Lost in Spain: Best Tapas in Madrid

Food & Wine, Spain, Studying Abroad — By on November 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

By Molly Gallagher
LG International Correspondent

Tapas MadridAt any time of the day in Madrid you can find cafes, restaurants and bars open and serving tapas. Madrilenos (people of Madrid) have a schedule unlike anything I have ever experienced. The nightlife goes on until six, seven, even eight in the morning. Lunch is usually between two and four and dinner can be as late as ten. In fact, most restaurants do not even open for dinner until ten. Tapas fit in perfectly with this lifestyle. Tapas are small dishes that are shared. These allow Madrilenos to eat smaller portions throughout the day or have a bite to eat between the long periods of time between meals. Bars will also often give you a small tapa when you order a drink and some will give you lots of tapas. A side note, Ham is a HUGE part of Spanish food, so expect lots of it. Here are some of my favorite tapas and some suggestions on where to eat if you are planning a trip to Madrid.

Salmorejo– This dish originated in Córdoba, a city in Southern Spain. It is similar to gazpacho, but a much creamier, tomato based dip. It is usually made with pieces boiled egg and ham. It is delicious to dip bread into.

Patatas Bravas– These are potatoes, similar to home fries. Bravas sauce is a spicy tomato sauce, like hot sauce.

Huevos Rueveltos– Is an egg dish that is prepared many ways. This literal translation is scrambled eggs. It is often made with potatos or French fries and Chorizo (sausage) or bacon and sometimes vegetables.

Chorizo– This is pork sausage. It is very different from the sausage we are used to in the States. Chorizo is spicier and tastes more like salami. It is most commonly eaten with bread.

Jamón Serrano– Is dry cured ham. It is most similar to Italian prosciutto. It is served with melon (like prosciutto), on a plate, or with bread.

Croquetas– These are small fried balls filled with a ham, oil, cheese and egg mixture. While they may not sound delicious…they are. Try them at El Tigre.

Tortilla Espa̱olaРThis is a Spanish Omlette. It is made with potatoes and eggs. It is usually served as a pincho, or piece either hot or cold. Many Spaniards eat this dish in the morning.

My Three Favorite Places to Get Tapas

La Rosa Madrid The best area to go for tapas is in La Latina. This area is right near Sol (the center of Madrid). If you walk down Cava Baja Alta, you will find over 30 tapas bars.

La Rosa– My cousin who lived in Madrid for three years introduced to this tapas bar. They have traditional Spanish tapas like, Salmorejo, but you can also get salads, chicken dishes, and more interesting tapas. Calle de Oriente, 4.

El Tigre– This bar is ALWAYS packed. Why? Because when you buy one caña (a small beer) for €1.50 you get a free plate of tapas filled with patatas bravas, croquetas, tortilla Española, and Jamón (Ham). When you get a more expensive drink, for example their €6 mojito, which comes in a large plastic cups, you get two free plates of food. This is the best bargain, especially when you are on a budget. Go around 9:00 p.m. and by the time you make your way to the bar it will be time for dinner. Calle de las Infantas, 30.

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    1 Comment

  • checking it out... says:

    Thanks for the tapas tips. I am going to Madrid in 2 weeks and will definitely check out La Latina. I'm dying to know what the 3rd best tapas bar is…you are leaving me hanging!