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
Calle Bárbara de Braganza 2
Tel +34 913 199 457
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 smooth garlic aioli are what Le Cabrera calls patatas bravas; a worthy addition to any gourmand’s dictionary.
Cava Alta 17
Tel +34 913 658 237
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 kinds of cheese.
Tel +34 915 216 346
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.
Calle Cava Baja 30
Tel +34 913 650 804
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.
Calle Cava Baja 25
Tel +34 913 642 855
The tiny entrance to La Perejila is easy to miss despite its green color, but sneak a peek 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.
Mercado San Miguel
Plaza de San Miguel, s/n
Tel +34 915 415 104
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.
Bar Miguel Angel
Calle de Miguel Ángel 6
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 7 pm and 9 pm 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 every day but the flavor is consistent.
Calle de Serrano 89
Tel +34 915 616 413
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 ’60s, 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.
C/ Fuencarral, 43
Tel +34 91 531 68 77
The answer to many Madrileños searches 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.