushroom croquettes (€8) and tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette – €3).
If you’re on a budget head to this Madrid classic and elbow yourself a space at the bar (everything’s cheaper when eaten at the bar than when seated). As you’ll notice from the name and the ham legs hanging from every available space, the Museo de Jamón specialises in Spanish cured ham. It also does a good range of other tapas and bocadillos (sandwiches).
This bar and restaurant, right in the heart of Madrid, just off the Puerta del Sol, has been serving up its speciality, deep-fried battered cod, since 1860. Prepare for queues at weekends when locals flock to get their fried fish fix. Order a tajada de bacalao (deep-fried battered cod piece) for €1.45 and a cod croquette for a euro. But be warned, you probably won’t stop at just one of these delicious bites.
This popular chain, with restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona, is a good place for tasty, reasonably priced tapas. Its restaurant on Plaza Santa Ana, one of Madrid’s most popular square, is a good option on a square where food can often be overpriced and underwhelming. It has a big menu with tapas including jamón ibérico with tomato and olive oil (€3.90), black pudding with potatoes and egg (€4.10) and tempura vegetables (€5.60).
It’s not a restaurant but a collection of excellent food stalls all under one roof of this market in Lavapiés. Unlike some other popular Madrid markets, San Fernando retains a local atmosphere and low prices across the board. Whether you fancy pizza, traditional tapas or tacos, you can satisfy most food cravings here.
A perennial fixture on lists of budget eats in Madrid, El Tigre is something of an icon for its plates of piled-high tapas that come free when you buy a drink (around €2.50). Featuring everything from tortilla de patatas and jamón, to croquettes and patatas braves, it might not be the most refined tapas in Madrid, but the fact it’s free means the place is always busy.