Whether you’re looking for an authentic Italian pizza or a fresh pasta dish, follow our rundown of the best Italian restaurants in Madrid, from old-style classics to new and exciting additions to the Italian food scene.
Mercado Antón Martín, on the border of the literary Barrio de las Letras and the diverse neighbourhood of Lavapiés, is a great mixture of traditional food stalls and restaurant stalls selling cuisine from all over the world. Fiaschetteria la Saletta is the market’s Italian stall. Run by two young Italians, it offers a daily lunch menu as well as pizzas and specialities from their region, like the mouth-watering porchetta. Don’t miss the ‘grandma-style’ desserts either – they’ll leave you eager to come back for more.
Luna Rossa, in the cool neighbourhood of Malasaña, is something of a Madrid institution. It is said to be the very first restaurant in the city that had a wood-fired pizza oven and prides itself on its authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas. The interior, with its wood beam ceilings and whitewashed walls, brings to mind a rustic Italian trattoria. The restaurant is famous for its pizzas, but also has a good selection of fresh pastas and antipasti, as well as meat and fish dishes. It also offers sfogliatella, a traditional Naples pastry stuffed with ricotta and orange zest.
This relatively recent addition to Madrid’s Italian food scene – NAP stands for Neapolitan Authentic Pizza – prides itself on making Neapolitan-style pizzas, fresh from its pizza oven. The decor is modern, with a striking mural by Spanish street artist Okuda (his work can also be seen on the streets of Lavapiés). There is a good range of antipasti such as different bruschettas, buffalo mozzarella and aubergine parmesan. But NAP really shines when it comes to pizzas; the dough thin, the sides singed from the pizza oven and the delicious array of toppings bubbling pleasingly on top.
The ‘little trattoria’ might be tiny, but it’s big on flavour. It does Neapolitan-style pizzas, as well as pasta dishes like seafood spaghetti, and fresh pasta filled with pear and gorgonzola with a black truffle and parmesan sauce. To start, try the creamy burrata and for dessert the tiramisu or pannacotta.
Located right in the heart of Madrid, close to the Plaza Mayor, Trattoria Malatesta is famed for its fresh pasta. Inside, the brick walls and low lighting give a cosy effect, while its outside terrace is always packed in warm weather. Its menu is vast, featuring pizzas, pastas and a good variety of antipasti and desserts. Try the spinach and ricotta ravioli followed by the ricotta and pear cheesecake – a lovely taste of Italy in Madrid.
It might technically be Argentinian, but we reckon the Italian influence on the country’s pizza scene qualifies Picsa for this list. Its pizza bases are thick and its toppings creative; its Fugazza with cheese is sweet onion, red onion, cheese, rosemary and black olives, while its ode to Spanish cuisine, the Ibérico pork and artichokes, consists of tomatoes, cheese, Carrasco Ibérico pork, artichokes and capers. Pizzas are on the expensive side, but are always available by the slice and they are so loaded with toppings that one could be shared between two people. Grab a seat at the bar to watch the chefs in the open kitchen do their thing.
Another pizza favourite, López & López is a laid-back restaurant in the heart of the diverse barrio of Lavapiés, home to perhaps the widest range of world cuisine in Madrid (there is a Senegalese restaurant opposite and a taco place next door). López specialises in Roman-style pizzas, which tend to be crunchier than their Neapolitan cousins. Pizzas include the asparagus (asparagus, mozzarella, goat’s cheese, Parmesan, white truffle oil and an egg on top) and the bacon (beech wood-smoked bacon, mozzarella, onion and tomato).