Eat Like a Local – Madrid

The Spanish love their food. When they start talking about what makes their country special, its cuisine always ranks on top of the list.

Madrid Marco Polo Guide

Local specialities you should try on your visit to Madrid:

Albóndigas – meatballs

Boquerones fritos/en vinagre – deep fried/marinated anchovies

Café solo/cortado/con leche – espresso/espresso with a shot of milk/coffee with milk

Calamares – squid

Callos madrileños – tripe stew

Caña – a small glass of beer

Cava – Spanish sparkling wine

Chipirones – baby squid

Chorizo – paprika salami

Churros – deep fried pastry, particularly popular con chocolate i.e. dunked in hot chocolate

Cochinillo – suckling pig

Cocido madrileño – typical Madrid stew with chorizo, garbanzos (chickpeas) and vegetables

Cordero (asado) – (roast) lamb

Croquetas – fish, meat or ham croquettes

Ensaladilla – potato salad with greens (fresh or cooked) and mayonnaise (plenty of it)

Gambas al ajillo/a la plancha – prawns in garlic sauce/grilled on a hot metal plate

Horchata – refreshingly sweet drink made from ground tiger nuts

Jamón – air dried ham

Mejillones – mussels

Pulpo – octopus

Patatas bravas – fried potatoes served in a spicy tomato sauce

Queso – farmhouse cheese mostly

Tinto de verano – ‘summer wine’ a mix of half wine and half gaseosa with plenty of ice

Tortilla – Spanish potato omelette

Madrid Marco Polo Guide

Restaurants serving traditional Spanish cuisine:

A classic interior with a relaxed outdoor café on the steps of the Costanilla del Nuncio in the heart of La Latina. Daily 12.30pm–2.30am | Segovia 9 | Metro 5: La Latina

This is one of the classics on the Cava Baja, Madrid’s restaurant mile. It is renowned for its lightly grilled Basque steaks but the seafood dishes are also excellent. Closed Sun evening | Cava Baja 18 | tel. 913 65 82 10 | | Metro 5: La Latina | Expensive

Not very spacious, usually packed and often noisy, yet this restaurant still manages to retain its elegance. A great selection of unusual tapas with no less than 250 wines to choose from! Closed Mon–Tue for lunch | Cava Alta 16 | tel. 913 65 82 37 | Metro 5: La Latina | Moderate

A classic that has been going strong since 1917 – their speciality is roast chicken and they are famous for their cider or sidra – on a fine day Madrid’s locals sit outside on rows of tables crammed on to the street. Daily | Paseo de la Florida 34 | no reservations | | Metro 6, 10: Príncipe Pío | Budget

There are always queues of people in front of this restaurant and it is no wonder because you will be hard pressed to find such value for money in an elegant setting elsewhere in Madrid. Expect everything to feel a bit rushed and chaotic – a small price to pay for a great meal. Daily | Calle Principe, 10 | no reservations | | Metro 2: Sevilla | Budget


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Madrid Marco Polo Guide

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