Musement takes you in search of the best tapas bars in Madrid for when you visit the Spanish capital.
Going for tapas is a requirement for any visit to Madrid. The bars, in fact, are fundamental stages of Madrid’s social life, where you can mingle with locals and experience an integral part of their culture beside them. Countless tapa bars stud the city streets, and it can be difficult to know where to stop to enjoy the winning combination: great food and a buzzing atmosphere. Luckily, we’ve toured the Spanish capital in search of the best tapa bars, and here’s our selection!
Here are eight tapas bars that you can’t miss when you’re in Madrid.
1. La Catapa
Whether you’re at the bar or in the dining room of this well-known Madrid tavern, you will enjoy excellent tapas made with seasonal products, dishes designed to make the most of the quality ingredients. From the typical salted dishes to accompany a quick beer before dinners such as fish and meats to taste more calmly, almost everything at La Catapa can be ordered in full- or half-sized portions. Calle Menorca, 14
The tavern Laredo is ideally located in Ibiza, Madrid’s most famous tapas neighborhood, and therefore a convenient place to stop when you make your rounds. The premises have a lower area with a bar and high tables for tapas, while the upper part is occupied by the restaurant. Spider crab croquettes, eel loin with cheese, fresh cockles… the options on the menu are plentiful, and the quality is top. Calle Doctor Castelo, 30
Cocamu’s slogan says that it’s been the home of “Madrid’s best bravas since 1963″, so patatas bravas take the spotlight there. Although it’s about 25 minutes from the city center, it’s always full, indicating that distance is no impediment for good tapas. Their daily menu always has succulent seasonal preparations such as eggplant millefeuilles, foie over salmorejo soup and arroz ciego with fish and seafood. Calle Alcalá, 337
4. Los Chicos
Speaking of patatas bravas, don’t miss those at Los chicos, a lively tapas bar in the Chamberí neighborhood that does not disappoint despite its apparent simplicity. In fact, they offer four different varieties of bravas with spicy sauces that have been serving their loyal clientele for 70 years. The menu continues with <3m>pincho moruno (pork kebabs), morro a la plancha (grilled pig’s snouts), <3m>alitas de pollo (chicken wings), oreja a la plancha (grilled pig’s ears) and much more…available both in tapa and full portions. Calle Guzmán el Bueno, 33
5. Gonzalez House
Another of Madrid’s most authentic tapas bars is Casa González, founded in 1931 in the Barrio de las Letras. With a charming, vintage façade, this gourmet store and tapas bar offers rich food with no pretention in a setting that hasn’t changed much since opening day. Its menu includes sausages, preserves and cheese boards, although it also offers a good selection of toasts, portions and dishes. Calle León, 12
6. Bodega de La Ardosa
From Madrid-style tortilla with corn to fried squid to oxtail croquettes to eggplant tempura, there is plenty to choose from at Bodega de la Ardosa, a historic locale in Madrid and a local institution. More than fifty years old, the establishment has a retro feel. Expect efficient service, traditional atmosphere and quality tapas. Calle Colón, 13
Melo’s bar, located in the Lavapiés district, preserves the authenticity of yesteryear: the marketing technique is still word of mouth, it’s cash only, portions are more than generous and its wine list is just red or white. Luckily, their prices haven’t evolved either, so if you’re looking for a genuine tapas experience, go here. Its star dish is la zapatilla, a loaf of bread, pork shoulder and melted tetilla cheese, a perfect way to prep the stomach for a night out. Calle Ave María, 44
8. Los Chuchis
The most contemporary of the bunch, Los Chuchis is a Lavapiés bar with cozy decor that will make you feel at home. As the chef and owner is English, you will see several dishes in inspired by the land of Shakespeare, such as slow-roasted pork and fish cakes. Other interesting options are English sausages with mustard and autumn stew. A midday menu is also on offer. 82 Amparo Street