The best things to eat in Madrid this year:
1. Tortilla at Pez Tortilla
Pez Tortilla only has two things on the menu – tortilla and croquetas.
They are both done to perfection, and I think this is one of the best things to eat in Madrid.
Spanish tortilla is traditionally served a little runny in the middle, and I have been lovingly calling Pez Tortilla the ‘wet egg place’ for many years.
Before you click back to the next search result on Google, I can guarantee that these tortillas are absolutely delicious and the best you’ve ever tasted.
Pinchos de tortilla are served caramelised on the outside and melty in the middle, with a hunk of freshly baked bread.
I always go for the clásica with onion and potato, but they do loads of fillings from chorizo to goats cheese and morcilla (Spanish black pudding).
Croquetas are equally as delicious, with a crunchy outside and oozing centre.
The classic jamón is always a winner, as are the porcini and truffle ones, and the black squid ink varieties.
Pez has a couple of locations around Madrid.
There’s one at the top of Madrid’s famous tapas street, one in Huertas (near Sol), and another in the Malasaña neighbourhood.
2. Cheese and Wine at Casa González
Cheese and wine at Casa Gonzáles is a rite of passage when you visit Madrid.
The traditional deli and wine bar has been open for almost a hundred years, serving regional cheeses and excellent wines.
When you walk into the cosy shop-front in Barrio de Las Letras (Madrid’s old literary quarter), you’ll be transported back to the early 20th century.
The ‘Tabla de Quesos’ costs around $13 for a 1/2 ración, and it’s more than enough for two people.
Bigger groups may want to choose the full ración, but be warned… it’s a lot of cheese.
Meat lovers might enjoy the ‘tabla mixta’ instead, offering a selection of jamón, chorizo and Spanish cheeses.
3. Tacos at La Tentación
You know a taco place is good when the tables are covered in transparent plastic covers (to catch all of the delicious braised juices that seep out).
La Tentación is an authentic Mexican taqueria serving tacos, quesadillas, nachos with homemade guacamole and Mexican beer.
The soft tacos are the most authentic I’ve tasted this side of the Atlantic, and by far one of the best things to eat in Madrid.
The braised pork with salsa verde is amazing, as is the ‘birria’ with beer braised shredded beef.
There are also great veggie and vegan options made with braised mushrooms, frijoles or cactus.
The locals’ alternative to San Miguel Market, San Fernando is a buzzing night market with loads of stalls selling tapas, global street food and chilled drinks.
4. 16th Century Castilian Food at Restaurante El Tormo
Fancy experiencing authentic 16th century Spanish food in Madrid?
Restaurante El Tormo is a family-run Spanish tavern focusing on ‘Old Spain’ Castilian dishes and regional wine.
The $40 degustation menu offers 5 or 6 different dishes from La Mancha region along with some coffee to finish.
Expect to find delicious home-cooked food that you won’t find in other tapas bars around the city.
The friendly servers will explain the history of each dish to you, from traditional stews to pisto with fried egg and the famous ‘las gachas’ (a yummy savoury porridge with garlic).
If you want a unique foodie experience in Madrid (and you’re adventurous enough to try new things), you’ll love El Tormo.
5. Famous Mushrooms at Mesón del Champiñon
How can a mushroom taste so good?
It’s a question you’ll have to ask the owners of Mesón del Champiñon, whose secret recipe mushrooms are famous across the city.
Stuffed with chorizo and some kind of garlicky breadcrumb, the grilled mushrooms are served between two toothpicks.
These mushrooms are definitely one of the best things to eat in Madrid.
The art of eating the famous mushroom is another thing to conquer, as you need to pick up the two toothpicks and navigate the mushroom into your mouth.
The flavour of the famous mushrooms is really on another level.
Once you’ve devoured all the mushrooms, dip the bread into the liquid that remains on the plate for another flavour bomb.
Mesón del Champiñon is famous for mushrooms and padrón peppers – I would stick to these items along with a cold beer or sangría (rather than going 0ff-piste with other menu items).
6. Pastry from Novo Mundo
You need to go to Novo Mundo for the best pastries in Madrid.
Found in El Rastro area, this queue-out-of-the-door bakery and café rivals any boulangerie you’ll find in Paris.
From freshly baked croissants to pain au chocolat, sourdough bread and specialty coffee, a morning at Novo Mundo is always spectacular.
Why not visit Novo Mundo on a Sunday?
It’s found slap bang in the middle of El Rastro, where every Sunday artisan producers and antique traders take over the streets.
7. Tostas at Ruda Café
Brunch in Madrid is one of my favourite things.
Healthy and delicious, the simple yet brilliant ‘tostas’ with your choice of topping go perfectly with a barista coffee and some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Ruda Café is one of the best spots for tostas.
I personally love the classic ‘tostada de tomate’: toasted bread covered with fresh puréed tomato, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
Other great tostas include avocado, hummus with sundried tomato or peanut butter with banana (lots of vegan options!).
8. Secret Homemade Biscuits From a 17th Century Convent
You may have heard about a secret hatch where you can buy biscuits from nuns in Madrid.
If you head to las Carboneras convent in the old town of Madrid, you can go on a little scavenger hunt for secret homemade cookies.
First, you need to locate the convent’s big brown door, which is located on Calle del Codo.
Next, press the buzzer for the nuns (monjas) and wait for a voice to say ‘hola’.
Then, say the password ‘dulces’ (you can reply ‘cookies’ or ‘biscuits’ in English too) and the door will open.
Once inside, go through the courtyard until you see the Lazy Susan/ turntable with a menu next to it.
Now the fun bit, choose your biscuit (orange or almond are the most popular), before placing your coins in the Lazy Susan and saying your order out loud.
After this, the Lazy Susan will start moving and your money will disappear, replaced by delicious biscuits baked fresh by nuns.
9. Cachopos at El Cogollo de la Descarga
El Cogollo de la Descarga is a traditional Asturian restaurant near Plaza Mayor, famous for cachopos.
Cachopos are two thin pieces of veal with melty cheese and ham in the middle, all lightly fried in breadcrumbs.
The classic chorizo a la sidra is great too, whilst pescatarians will enjoy the various seafood dishes on the menu.