The neighbourhood of Malasaña is one of the coolest in Madrid and is full of international cuisine, hip cafés and quirky bars. Sometimes finding some good, hearty tapas can be a bit of a struggle, so follow our guide for the best tapas bars in Malasaña, from historic taverns to modern fusion restaurants.
This and its sister restaurant, Cabreira, are both located just off the buzzing Plaza del Dos de Mayo and offer a good range of regional classics from around Spain. Expect plenty of fresh, tasty fish and seafood dishes – try the Galician-style octopus, seasoned with paprika, or the crunchy, golden calamari. There are plenty of meat and vegetarian options, too – go for the honey-covered aubergine and the Cabreira potatoes: chips covered in a delicious garlic and parsley vinaigrette.
Founded in 1892, this wood-pannelled bar is a local favourite, and judging by the dust-covered bottles lining its shelves, it hasn’t changed much in its 125 year history. It is most famous for its tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette), which is often said to be one of the best in Madrid. Grab a spot at one of the high tables and order a few tapas, washed down with beer, wine or a local favourite, vermouth.
One of Malasaña’s most famous bars is a true no frills joint that is a firm favourite with locals. Spanish newspaper El País called it “the best bar in the world (or at least, in Malasaña)” and it has even starred in a film, 2017’s El Bar, directed by Alex de la Iglesia. Loved by both young and old, expect it to be packed on any evening. Food includes traditional tapas dishes and hefty bocadillos (baguette sandwiches).
This modern restaurant that also has another branch in La Latina does a modern take on tapas, with a mixture of Spanish and international influences peppering its fusion menu. Options range from a Chinese bao bun and Peruvian ceviche to fried squid, and modern riffs on a Spanish omelette and croquettes.
Going strong since 1921, Casa Julio is said to have the best croquettes in Madrid. It does seven different flavours, from classic jamón to more creative flavours like leek and mushroom. There is a good range of other classic tapas such as meatballs, patatas bravas and tortilla. It’s a buzzing local place with great value food and an authentic Madrileño feel.
This family-run business opened in 1940 and soon became a favourite hangout of workers from the nearby Radio Madrid (now Spanish radio station Cadena Sur). While it started off just selling drinks, it began providing food to cater to the radio employees and Americans working on a nearby base. It’s a great place to sample Madrid classics like callos a la Madrileña, or Madrid-style tripe.
This bar specialises in, as you might have guessed, tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette) and has seven different types available whole or by the slice. From caramelised onion and leek and asparagus to truffled brie and ham, there are lots of tempting choices. The bar also has seven different kinds of croquettes and a good range of craft beers.