Madrid is full of amazing restaurants boasting delicious cuisine from every corner of the globe! But what exactly are the typical foods in Madrid?
With more bars per capita than any other country in the EU, Spain is a treasure trove of possibilities when it comes to delicious food. In the capital city of Madrid, where there is one bar or restaurant for every 192 residents, the sheer number of options can be a little overwhelming.
Madrid is a melting pot of typical food from every region of Spain. Andalucian bars boasting great gazpacho sit alongside Galician restaurants advertising heaping plates of pulpo gallego (Galician style octopus). But while every corner of Spanish gastronomy is represented here in Madrid, the capital city boasts a host of dishes that are pretty darn madrileño, and no trip to the Spanish capital would be complete without tasting at least a few of these typical foods in Madrid.
1. Cocido Madrileño
As the weather gets cold, the smell of this simmering pork stew begins to waft through the streets of Madrid. Winter in Madrid is cocido time. Madrid’s take on the traditional Spanish stew usually consists of a dark flavorful broth specked with vegetables, chickpeas, chorizo sausage and pork.
The stew is simmered for upwards of four hours, creating a blend of heavenly robust flavors that make for the ideal cure to Madrid’s wintery weather. You’ll get to learn all about this warm, delicious stew (and taste it!) on our Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour – a delicious four hour Madrid food tour!
2. Huevos Rotos
Traditional Spanish cuisine is very meat-and-potatoes and nowhere is this fact more deliciously displayed than in a steaming plate of huevos rotos, which literally translates to “broken eggs.” This hugely popular dish is served as a plate of fried potato strips topped with an over-easy egg, which is typically broken with the crusty edge of a piece of bread to create a gooey, yolky plate of goodness.
Many restaurants add bites of chorizo or other types of sausage to the mix for a burst of color and flavor, but this dish served without the meat it is a delicious vegetarian tapa in Madrid. Some of the best huevos rotos in the city are served up at Casa Lucio, one of many great places to eat in the La Latina district.
3. Bocadillo de Calamares
No trip to Madrid is complete without tasting the city’s most famous sandwich, the bocadillo de calamares, or fried squid sandwich. Madrid’s central Plaza Mayor is the mecca for this simple, yet scrumptious sandwich. The most basic (and most traditional) bocadillo de calamares consists of crusty fresh bread loaded with deep-fried, flour-coated rings of squid.
Some Spaniards top the two-ingredient creation with tomato and paprika puree or homemade garlic mayonnaise and it is almost always washed down with a caña of beer and a side of olives. Some of Madrid’s most famous calamari sandwich bars are situated near the grand Plaza Mayor, along its many side streets.
4. Callos a la Madrileña
Callos, another of Madrid’s winter staples, is a stew-like dish traditionally served in clay dishes featuring strips of beef tripe (stomach), chunks of chorizo (paprika-spiced sausage) and slices of morcilla (blood sausage). The smokey, savory stew has been a popular cold-weather dish in Spain’s bars and taverns for hundreds of years, with the first recipes for callos dating back to the 16th century! The hearty stew is usually tinted red from the paprika and can be found in most bars and restaurants throughout the capital city during the winter months.
5. Churros con Chocolate
What could be more deliciously satisfying after a stellar night of Madrid-style fiesta than a deep-fried stick of crispy dough dipped in thick, melted chocolate? That’s right, nothing. Churros are a staple of Madrid’s after-hours nightlife and a definite must-have for Madrid’s young people during the wee hours. For non-nocturnal Madrileños, churros with a cup of steaming hot, thick chocolate are a common afternoon snack and are even occasionally eaten for breakfast!
The most famous (and one of the most delicious) place to get your hands on a plate-full of churros — or their thicker, richer cousin porras — is San Gines, where Madrileños have been devouring the sweet fried treat for more than 100 years. We also love the homemade porras and churros at Bar Chocolate– one of the stops on our Huertas Neighborhood Food and Market Tour!
6. Oreja a la Plancha
When in Spain, eat as the Spaniards eat. And in this case that includes pig ear. A popular dish among Spaniards, oreja is typically only for the boldest of foreign travelers. Oreja a la plancha, literally “pan-seared ear” is typically served as a ración, or large portion, and eaten with toothpicks. It is often sprinkled with salt or paprika and occasionally fresh-squeezed lemon.
Unlike other parts of Spain where oreja is almost always served by itself, in Madrid you can often find chunks of bacon or mushrooms mixed in with the dish. Feeling adventurous? Our Tapas, Taverns and History Tour includes the option (but not the obligation!) to taste some of Madrid’s stranger foods at one of the stops!
7. Pincho de Tortilla
Tortilla, or Spanish Omelette, is a staple of Spanish cuisine. And in Madrid, the huge diversity of this simple dish is on prominent display. Here in the capital, you can find every variety of tortilla de patatas. Some are runny piles of egg and potato that have to be scooped up with bread. Others are served as firm slices featuring everything from caramelized onions to mushrooms to sausage to peppers. Most bars in Madrid will serve a small square of tortilla with a toothpick as a tapa, but to fully enjoy this dish a pincho (slightly larger slice) of tortilla is a must!
Don’t miss out on any of these typical foods in Madrid!