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Slices of bread topped with french fries and steak tartare, arranged on a glass plate
Steak tartare at AskuaBarra
AskuaBarra / Facebook

The 38 Essential Madrid Restaurants

Where to find Michelin-starred guacamole, steak tartare, and chocolate-dunked churros in Spain’s capital

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Steak tartare at AskuaBarra
| AskuaBarra / Facebook

A cultural hub with world-class museums and gorgeous historic buildings and churches, Madrid is home to some of the most exciting and varied food in the country. “Spain’s capital is a destination that no gourmand should miss,” says lifestyle editor for Condé Nast Traveler (Spain) Paula Móvil. “It simply has it all.”

It’s easy to find excellent homestyle staples like fried cod, snails, oxtail, and the city’s namesake stew, cocido Madrileño, all of which Móvil recommends washing down with a caña (a small glass of draught beer). But it’s not all about traditional fare: From three-Michelin-star avant-garde tasting menus to hip Asian fusion to Mexican cuisine, Madrid is a place to “discover a whirlwind of culinary offerings,” says Móvil. When it comes to drinking, there is plenty of vermouth and sherry in town, and if a caña isn’t doing the trick, go ahead and make it a doble. If there’s anything Madrid lacks, it’s the thing tourists mistakenly come looking for: “Avoid looking for paella,” Móvil says. “Madrid is definitely not the place to eat this traditional dish from Valencia.”

Want just the newcomers? Head to the Heatmap. But for restaurants, bars, and dishes that define Madrid, read on.

Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Prices per person, excluding alcohol:

$ = Less than €25 (less than USD $26.50)

$$ = €25 - €50 (USD $26.50 to USD $53)

$$$ = €50 - €100 (USD $53 to USD $105)

$$$$ = More than €100 (more than USD $105)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sacha

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11, Calle de Juan Hurtado de Mendoza
28036 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 45 59 52
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This is the type of restaurant that makes everyone wish they were a regular, coming in for dinner every week and leaving in the wee hours. It offers the epitome of elevated comfort food: so-called “faux” ravioli stuffed with txangurro (king crab), marinated oysters, bone marrow with a side of sirloin, and wine — lots of wine. And if you spot owner Sacha Hormaechea greeting guests, make sure to shake his hand. He’s quite the character. [$$-$$$]

Two servers stand at a bar in a darkened room beside a bright lamp. The walls are lined with wine bottles but are difficult to make out.
Interior of Sacha
Beatriz Janer

2. DiverXO

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NH Eurobuilding, Calle de Padre Damián, 23
28036 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 70 07 66
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Think of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryAlice in Wonderland, one’s dreams and nightmares — this is the imaginative spirit chef David Muñoz brings to his three-Michelin-star restaurant located inside the Eurobuilding hotel. At DiverXO, Muñoz breaks the boundaries of avant-garde cooking, using intense flavors in two tasting menus that aim to surprise diners with dishes that imitate works of art both in their aesthetics and their taste. [$$$$]

Squares of crispy pork arranged artistically on a stark white plate beside various cream and white accents in different shapes and textures.
Crunchy pork
David Muñoz/Instagram

3. San Mamés

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Calle de Bravo Murillo, 88
28003 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 34 50 65
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Expect homemade food and traditional recipes at this quaint restaurant, run by the same family since the 1950s. While it may be a bit far from the city center’s main restaurant circuit, it’s too close to ignore (and a 15-minute train ride from Puerta del Sol). Here, guests can try some of Madrid’s staple dishes, such as callos a la madrileña — some dare to say they are the best in town — anchovies brought straight from the Cantabrian Sea and drenched in pil pil, as well as a can’t-miss mix of potatoes, fried bacon, and eggs called patatas revolconas. [$$]

A homey restaurant interior with checkered tablecloths, many photos cluttering the walls, and soft light coming in through two windows.
Interior of San Mamés
San Mamés/Official

4. Kappo

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Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 54
28003 Madrid, Spain
+34 910 42 00 66
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When it comes to authentic Japanese food and refined service, Kappo is, to many, the place. Owned by chef Mario Payán, known for his time at the Michelin-starred Kabuki, the restaurant is located just a stone’s throw from the Sorolla Museum. Book a seat at the counter and watch as every dish in the omakase-style meal is prepared, then served straight from Payan’s hands. [$$$]

5. Zalacaín Restaurant

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Calle Álvarez de Baena, 4
28006 Madrid, Spain

When Zalacaín, a quintessential Madrid culinary experience, closed a couple of years ago, diners thought it was the end of a fine dining era — until the restaurant reopened months later, physically transformed but familiar in its staff and menu. The restaurant left behind the mandatory tie etiquette and brought on operational manager Carmen González, the first woman to helm the dining room since the restaurant opened in 1927. Politicians, businessmen, and celebrities still gather around Zalacaín’s white tablecloths to indulge in classic dishes like crepes Suzette, flambeed tableside for your delight, and the Pequeño búcaro Don Pío, a small vase filled with quail’s egg, smoked salmon, and Beluga caviar. The souffle potatoes, puffy chips that come with every meat dish, are another fan favorite. [$$$$]

A chef sculpts a mound of steak tartare with two forks
Steak tartare at Zalacaín
Courtesy of Zalacaín

6. Sala de Despiece

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Calle de Ponzano, 11
28010 Madrid, Spain
+34 917 52 61 06
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Proprietor Javier Bonet took an old butcher shop and transformed it into a meat-focused restaurant. There are no tables here — just several long counters where orders are taken on an iPad and dishes are served on paper-lined metal trays. Open since 2013, Bonet’s innovative, product-focused culinary concept is still a buzzing dinner destination. [$$]

An energetic interior with a bright white bar, light blue and yellow accents on the ceiling, royal blue floor, and stools at the counter.
Interior of Sala de Despiece
Sala de Despiece/Facebook

7. Tripea

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Mercado de Vallehermoso, Calle de Vallehermoso, 36
28015 Madrid, Spain

Markets are evolving in Madrid. In order to attract new, younger clientele — and coax them from supermarkets — markets are now installing gastropubs next to traditional fruit, meat, and dairy stalls. Mercado de Vallehermoso has gotten in on the trend by giving a home to Tripea, the culinary project of chef Roberto Martínez Foronda (an alum of Nakeima). His stall consists of a small open kitchen and a communal table where the chef challenges taste buds through Spanish, Asian, and Latin flavors. In a la carte selections and a perfectly executed tasting menu, Foronda entertains with shared plates filled with excitement, novelty, and hard-hitting flavors. [$$]

A round plate with a row of wild salmon tiradito in the center surrounded by yellow mango leche de tigre
Dish at the Tripea stall in Mercado de Vallehermoso
Paula Móvil

8. Quesería Cultivo

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Calle Conde Duque, 15
28015 Madrid, Spain
+34 911 27 31 26
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Cheese is a crucial product of the Madrileño diet, usually purchased from supermarkets where only powerful brands make it onto shelves. The owners of Quesería Cultivo offer an alternative: their shop, located in the Conde Duque neighborhood, is devoted to selling cheeses made by artisanal cheesemongers, mostly Spanish. Ask the staff any questions you have about the enormous selection and feel free to request a sample to help you decide which one to take home. [$]

A board of different white cheese of various varieties, textures, and shapes.
Cheese board at Quesería Cultivo
Quesería Cultivo/Official

9. Café Comercial

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Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
28004 Madrid, Spain

Café Comercial served as a meeting place for writers, poets, and bohemians from its opening in 1887 until it shut down in 2015, but the coffeehouse made a well-received comeback in 2017 thanks to Grupo El Escondite. The restaurant group gave the cafe new life, completely refurbishing the space while staying true to its heritage. Historic elements like mirrors, the century-old bar counter, floors, and lamps (which are protected by the city) remain untouched, while the menu mixes modern touches and homages to Madrid’s essential flavors. Try the churros for breakfast, then move on to the ensaladilla rusa (potato salad), meatballs with saffron, or garlic shrimp. [$$]

A cafe interior with dark blue paint, gold accents, warm pendant lighting, and tufted brown leather banquets
Interior of Misión Café in Madrid
Café Comercial / official

10. StreetXo

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Calle de Serrano, 52
28001 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 31 98 84
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Chef David Muñoz owns this restaurant inside the El Corte Inglés department store (it now has a location in London’s Mayfair, too). This is not an ordinary food court restaurant, seeing as Muñoz is one of Spain’s most acclaimed chefs — his DiverXO is the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Madrid (see above). Lines at StreetXO, his more casual venue, can be an hour or two long (get there early!), but it’s well worth the wait. The menu is a journey across Asia and Latin America, and the flavors are wild and bold. The place is loud, the chefs cook everything right in front of your eyes, and the chili crab and famed “club sandwich” (actually a steamed pork bun topped with a fried quail egg) are some of the best bites in the city. [$$-$$$]

A red plate with two overflowing steamed pork buns topped with a garnish of greens and fried quail eggs.
Club sandwich
Dabiz Muñoz/Instagram

11. Punto MX

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Calle del Gral. Pardiñas, 40
28001 Madrid, Spain

We are restoring Madrid’s best Mexican restaurant (and the first in Europe with a Michelin star) to the essentials list in honor of its praiseworthy guacamole. Servers make the dish tableside in a molcajete, garnish it with pomegranate seeds, and serve it with homemade totopos (tortillas). It’s a vice we can’t get enough of. The iconic presentation, popularized by chef Roberto Ruiz and wife María Fernández, has inspired copycats at other local Mexican restaurants, which now roll out molcajetes to craft guacamole tableside too. Find the original on the a la carte menu in the dining room or upstairs in the more casual Mezcal Lab. [$$$$]

A top-down view of various dishes involved in the table-side guacamole presentation at Punto MX
Dishes at Punto MX
Courtesy of Punto MX

12. Tortilla de Patatas at Casa Dani

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Calle de Ayala, 28
28001 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 75 59 25
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Tortilla española may seem overrated to some, but for locals, it’s quite the comfort food. It is offered everywhere in the city, but only a few bars and restaurants serve the potato omelet fresh and cooked to perfection. For that, head to Casa Dani, a family-owned bar and restaurant that makes more than 200 a day. Also known as tortilla de patatas, the version here is beloved for its well-done exterior and gooey interior. At lunchtime, the place gets packed, so go around 11 a.m. to enjoy a slice with a café con leche without having to fight for a seat at the counter. Oh, and while there, also give the callos a la Madrileña (Madrid-style veal tripe) a try. [$]

A dark textured counter beneath two small white plates, one containing a triangular pie-like slice of tortilla de patatas, the other with a small foaming cup of café con leche.
Tortilla de patatas at Casa Dani
Paula Móvil/Instagram

13. Cuenllas

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Calle de Ferraz, 5
28008 Madrid, Spain

A family-owned gem hidden in the Arguelles district, Cuenllas has somehow escaped tourists’ radars, remaining a neighborhood staple since 1939. Catch the sunset nearby at Debod Temple, then stop by the gourmet grocery shop at Cuenllas to pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner at the restaurant next door. On the menu you’ll find delicacies such as premium canned goods, fresh foie gras, stewed snails, steak tartare, marinated sardines, and out-of-this-world toasts topped with bone marrow or eel with scrambled eggs. To round out the evening, finish with the truffle risotto and homemade desserts. For a more modern take, stop by Media Ración by Cuenllas at the Urso Hotel. [$$$]

A plate with a slab of pate in front of a few small pickles and a slice of cheese. A knife rests on the plate and a loosely covered bread basket is visible in the background.
Pate, pickles, and cheese
Cuenllas / official

14. Casa Camacho

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4, Calle de San Andrés
28004 Madrid, Spain
915 31 35 98

Many Madrileños want nothing more on a sunny Saturday than a vermouth on the rocks during aperitif hour at their favorite bar, an easy thing to find at Casa Camacho in the hipster Malasaña neighborhood. But don’t be fooled by the bar’s location, since it has nothing to do with the fixies and long beards the area is famous for. Instead, Casa Camacho is a quintessential Madrid bar, unglamorous but charming, and adored for serving the iconic yayo cocktail from a 90-year-old metal bar. The drink, which translates to “grandpa,” is a lethal and delicious mix of vermouth, gin, and soda. Make sure to accompany one with a plate of cured anchovies in vinegar, known as boquerones. [$]

15. Misión Café

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Calle de los Reyes, 5
28015 Madrid, Spain

Baristas Nolo Botana and Pablo Caballero have become two of the most recognized faces in specialty coffee in Spain. First they opened Hola Coffee, a small shop in the Lavapiés neighborhood where they serve coffee-based drinks made with beans they toast themselves (and distribute around the city). Now they’ve added Misión Café near Plaza de España. Coffee-based drinks are still the main focus here (think cold-brew sangria in the summer), but pay equal attention to the incredible homemade pastries, like praline-stuffed brioche or croissant-muffins, aka cruffins. Outstanding breakfast items are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include options such as sourdough toast with chickpeas; overnight oats with berry-soaked coconut milk, apricot, pecans, and caramelized banana; and a portobello and shiitake mushroom sandwich with herbed tofu cream, Chinese cabbage, and spicy apricot chutney. [$]

Sourdough toast layered with chickpeas and an egg beside a carafe and a tray for coffee tasting
Sourdough toast with chickpeas at Misión Café
Misión Café / official

16. 1862 Dry Bar

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Calle del Pez, 27
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 609 53 11 51
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Barman Alberto Martínez challenged a neighborhood to leave its cañas and wine glasses behind in favor of cocktails. At 1862, anyone who enjoys a good mixed drink will meet their match in a powerful cocktail menu that focuses on classics. [$] 

A large lowball glass holds an Old Fashioned cocktail and a single large ice cube on a shiny silver tray.
Old Fashioned at 1862 Dry Bar
1862 Dry Bar/Facebook

17. Bodega de la Ardosa

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Calle de Colón, 13
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 21 49 79
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La Ardosa is a tavern known for its perfectly served pilsens (pilsners), Spanish vermouth on tap, salmorejo (a cold tomato soup topped with hard-boiled egg and ham), ham croquettes, and tortilla de patatas. A worthy classic on every Madrileño’s bar-hopping route, as well as an oasis in the trendy Malasaña, La Ardosa is always crowded — a good spot to experience Madrid’s bar scene at its best. [$]

The front signage above open doors at Bodega de la Ardosa, with a few people standing around tables visible within.
Bodega de la Ardosa exterior

18. El Cisne Azul

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Calle de Gravina, 19
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 911 12 90 80

When wild mushroom season hits in the fall, this is the place to be. El Cisne Azul specializes in all the varieties that grow around Spain, cooked in simple ways that enhance their essences without disguising their true flavors. Look for dishes like cantharellus (chanterelles) with fried eggs, squash blossoms with wine salt and truffle oil, boletus mushrooms with torta del casar cheese, and king trumpet mushrooms with garlic. The owners also have a second restaurant down the street, but the original location still wins out for its loyal customers and old-school staff. [$$]

A plate covered in mushrooms, topped with a fried egg.
Eggs and mushrooms
Paula Móvil/Instagram

19. La Tasquería

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Calle Duque de Sesto, 48
28009 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 51 10 00
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Veal tripe, trotters, and snout. Fried pig’s face. An omelet with brains and cod tripe. Offal has always had a place in Spanish cookbooks, but up until recently these dishes were considered outdated. Chef Javi Estévez takes advantage of this void in the culinary scene at La Tasquería, a tribute to yesteryear’s flavors with today’s techniques. [$$]

A tin holding rabbit kidney lies open next to the tin’s top and a serving skewer. The tin sits on a mini wooden palette branded with La Tasqueria’s name.
Rabbit kidney
La Tasquería/Facebook

20. Casa Salvador

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Calle de Barbieri, 12
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 21 45 24
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Casa Salvador is an outstanding casa de comidas (eatery) that evokes an era in Spain’s history when bullfighters were considered rock stars. Here, the walls pay tribute to matadores fans such as Sophia Loren and Ernest Hemingway alongside their idols, like bullfighter Manolete. The broadly appealing menu features dishes like traditional oxtail stew and fried hake. Proof that this place isn’t too stuffy? Anthony Bourdain ate here… and he loved it. [$$]

A homey interior with checkered table cloths and lots of photos clogging the walls.
Interior of Casa Salvador
Casa Salvador/Official

21. La Raquetista

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Calle del Dr. Castelo, 19
28009 Madrid, Spain

The Retiro neighborhood is well known for its outstanding bar-hopping. Almost all the restaurants in the area are armed with bar counters where you can find great food cooked with care, but La Raquetista is a mandatory stop on any crawl. Small and always crowded, the restaurant is famous for its homemade torreznos (pork rinds), a Madrid staple. The restaurant double-fries them to remove excess fat and elegantly plates the crunchy bites. After a couple glasses of wine, order the chickpea stew with foie gras and black sausage, or the crispy cod fritters. [$$]

Six pieces of torreznos (pork rinds) arranged on a dark plate
Torreznos (pork rinds) at La Raquetista
La Raquetista / official

22. Angelita Madrid

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Calle de la Reina, 4
28004 Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s natural wine scene isn’t as well known as Barcelona’s, but there is hope to be found, especially when a bar à vins like Angelita attracts buzz from chefs and media alike. The typical riojas and Riberas cede their space on the menu to bottles from small producers all around Spain, relatively unknown labels beloved by connoisseurs. With the option to taste many bottles by the half glass, you can try a handful in a single visit. When hunger inevitably strikes, opt for the homemade terrines and charcuterie, or any of the vegetable dishes made with produce from the owners’ very own garden on the outskirts of Madrid. And don’t forget to take a peek downstairs to find one of the best cocktail bars in the city. [$$]

A burrito sits in a pool of sauce with garnishes strewn around and on top.
Burrito at Angelita
Angelita / official

23. Del Diego Cocktail Bar

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Calle Reina, 12
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 23 31 06
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Whatever cocktail culture Madrid has, it owes in large part to Del Diego Cocktail Bar. Owner Fernando del Diego died in 2016, but his legacy lives through his two sons. Together, they continue to prepare welcome everyone from locals and tourists to celebrities and restaurateurs with a classic cocktail menu that impresses all. [$]

A cocktail in a martini glass sits in the middle of several small plates of crunchy snacks and a coaster branded with the logo of Del Diego Cocktail Bar.
A drink and snacks at Del Diego Cocktail Bar
Scaredykat/Flickr

24. Bistronómika

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Calle de Ibiza, 44
28009 Madrid, Spain
+34 910 60 72 40
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Some of the best wild fish in Spain can be found in Madrid’s fish market. Unfortunately, it seems to get delivered everywhere in the country except Madrid. Bistronómika is changing this status quo by adjusting its menu and technique to whatever catch its suppliers offer each day, with dishes like fresh red mullet and grouper, along with well-executed meats and game. [$$$]

A bowl with a single scallop in its shell floating atop a bed of chickpeas and stew. Photo: Bistronómika

25. AskuaBarra

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Calle de Arlabán, 7
28014 Madrid, Spain

If there is a place in Madrid that can achieve the perfect steak, it is, without a doubt, AskuaBarra. Owners Jorge and Nacho Gadea are the sons of Ricardo Gadea and Emma Sempere, responsible for the legendary Askua restaurant, the upscale carnivore temple in Valencia. In the capital, the younger Gadeas offer the family’s hits (including meats cured in-house at Askua) without the formal white tablecloths of their mother restaurant. They serve probably the best patatas bravas (with aioli and a spicy paprika oil) in a city known for the dish, and the croquetas filled with oxtail, chicken, and curry are a unique take on the classic ham-based recipe. [$$$]

Slices of bread topped with french fries and steak tartare, arranged on a glass plate
Steak tartare at AskuaBarra
AskuaBarra / Facebook

26. Churros con Chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés

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Pasadizo de San Gines, 5
28013 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 65 65 46
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Decorated with photos of visiting celebrities and located right around the corner from Puerta del Sol, Chocolatería San Ginés is the first stop for anyone coming to the city looking for decadent churros con chocolate. Both the churros and porras (a thicker version of the churro) are made with flour, water, and salt, and can be sprinkled with some sugar before being dipped in chocolate. This place is open 24/7 and is a popular post-club breakfast spot come 6 a.m. [$]

A churro drips chocolate into a cup right after being dipped.
A churro and chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés
Chocolatería San Ginés/Facebook

27. La Mallorquina

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Calle Mayor, 2
28013 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 21 12 01
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Madrid is not exactly known for its sweets, but a visit to this legendary pastry shop will leave you wondering why. Open since 1894 and located in Puerta del Sol, La Mallorquina is a staple for locals and tourists alike. You’ll have a tough time deciding what to choose from the extensive variety of pastries, but the safest and most delicious bet is the napolitana de chocolate (similar to pain au chocolat), the strawberry cake, or the cream-filled milhojas (mille-feuille). Order your treats to go or enjoy them at the bar with a café con leche. [$]

28. La Venencia

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Calle Echegaray, 7
28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 29 73 13

Sherry is the pride of Spain, and this historic gem of a bar is where it should be enjoyed. One of Hemingway’s favorite haunts, it allows neither photos nor tips. Urban legend has it that the photo ban was put into place during the Franco era because spies captured their enemies on film here, and the tipping ban honors the bar’s Republican views. Bartenders only serve sherry — don’t bother asking for soda, water, beer, or wine, because they don’t have any — accompanied by tapas such as salted tuna, Campo Real olives, cheese, and anchovies. Fino, manzanilla, palo cortado, amontillado, and oloroso all pair perfectly with the retro decor, the black cat wandering around the tables, and the servers, who keep track of what you drink by jotting it down with chalk on the bar counter. [$]

A glass of sherry sits next to a small plate of olives on a wood bar with someone leaning nearby.
Wine and sherry
Scaredykat/Flickr

29. Chuka Ramen Bar

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Calle Echegaray, 9
28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 640 65 13 46
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Chuka is hands down the city’s most successful ramen bar. The baos come stuffed with pastrami, king crab, or pig’s ear, and the three different ramen on the menu change throughout the year. Order the brothless Hiyashi Chuka, but don’t stop there: Try a superb skate with black butter, broccolini, and lime; fried cauliflower with fish sauce, butter, and crispy chili; and the wild Iberian boar fried in panko. Book in advance — walk-ins are welcome but usually never get lucky. [$$]

A bowl of ramen seen from above with noodles, egg, greens, slices of pork, and sheets of nori all sticking out of the bowl.
Ramen at Chuka Ramen Bar
Chuka Ramen Bar/Official

30. Salmon Guru

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Calle Echegaray, 21
28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 910 00 61 85
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Celebrity bartender Diego Cabrera’s cocktail bar Salmon Guru is a favorite among the city’s restaurateurs, bartenders, and cocktail lovers. A perfect stop before or after a meal at nearby Chuka Ramen or La Venencia, the menu focuses on both classic and avant-garde cocktails served by a young and courteous staff. [$] 

A bar with a few bar seats, rows of illuminated bottles, and another seating area visible by a window.
Interior at Salmon Guru
Salmon Guru/Facebook

31. Casa Revuelta

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Calle Latoneros, 3
28005 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 66 33 32

Bar hopping in the city center can be overwhelming, but here’s a tip: go to the places that seem like they’ve been there forever and avoid eating reheated paella at a chain restaurant. Among the small streets surrounding Plaza Mayor, look for a small and over-crowded bar called Casa Revuelta. Make yourself some room at the bar and order tajada de bacalao (fried cod) and a glass of vermouth on tap. [$]

The stone exterior and patio awning of Casa Revuelta, with customers spilling out of the open doorways into the street.
Out front of Casa Revuelta
Casa Revuelta/Facebook

32. Gofio

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Calle de Lope de Vega, 9
28014 Madrid, Spain

It’s not easy to find food from the Canary Islands in Madrid, but the Spanish islands are well represented at Gofio in the Literary Quarter. At the small but outstanding restaurant, the tasting menu focuses solely on the flavors of the archipelago without relying on stereotypes. Cooks play creatively with the ingredients and seasonal produce of the islands, and they bring the same energy to the wine list and dessert. Gofio is a mind-blowing experience that proves Spain has much more to offer than just paella and sangria. [$$$]

From afar, chef Safe Cruz is seen salting a dish in the kitchen of Gofio
Chef Safe Cruz at Gofio
Courtesy of Gofio

33. Corral de la Morería Restaurant

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Calle de la Moreria, 17
28005 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 65 11 37
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Flamenco. Dinner and a show. This may sound like a cliché, but locals and tourists alike won’t regret paying a visit to arguably the most famous tablao in the world. Guests not only get to witness the true soul of flamenco, with an awe-inspiring show that rotates every week, but they also get to sample chef David García’s Michelin-star worthy tasting menu honoring Basque roots — in an exclusive setting of just four tables. As for the evening’s beverage, let David Ayuso, the restaurant’s sommelier and sherry expert, guide the way. [$$$$]

34. La Sanabresa

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Calle Amor de Dios, 12
28014 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 29 03 38

A neighborhood favorite, La Sanabresa is a must-visit for tourists and locals who haven’t yet been. Its three servers (one is the owner) attend to the entire dining room — and even though they don’t say or smile much, they’ll remember guests when they come back. Go for the atmosphere, but the menu offers more than 30 different homey dishes with prices beyond cheap. [$]

A full table of dishes, including a fried cutlet, french fries, chunks of bread and red wine glasses.
Dishes at La Sanabresa
Paula Móvil/Instagram

35. La Copita Asturiana

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Calle de Tabernillas, 13
28005 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 65 10 63
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La Copita is the place to come when the cold weather hits and your body starts demanding something warm. The stews María Mayo has been making in this modest “house” since 1959 are powerful; they follow traditional recipes from the northern region of Asturias. The house staple is the fabada made with fabes beans, bacon, saffron, pork shoulder, blood sausage, chorizo, and Spanish paprika. The restaurant also offers fabes with clams or the cachopo, a gigantic breaded veal steak filled with ham and cheese and served with peppers and french fries. Wash it all down with some cider. [$$]

A large tray with various cut up sausages and bits of meat on top of beans, with a serving spoon at the ready.
Stew at La Copita Asturiana
La Copita Asturiana/Facebook

36. Santurce

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Plaza del Gral. Vara de Rey, 14
28005 Madrid, Spain
+34 646 23 83 03

Santurce is best known for serving grilled sardines and padrón peppers from Galicia. The place is nothing fancy — just a great neighborhood tavern where the dynamic is as simple as finding your spot at the bar, ordering caña after caña, and devouring fish as if you were stranded on a desert island. The prices are unbeatable. [$]

Two beers on either side of a plate of sardines in front of a loud, textured wall.
Grilled sardines and beer
Paula Móvil/Instagram

37. Bar El Boqueron

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Calle de Valencia, 14
28012 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 27 63 80

This classic tavern is a mandatory visit come aperitif time, a sacred midday custom for Madrileños on the weekends. Make some elbow room at the bar, filled with a clientele made up of residents of the multicultural Lavapiés neighborhood. Both the young and the not-so-young engage in an eating and drinking ritual that includes cañas, vermouth, and chilled white wine, combined with seafood brought straight from Galicia. Some of the prices are “by the kilo” so do the math before ordering to avoid any surprises. [$]

38. Cocido Madrileño at Cruz Blanca Vallecas

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Calle de Carlos Martín Álvarez, 58
28018 Madrid, Spain
+34 914 77 34 38
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A good cocido Madrileño (Madrid-style chickpea and meat stew) is worth the half-hour metro ride from Puerta del Sol. There are plenty of restaurants in the city center that do traditional Spanish stews, but none match the one at Cruz Blanca Vallecas. The restaurant — independent from the chain with which it shares its name — has won every single award possible for its outstanding cocido Madrileño, callos (veal tripe), and fabada (Asturian bean stew) that chef–owner Antonio Cosmen has been cooking with care for the past decade. Just a heads up: a table booked months in advance is a necessity. [$$]

A large tray with different cuts of meat and chickpeas in the center of several other half-eaten dishes, including vegetables, breads, and soups.
Cocido Madrileño
Cruz Blanca Vallecas/Facebook

1. Sacha

11, Calle de Juan Hurtado de Mendoza, 28036 Madrid, Spain
Two servers stand at a bar in a darkened room beside a bright lamp. The walls are lined with wine bottles but are difficult to make out.
Interior of Sacha
Beatriz Janer

This is the type of restaurant that makes everyone wish they were a regular, coming in for dinner every week and leaving in the wee hours. It offers the epitome of elevated comfort food: so-called “faux” ravioli stuffed with txangurro (king crab), marinated oysters, bone marrow with a side of sirloin, and wine — lots of wine. And if you spot owner Sacha Hormaechea greeting guests, make sure to shake his hand. He’s quite the character. [$$-$$$]

11, Calle de Juan Hurtado de Mendoza
28036 Madrid, Spain

2. DiverXO

NH Eurobuilding, Calle de Padre Damián, 23, 28036 Madrid, Spain
Squares of crispy pork arranged artistically on a stark white plate beside various cream and white accents in different shapes and textures.
Crunchy pork
David Muñoz/Instagram

Think of Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryAlice in Wonderland, one’s dreams and nightmares — this is the imaginative spirit chef David Muñoz brings to his three-Michelin-star restaurant located inside the Eurobuilding hotel. At DiverXO, Muñoz breaks the boundaries of avant-garde cooking, using intense flavors in two tasting menus that aim to surprise diners with dishes that imitate works of art both in their aesthetics and their taste. [$$$$]

NH Eurobuilding, Calle de Padre Damián, 23
28036 Madrid, Spain

3. San Mamés

Calle de Bravo Murillo, 88, 28003 Madrid, Spain
A homey restaurant interior with checkered tablecloths, many photos cluttering the walls, and soft light coming in through two windows.
Interior of San Mamés
San Mamés/Official

Expect homemade food and traditional recipes at this quaint restaurant, run by the same family since the 1950s. While it may be a bit far from the city center’s main restaurant circuit, it’s too close to ignore (and a 15-minute train ride from Puerta del Sol). Here, guests can try some of Madrid’s staple dishes, such as callos a la madrileña — some dare to say they are the best in town — anchovies brought straight from the Cantabrian Sea and drenched in pil pil, as well as a can’t-miss mix of potatoes, fried bacon, and eggs called patatas revolconas. [$$]

Calle de Bravo Murillo, 88
28003 Madrid, Spain

4. Kappo

Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 54, 28003 Madrid, Spain

When it comes to authentic Japanese food and refined service, Kappo is, to many, the place. Owned by chef Mario Payán, known for his time at the Michelin-starred Kabuki, the restaurant is located just a stone’s throw from the Sorolla Museum. Book a seat at the counter and watch as every dish in the omakase-style meal is prepared, then served straight from Payan’s hands. [$$$]

Calle de Bretón de los Herreros, 54
28003 Madrid, Spain

5. Zalacaín Restaurant

Calle Álvarez de Baena, 4, 28006 Madrid, Spain
A chef sculpts a mound of steak tartare with two forks
Steak tartare at Zalacaín
Courtesy of Zalacaín

When Zalacaín, a quintessential Madrid culinary experience, closed a couple of years ago, diners thought it was the end of a fine dining era — until the restaurant reopened months later, physically transformed but familiar in its staff and menu. The restaurant left behind the mandatory tie etiquette and brought on operational manager Carmen González, the first woman to helm the dining room since the restaurant opened in 1927. Politicians, businessmen, and celebrities still gather around Zalacaín’s white tablecloths to indulge in classic dishes like crepes Suzette, flambeed tableside for your delight, and the Pequeño búcaro Don Pío, a small vase filled with quail’s egg, smoked salmon, and Beluga caviar. The souffle potatoes, puffy chips that come with every meat dish, are another fan favorite. [$$$$]

Calle Álvarez de Baena, 4
28006 Madrid, Spain

6. Sala de Despiece

Calle de Ponzano, 11, 28010 Madrid, Spain