It might be a cervecería (beer house) but this traditional, century-old spot, which hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1904, is an atmospheric stop on Plaza de Santa Ana if you’re looking for a bite to eat. Grab the window seat, Ernest Hemingway’s favourite, and enjoy an ice-cold caña (little beer) bocadillos (sandwiches) or raciones (sharing plates) like like tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelette), albondigas (meatballs) and croquettes.
This modern tapas bar has several branches around Madrid and an extensive menu that caters for everyone, including vegetarians, with creative tapas dishes at a reasonable price. Grab a seat on the outdoor terrace on the buzzing Plaza de Santa Ana and enjoy tapas dishes including vegetable tempura, duck ravioli and mini hamburgers.
Most of the dishes at this modern tapas joint, which has been praised by some of Madrid’s finest chefs, come in full, 1/2 and 1/3 ración sizes, which means diners can mix and match and try a whole range of delicious plates. Dishes range from Spanish home-cooking classics (a cocido – a typical Madrid stew – stock with ravioli) to internationally inspired flavours (pig’s ear Thai salad). All dishes mix local Spanish ingredients with a creative and avant-garde touch.
With its cool, industrial chic interior, exposed brick walls and menu packed with crowd-pleasing Spanish and international dishes, La Mucca is always busy and a good option for lunch or dinner in Huertas. Its menu is split into sharing dishes, including jamón; Mexican fare like quesadillas and nachos; croquettes; pasta and rice dishes; pizzas; meat; and fish dishes.
Casa Alberto is a relic from a different era; this traditional tavern opened its doors in 1827 and has been providing locals with beers and vermouth – as well as a menu of local classics – ever since. While these days it’s less ‘local hidden gem’ and more ‘tourist central’, its front bar area is a good place for a drink and a few tapas (there is also a restaurant in the back for more formal dining). This is a good place to try Madrid specialities including callos (tripe), Madrid-style snails and pig’s ear. For the less adventurous, the menu also includes cheeses, patatas bravas and cod tapas.