Gastronomy

7 things you have to taste while in Madrid

There are many reasons why people love Madrid. The people, the nightlife, the culture, the history.  The list is endless but we have another reason. Madrid tantalises your taste buds!

We have compiled a list of food and drink that you have to try when visiting Spain’s capital.

1.Squid bocadillo (bocadillo de calamares)

This is perhaps the most authentic dish in Madrid along with the cocido. The best area to sample a squid bocadillo is at the Plaza Mayor, where tourists and locals mingle to eat this simple but delicious snack. You should order it with a caña (small glass of beer). This is a traditional and great value, light lunch!

We recommend: Bar La Campana (Calle Botoneras, 6). Bar located in one of the entrances of Plaza Mayor. They daily serve hundreds of squid bocadillos. Fast service and cheap!

2. Madrilenian cocido (stew)

If you have time, you cannot leave Madrid without trying a good cocido. The most traditional cocidos are served in three stages. First, the soup (with the broth and noodles) followed by two big plates with vegetables (chickpeas, carrots, potatoes and cabagge) and then meat: chicken, ham, chorizo, black pudding, marrow…

We recommend: Restaurante La Bola (Calle Bola, 5), a nineteenth century tavern where the cocido is cooked in little casserole dishes in a wood oven. Another recommended restaurant is Taberna La Daniela (four locations in Madrid). It is best to book in advance.

3. Hot chocolate with churros

There is nothing better on a cold day than a hot chocolate with churros.  It is great at any time of the day; for breakfast, an afternoon snack or even when you are coming back from a party.

We recommend: Chocolatería San Ginés (Pasadizo San Ginés, 5). Famous café opened in 1894. Its walls are full of photos of all the celebrities that have visited this place in the past. There is always a queue in Winter but the café has three venues located within the same street and it is not difficult to get a table or even to get chocolate with churros to take away.

4. Draught vermouth

This is a typical drink from the more traditional bars in the capital but, over the last few years, it has become a cool drink again and many places in Madrid offer a wide range of vermouths.

We recommend: La Hora del Vermut (Calle Fernán Gonzaléz, 48 and Mercado de San Miguel). A nice place to have an appetizer in Madrid where you can choose from over 80 different types of vermouths.

5. Madroño liquor

Another drink that you must try while in Madrid is the Madroño liquor, made with the fruits of the Madroño tree, the symbol of the city. It tastes like sloe brandy and is only served in traditional bars/taverns.

We recommend: Restaurante El Madroño (Calle de Latoneros, 10) Tavern decorated with tiles where traditional scenes are shown. What makes it special and different is the “shot” in which they serve this drink. It is made from wafer covered with chocolate so, once you have drunk it, you can eat it the “glass”!

6. Violet candies

And we finish our selection of Madrid´s flavours with the sweetest part. Perhaps the most characteristic sweets in Spain’s capital are violet candies, a sweet with more than a hundred years’ history.

We recommend: La Violeta (Plaza de Canalejas, 6). Little candy store where famous/illustrious people used to pop in to buy violet candies, such as the King Alfonso XIII or the writer Jacinto Benavente. But, if you would like to enjoy this flavour in a unique way, we recommend the special dessert at La Antoñita in La Posada del Dragón (Calle de la Cava Baja, 14). Better to go and discover for yourself!

7. La Mallorquina sweets

If we are talking about sweets in Madrid, we can´t forget our most traditional pastries and chocolates.

We recommend: La Mallorquina (Puerta del Sol, 8 and new locations at El Rastro and Velázquez). This is an emblematic pastry shop that has been around for more than 125 years. If you are near the Puerta del Sol, pop into this store, the only business from the XIX century that is still open at this famous location.

Would you like to try all of these specialities while improving your Spanish? Why not join one of our language holidays in Madrid and you´ll experience the capital like a local!

Author Info

Adrián Lago

I am a journalist and a Spanish teacher. I am passionate about travelling and learning other languages and I always try to transmit this to my students.

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