Madrid is best for...
Food markets: Stroll through Mercado de San Miguel and Mercado de la Paz to experience the best of Spanish food culture
Local Spanish food: From huevos rotos for breakfast to cocido madileno stew in the evening, try the local foods within the city
Its cafe scene: The best places to enjoy a coffee and a pastry are the cafes in Santa Ana, Malasana and Salamanca
Language: The language spoken in Madrid is Spanish
Currency: The currency used in Madrid is the Euro
Local time: Madrid is 1 hour behind GMT/UK time
Fly to: Madrid's main airport is Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport
In Spain’s capital Madrid, food is a passion. Situated in the heart of the country, it brings together many regional cuisines. Local specialities include acorn-fed ham, pickled anchovies, and Cocido Madrileno, a warming meat stew. As a vibrant international city, you’ll also discover tastes from around the globe on offer too. All of this comes together to make Madrid a perfect destination for anyone who loves good food.
It’s hard to choose the best restaurants and bars in Madrid because there are just so many. In fact, it’s reputed that there is one bar or restaurant for every 192 people in Madrid. As a result, you won’t normally need to worry about booking in advance.
Do check the time before you head out, though. Locals eat late, with lunch normally served at 3pm and dinner after 9pm. If you’re too early, you may only find the most touristy restaurants are open and could miss out on discovering a real authentic gem. Don’t forget to sample the local tapas, these bite-size snacks are the perfect way to sample a broad range of traditional Spanish fare. Patatas bravas (potato cubes in a spicy sauce) is a classic tapas that hails from Madrid.
If you’re searching for best restaurants in Madrid to celebrate a special occasion, you could choose one of the many restaurants with a Michelin-star. The wildly creative DiverXO holds three of these coveted awards, but you’ll need to plan and book well in advance to get a table.
It’s not only award winning restaurants in Madrid that serve menus fit for celebration. In Madrid, food makes the most of local produce and you can find delicious delicacies offered in even the smallest bars and stalls.
Markets like the famous San Miguel Market are also the place to pick up some of the finest local wine, sangria and jerez (sherry). In the market you’ll also find tempting foods from across Spain, which you can buy to eat there or enjoy later as a picnic.
Tourists looking for the best bars in Madrid often head to the Heurtas area. This is the liveliest district in Madrid, with a diverse selection of pubs, clubs and bars open until the small hours. For a more alternative bohemian vibe, check out the bars along the streets of Maravillas district just to the north of the centre. Wherever you choose to go, remember that drinks are sometimes cheaper if you stand at the bar rather than sitting down at a table.
You may be planning a city break to this beautiful Spanish city to soak up the culture in the museums and galleries. The excellent food here will ensure your taste buds enjoy just as great a treat.