Spain has some of the best food in the world – ask any Spanish person, and they’ll tell you! There are, of course, national treasures such as tortilla, gazpacho, croquettes, and tapas, but Spain is also a collection of autonomous regions with dishes unique to each. There’s the paella of Valencia, the pintxos of the Basque country, and the cabrales of Asturias, to name but a few.
In Madrid – Spain`s illustrious capital – you can find restaurants catering to all these, whether you prefer a hearty meal that will fill your belly or exquisite tapas that tantalize your taste buds. Madrid restaurants showcase the best flavors from all corners of this beautiful country, so let’s delve right into the best restaurants for foodies looking to try a bit of everything Spain has to offer and find the best Spanish food in Madrid.
Note: This post is part of our “Local Experts” series, in which locals introduce their cities. The following article is written by Auston, who lives in the Spanish capital Madrid.
The best Spanish Food in Madrid – 7 great Restaurants to try Spanish Food from different Regions of Spain
The most popular activities & tours in Madrid
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Opening hours Casa Botin: 01 pm – 04 pm & 08 pm – 00 am
Getting there: Metro: Tirso de Molina (L1)
Located in the heart of Madrid’s historic district, this iconic landmark has been serving up Spanish home cooking since 1725—which makes it officially the oldest restaurant in the world – yes, the whole world! It comes highly recommended by both locals, and even celebrities throughout the ages, such as the late Ernest Hemmingway.
The entire menu of Casa Botin is, of course, exquisite – I mean, they´ve had 30 years to get it right – but their specialty is the delicious suckling pig, and lamb roasted in style typical to the Castilian region. Whether you eat under the decadent stone arches of the basement or upstairs in the vintage Spanish decor, the restaurant has a homely feel to it that is undeniable Spanish to the core.
Opening hours La Buha: 12 pm – 02 am (kitchen until 01 am)
Getting there: Metro: La Latina (L5)
Less lauded – but understatedly great – is La Buha, which translates as “the owl”. Here be the best tortillas (Spanish Omelettes) in Madrid, no exaggeration! If you thought the tortilla was a bit bland, think again.
La Buha offers tortillas with the best fillings imaginable, such as the scrumptious goat’s cheese with caramelized onion, or ham and cheese options. They are huge and best shared in a group, or two very hungry individuals.
La Buha has four restaurants: two in La Latina and two in Chueca. The two in Chueca – the gay district of Madrid – are themed to represent gay men and gay women, respectively, with walls displaying prominent gay icons – a nod to diversity that compliments La Buha´s modern take on Spanish culture.
Casa De Valencia
Opening hours Casa de Valencia: 01 – 11.30 pm
Getting there: Metro: Argüelles (L3, L4, L6)
To the east of Spain sits the coastal region of Valencia. Foodwise, its main claim is to have the best of the well-known Spanish dish, paella. Casa de Valencia is like an extension of Valencia found in Argüelles, Madrid, but a stone’s throw from Parque Oeste – its high terrace looking down on the park’s lush green valley.
Of course, the seafood paella is some of the best in Madrid, but even if seafood isn’t your thing and you still want a piece of the action, then try the ‘Paella Valenciana’ – which is made from meat instead of fish and is not less delicious. If you don’t like shells: try the ‘blind paella’. Truly there´s a paella for everyone in this established Valenciano restaurant.
Opening hours Orio: 12 pm – 00 am
Getting there: Metro: Cuenca (L5)
The Basque country in the north of Spain has a reputation for having the best food in Spain. Orio is a Basque tavern located in the vibrant Madrid area of Malasana, offering the Basque country’s own claim to fame: pintxos – essentially small slices of bread with anything you can possibly imagine on top.
Orio has the best selection in Madrid, proudly displayed on the bar. You’ll find the best cheese and meat perilously piled on top, and even chocolate to choose between. Besides the pintxos, Orio also has a varied menu that draws inspiration from the fishing villages of the North, and you’ll soon see where the Basque reputation comes from.
Opening hours Ñeru: Tues – Sun: 10 am – 11 pm
Getting there: Metro: Sol (L1, L2, L3) or Opera (L2, L5)
Asturias is another region of Spain in the North whose personality is no more evident than in its food. El Ñeru is the best restaurant in Madrid to try Cachopo (two large veal filets wrapped in batter and filled with cheese and ham) or Patatas Cabrales (strong Asturian cheese on chips) or Fabada (a warming rich bean and sausage stew).
All the better to soak up the region’s other pride and joy, its pungent cider. The whole restaurant is an ode to Asturias with its bustling bar atmosphere, traditional living room layout, and walls crammed with pictures dedicated to the region and the people from it.
Opening hours La Giralda: Mon – Thur: 01 – 04 pm & 08 – 11.45 pm; Sat: 01 – 11.45 pm; Sun: 01 – 04 pm
Getting there: Metro: Retiro (L2)
Going from the North to the South, Andalusia is the biggest autonomous region of Spain, with its own wealth of delectable dishes. La Giralda – named after the famous tower in Seville – combines the pulse of a capital city with the classic charm, culture, and culinary excellence of Andalucía, Despite being found in Salamanca – an expensive zone of Madrid to the north of Park Retiro – La Giralda is very affordable.
The restaurant is very typically Andaluz, with cozy lounges filled with bullfighting pictures, murals, and plates representing the region. Outside is a sun-catching terrace, and inside, is a bar with appetizers to enjoy pre-meal.
The Andalusian delicacies served here include tapas of grilled octopus, Iberian sausage, and their specialty, “Chipirones” – baby squid battered and deep-fried. Not to mention, the croquettes are to die for.
Opening hours Raimunda: 01.30 pm – 01 am
Getting there: Metro: Banco de España (L2)
Raimunda is a work of art. It houses the most beautiful outdoor terrace in all of Madrid – a veritable garden of lush vegetation, where yawning trees create a canopy before the cascade fountain and arched stairway leading up to the Palacio de Linares building itself.
The interior is no slouch either, with greenery hanging down from the ceiling and beautiful Latin American artwork proudly displayed on its walls.
The food is Ibero-American cuisine, which you might argue is not “Spanish food,” but the menu is derived from countries in the Americas that were former colonies of Spain – so I think we can safely count it. As such, the menu blends Latin American with traditional Spanish food.
Highlights include everything from quesadillas and guacamole to croquettes chuleton, calamares (squid rings), Indian-style hamburgers, and solomillo de ternera (beef tenderloin). This oasis in the center of Madrid is the place to seek out for a dining experience like no other. A great way to round off a stomach-satisfying tour of Madrid.
About the Author
Auston runs the blog Two Bad Tourists and is also a freelance writer. His work has been featured in many publications, including Attitude Magazine, Edge Media Network, The Houston Chronicle, and ManAboutWorld Magazine.