This temple to all things cheese just north of the centre is a must-visit for serious cheese lovers. The wide-ranging menu features main courses where cheese is the star ingredient, as well as fondues and raclettes. There is also a special cheese menu, from which diners can construct their own bespoke cheese boards. The glass-walled cheese room holds hundreds of varieties just waiting to be sampled. If you fancy even more of the good stuff, there’s a cheese shop next door with 150 Spanish and over 200 European cheeses.
This cosy neighbourhood deli-meets-bar in the literary neighbourhood of Barrio de Las Letras has been open since the early 1930s when it was a neighbourhood shop. These days, it offers a great selection of Spanish cheeses, charcuterie and wines by the glass. Try the strong Basque variety, Idiazabal or a plate of the classic Manchego. There are also hot and cold tapas, including toasts topped with different cheeses.
This atmospheric tavern features an old bar, wooden tables and original earthenware vats that would have originally held the house wine. There is lots of cheese to sample, from smoked varieties from the Balearic Islands to pleasingly strong goat’s cheese. There is also a menu of tostadas (toasts) topped with cheese, fish and meat.
Spanish-Swiss couple Marlene Tellenbach and Mariano Rodríguez run this quaint Swiss restaurant in the heart of Malasaña. The wood-lined restaurant, with its beams, cowbells and cuckoo clocks, could have come straight from the Swiss mountains. Their traditional fondue is a rich mixture of gruyere, emmental and appenzeller, served with chunks of bread to dip in the delicious melted cheese. Other fondue varieties include cheese and tomato, cheese and truffle and the fondue Bourguignonne, which substitutes the cheese for oil (diners cook meat directly in the oil).
This hip, artisanal cheese shop in the cool neighbourhood of Conde Duque is the place to go for tasty cheeses from across Spain. Staff are knowledgeable and passionate, and run promotions like the ‘cheese of the month’ to highlight more unusual varieties. The shop was founded by several cheesemaking families and today, is one of the best gourmet food shops in the capital, offering activities like cheese tastings (check website for details).
A good place to sample some Spanish cheese right in the tourist centre of Madrid, Mya Valdalos is located in the busy Mercado de San Miguel, a converted indoor market that has become one of the city’s most popular gastronomic hotspots. The stall has a great range of cheese tapas, from plates of varieties like manchego to creative tapas like brie, sardine and tomato jam.
This cosy bar, with wooden walls and tables that give it a distinct pub vibe, does two things extremely well: cheese and beer. It specialises in craft beers, both homegrown and international, with several rotating brews on tap. At the end of the bar is its little haven of cheese, where punters can order bespoke cheese boards depending on what kind they like.