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Madrid Top 10 Tapas Bars

Posted by gen On February - 5 - 2010

Madrid’s Best Tapas Bars

Everybody in Madrid has their Tapas bar- their secret neighborhood hideaway. Whether for a morning coffee, a midday snack, or a late night bottle among friends, madrileños live their lives in their favorite haunts. Here are just ten of our favorite tapas bars in Madrid, to give you a taste. But when you walk through the winding cobblestone streets of Madrid, you will be sure to stumble upon your very own taberna.

by Martina Hemm

 

La Camarilla

La Camarilla

 

Le Cabrera

As the collaboration between Argentinean mixologist, Diego Cabrera and Sergi Arola, the culinary mastermind behind many of Spain’s great restaurants, Le Cabrera could settle back on their good names, but that would go against this new Gastrobar’s principles. Whether in its boutique tapas or distinct cocktails, Le Cabrera gives top ingredients the limelight. Split into two levels diners can start the evening upstairs with a glass mellow red Terrazgo, and follow up with one of Cabrera’s signature drinks in the downstairs cocktail lounge. Or enjoy the night at the open kitchen’s bar, where you can watch the chefs create the stars that make Le Cabrera shine.  Even though head chef, Benjamin Bensoussan, is originally from Marseille his traditional tapas with a twist could fool any Madrileño into believing he was a native. Tiny rolls of potatoes hiding a spicy center and topped with a smooth garlic aioli, are what Le Cabrera calls patatas bravas; a worthy addition to any gourmand’s dictionary.

Calle Bárbara de Braganza 2
Madrid
Tel +34 913 199 457

Taberna Matritum

Rustic yet refined, Matritum is set back from the busy bustle of Cava Baja. Enter into the cozy dining room and watch the dim lighting reflect off of the over 400 wines on display, which the in house sommelier will be more than happy to go guide you through. Treat yourself to one of Matritum’s specialties: pan seared foie with a confit of oven roasted apples and onions or a gratin of scallops in a luscious Cava cream. Better yet, brings friends and join in on a family style serving of patatas bravas with five cheeses.

Cava Alta 17
Madrid
Tel +34 913 658 237

Best tapas Bars in Madrid

Taberna Agrado

Meaning to please in Spanish, Agrado does everything to stay true to its name. Although only a week old at the time of publishing, the tiny modern taberna tucked in amongst the winding backstreets of Madrid, already has a large following of locals who know to appreciate good customer service.  For those in need, the openhearted bartenders are quick to give a wine recommendation, favoring those from their hometown such the 2008 La Vendimia. Drinks are served with crumbled aged Parmesan drizzled with a tart olive oil. If you have come with an appetite Agrado has empanadas de carne with a spicy pebre of onions, pepper, and cilantro, and an excellent list of small dishes focusing on seasonal produce such as the ceviche with ripe mango and crunchy red onions, to please your hunger.

C/Ballesta 1
Madrid
Tel +34 915 216 346

Casa Lucas

Long lines speak for the popularity of this Cava Baja mainstay. So be sure to arrive early and put down your name for one of the coveted tables. This will give you enough time to browse the chalkboard’s daily specials and skim the crowds for a friendly face. Dim lighting and laughter make it easy to find a conversation and enjoy the homey atmosphere over a glass of dry white Peñedes and their classic tapa of pork loin on a confit of onions.

Best Tapas Madrid

Calle Cava Baja 30
Madrid
Tel +34 913 650 804‎

La Perejila

The tiny entrance to La Perejila is easy to miss despite its green color, but sneak a peak inside and the soft breeze of Andalusia will beckon you in.  Flamenco memorabilia covers the walls and lends a distinct touch to the colorful nightspot frequented by the La Latina’s bohemians. Saddle up to the bar and toast to the vibrant atmosphere with a glass of Cava. Be sure to try the salmorejo, a deliciously refreshing soup similar to gazpacho, and if you are feeling like something heartier the toast of sobrasada and warm goat cheese with a drizzle of caramel will leave you craving for more and happy you haven’t missed this jewel of a bar.

Best tapas bars in Madrid

Calle Cava Baja 25
Madrid
Tel +34 913 642 855‎

La Camarilla

A total contrast to the sleek dining room, the bar area of la Camarilla with its bistro tables and worn terra cotta tiled floor, is the perfect pit stop on a tour through La Latina. After a morning of scouring antiques at the Rastro market around the corner, enjoy a typical Madrid breakfast of café cortado and toast with tomato and olive oil. Come back at night to pick and choose from the tapas on display, from salmon rolls filled with a scallop béchamel to sautéed mushrooms topped with green pardon peppers. While the night is still young, browse the long list of wines representing every corner of Spain and enjoy a glass while the music continues to play until the early morning.

Best tapas Madrid

Calle Cava Baja 21
Madrid, Spain
+34 913 540 207

Mercado San Miguel

Come on a weekend and hear a medley of languages bounce off of the beautifully restored marketplace. Crowds of Madrileños and world citizens pulse through the wrought iron stands whittling away the hours with laughter and conversation. Home to small upscale shops by day, the market turns into one big tapas bar at night offering a wide range of delicacies from cured ham, to artisan cheese, olives, almonds, and melt in your mouth seafood tapas. Try the traditional sardine tapa with an unconventional curry sauce, a surprisingly divine combination. The Pinkelton & Wine bar has an excellent red, 2007 CLIO, the perfect way to sip the night away watching as the world passes by the glow of the Mercado.

Best tapas Madrid

Plaza de Oriente 3
Madrid
Tel +34 915 415 104‎

Bar Miguel Angel

Hidden within the entrance to an apartment building, is a white door that takes you down into a cellar filled with small wooden tables. This is Bar Miguel Angel, the secret tip of everyone in the barrio: breakfast joint in the morning, white table dining at lunch, after work hangout for young professionals on weekends. But those who really know stop in between 7pm and 9pm, when the mood is mellow and the tables in the alcove are still free. Following tradition every glass comes with a heaping plate of tapas to choose from. Cured ham on pisto with melted goat cheese, or the ubiquitous tortilla Espanola, the options change everyday but the flavor is consistent.

Calle de Miguel Ángel 6
Madrid

Jose Luis

An institution for over 50 years, Jose Luis has locations throughout Madrid, as well as in Sevilla and Barcelona. But the original is in the prestigious Calle Serrano in Madrid. A fashionable establishment of the 60’s, artists, writers, and professionals were drawn by the ambient and the large variety of tapas. Today’s crowd is a mix of decades of regulars, enjoying drinks at the bar or the daily menu. Try to get a seat at one of the two tables in the bar area to enjoy a casual meal among friends with all the pomp that Jose Luis has retained over the years. The counter offers a broad range of traditional tapas to choose from, be sure to savor a variety to see what makes the Madrileños come back day after day, year for year.

Best tapas Madrid

Calle de Serrano 89
Madrid
Tel +34 915 616 413‎

Lateral

The answer to many Madrileños search for modern, sleek, tapas at a good price, Lateral has several strategic locations throughout Madrid. Take a break from shopping your way down Calle Fuencarral with a medley of tapas at Lateral.  But make sure to plan in some waiting time as the young and the fashionable flock here in droves for light dishes with a blast of flavor. Try the rolls of salmon filled with cream cheese and caramelized apples, a warm salad of grilled eggplant, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, or roasted pimientos de pardon with olive oil and sea salt-an emblematic tapa throughout Spain.

Best tapas Madrid

C/ Fuencarral, 43
Madrid
Tel +34 91 531 68 77

24 Responses to “Madrid Top 10 Tapas Bars”

  1. I don’t know all of them, but José Luis is definitely something not to be missed… I tell you, I’m a Madrid native!

  2. so yummmmmyyyy,
    foster

  3. Silvia says:

    I wished I had that info when I went to Madrid, nstead of doing the tourist “thing”

  4. Marsha says:

    wish I was there again, love Lateral.

  5. Jose says:

    What about El Tigre on C/Infantas. Best student tapas in town…

  6. Martina Hemm says:

    Jose-

    Absolutely. El Tigre is great for students or anyone looking to start a fun night. Any day of the week you can meet Erasmus students from all across Europe you have made this bar their stomping ground. People pile in and file out of the bar at all hours of the night, drawn by the huge mojitos and full platters of free tapas.

  7. joan mckniff says:

    I used to live on Plaza Mayor, calle zaragoza entrance, and am a tough critic re Madrid lists. This is perfect, even jose luis, close to where I worked. great memories…and some new spots. thanks

  8. Elena says:

    I’m from Madrid and I quite agree with your selection, even if there are maaaaaany other good ones… but Mercado San Miguel is not in Plaza de Oriente as you write. It’s about 15 minutes walking from there, in a lateral to Plaza Mayor, so easy to find when walking though street Calle Mayor

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  11. Hayes says:

    can ANYONE tell me what the “brown tapas potato balls”, or whatever you want to call them, fried or whatever, at El Tigre, or any other tapas bar are called!? I gotta know. I was just in madrid and I LOVE them.

  12. [...] tips while visiting Madrid:  Best tapas in town, Viridiana restaurant, a wine tour to La Mancha, the Prado Museum, DiverXo restaurant, the [...]

  13. chagz says:

    hayes – it is croquetas

  14. charlie says:

    i used an app from a site called hg2.com (hedonists guide to…)when i was in madrid last month which had all the best local restaurants – seems to do quite a lot of cities has anyone else used them?

  15. ana says:

    I liked the suggestions orf tapas but was also perplexed – Go to restaurants for tapas? Forty years ago I lived the student life in Madrid for a year. I would go with Spanish and American friends for tapas at bars around the Plaza Mayor. We went from bar to bar enjoying the specialty of each: shrimp sauteed in ajo, champinones, squid in ink sauce, etc. All of the places were informal; We stood at the bar and peeled the shrimp and threw the shells on the floor. The bars were judged as to their popularity according to how deep the pile of napkins and peels on the floor was. Has that scene disappeared?

  16. gen says:

    Hi Ana, that scene is still very much alive in Spain and in Madrid especially at student haunts like El Tigre:)

  17. Love the pimentos de padron from Lateral, especially the occasional fiery one.

  18. Telepizza says:

    Years ago I found an amazing Tapas place in Avila(not far from Madrid)The Town is breathtaking,Very friendly peoples.

  19. Claudia Queiroz says:

    How could you forget Casa Labras?
    The best Cod Fish in the world.
    Lines out the door…

  20. maria says:

    next one come to visit us at Lempika in Madrid. You can prove our lebanese/spanish tapas. Near Plaza de España Our web: http://www.lempika.net16.net.

  21. bryan says:

    few of the critic have good review on Estado Puro. any comment? is it worth a try since I am going to Madrid in june.

  22. Hi Bryan, do go to Estado Puro and have the tortilla and the foie, patatas bravas are also tasty. It’s well worth trying for the complete variation of the tapas experience that it offers. The fit-out is also quite a trip. Juana la Loca is also a fantastic place for tapas. It’s quite smart and more up market than the more traditional places but it’s definitely one of my top picks after six months in Madrid. Also worth exploring is Calle del Doctor Castela. At #22 is La Castela with a brilliant range of seafood and other dishes, superb display, vermouth on tap and a generally great atmosphere, then at #26 you’ll find Casa Portal a traditional Asturian restaurant. I like to stop here for a cider in the front bar section, then at #30 is the smart Laredo for tapas or sit down dining. Together they make an interesting mix for a great night out on the other side of Retiro Park.

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