Whether you’re after something typically Spanish or totally surprising, there are plenty of breakfast options on offer in Madrid.
As Spanish cities go, Madrid is huge. Naturally, this means there’s a bigger international food scene here than in Spain’s smaller cities of Bilbao, Valencia and San Sebastian, places which tend to have much more traditional culinary traditions. In Madrid though, it’s more common to find ‘modern’ Spanish cooking, which means the food is a lot more culturally diverse: and for breakfast, Mediterranean and American influences are common. But eating like a Madrileño by chowing down on churros with chocolate before 9am is a must – it’s how the city likes to wake up. A more health-conscious traditional breakfast option is toast with tomatoes and serrano ham called pan con tomate y jamon. The good news for food hounds is that restaurants are in a relatively compact area, so a lazy morning’s breakfast-into-brunch crawl is both a good and perfectly practical idea.
Head to Zenith for the third or fourth morning of your Madrid trip, when you’re all churro’d out and fancy something more healthy. Colourful acai bowls, shakshuka and vegan bagels will put a spring in your step, and their chai tea is a fan-favourite. The restaurant also has outstandingly friendly staff, which is another reason why Zenith the type of place you’ll find yourself going back to again and again.
This modest café is right by the Prado museum, and sometimes entry queues for the museum can get long, so try a pitstop in here first. It serves a traditional Spanish breakfast of fresh croissants filled with Iberian ham and Spanish cheese, alongside a range of unusual freshly squeezed juices; its most popular being the pear and lemon juice. Also try their homemade muesli and the city’s quintessential fresh tomatoes on toast.
For one more restaurant representing modern Madrid, try Celicioso. This gluten-free bakery is also great for dairy- and sugar-free eaters that still want a punch of flavour to start the day. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows look out on passers-by dashing out from the nearby Grav Via metro station. The lively international menu ranges from the inevitable gluten-free pastries and cakes to sumptuous poke bowls and more indulgent, holiday-ready topped pancakes.
If you’re distancing yourself from Spain’s famed heavy breakfasts in favour of something more healthy, Superchulo’s colourful superfood dishes will probably be your vibe. And if you’re avoiding meat, the totally meat-free Superchulo is ideal. They serve food that suits any time of the day, but for breakfast go for the Buddha bowls, porridge or vegan muffins. Superchulo’s the type of joint meat-eaters are dragged to but leave converted by their vegan friends.
Nolo Botana and Pablo Caballero, the duo behind hip Madrid roastery Hola Coffee, have done it again with Misión Café. The newly opened joint is Instagram friendly, with exposed bricks painted white to contrast with the exquisite, black Modbar coffee-making equipment. Food is largely plant-based and healthy, with the homemade muesli and cocoa a real standout. The bread’s fresh, and served artfully topped with spinach, salmon or peanut butter.
This quaint café is also known as the Lolina Vintage Café, and sits nestled in the Tribunal neighbourhood popular with Madrid’s creatives. It’s full-on 1960s-style – from the kitsch wallpaper to the furniture, which pops with primary colours – and the straightforward breakfast menu is awash with Mediterranean classics like smoked salmon with Spanish olive oil and toasted sesame seeds on artisan bread. The strongly brewed coffee is a popular choice, too.
Ultimately Madrid is most famous for its museums, so why not combine food and culture? Try zipping around the Museo del Romanticismo then rewarding yourself with a late and lazy breakfast in the museum’s serene garden courtyard. Try the homemade tarts and sip on a cup of aromatic Pakistani tea.
‘La Mallorquina’ is spelled out in bold, italicised lettering on the front of this old-fashioned pastry shop that’s a favourite with Madrid’s residents. Pop in for a take-out pastry (try the ensaïmadas, light sugar-dusted pastries) from the downstairs bakery, or go upstairs to enjoy views over the Puerta del Sol.
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