There are seemingly countless numbers of amazing tapas bars in Madrid Spain, it can be hard to figure out which ones to visit when you’re coming to the city for the first time.
If you are planning a weekend getaway to Madrid, be sure to check out my weekend itinerary here so that you don’t miss out on all of the best things to see and do while you’re there!
There are a few locations around the city that are famous for their tapas bars, so I will group those with one another in this article for you.
I also link to the Google location for each of the bars. I find that pinning all of the places I want to see (and where I wine to drink and dine!) is one of the best ways to plan my travels.
If I am out exploring the Gran Via and I get hungry, all I have to do is open up Google Maps and see what bars and restaurants in the area I have saved and then I can have some seriously good food instead of wandering around the area until I find a place that looks like it might be good.
What to Know About Tapas Bars in Madrid
Before you plan your tapas bar crawl, be aware that the siesta is a real thing. Tapas bars in Madrid tend to open between noon and 1 pm and then almost all of them close at 4 or 4:30 pm. Then they reopen again around 7:30 or 8 pm.
Most bars will give you at least a small snack when you order a drink. The first snack is usually small, a bowl of olives or a plate with some chips (crisps if you’re British).
The more you drink, the bigger the tapas tend to become. With your second drink, you might get a piece of bread with some ham and a slice of cheese on top. Really good tapas bars will start bringing you slices of tortilla, plates of patatas bravas, and whatever else the kitchen is cooking up for the patrons that night.
Tapas are dishes that you do not pay extra for. However, most bars have menus and you can order more food besides just the free snacks that come with your meal.
The dishes that you pay for are called raciones. Most bars allow you to order either entire raciones or media raciones which is a half order. This is a great way to keep costs down and sample a few more dishes while you enjoy your drinks.
It’s also worth noting that many bars have two different sections. If you plan to stand near the bar and order directly from the bartender, your drinks will cost slightly less than if you sit down and a waiter serves you at your table. This isn’t everywhere, but something worth paying attention to if you’re on a budget.
Tapas Bar Tours in Madrid
If you want to have a guide who can speak Spanish and take you to all of the best tapas bars in Madrid in a single night, then taking a tapas tour is a great option.
The guides will know the best things to order at each Madrid tapas bar and they’ll be able to explain some of the history of each of the bars as well. These are our top picks for Madrid tapas bar tours.
- History and Tapas Tour: This tour is one of the most interesting on the list (in my humble opinion). The tour guide will take you around to a minimum of four different tapas spots including markets, bars, and restaurants to mix things up. During the tour you will learn about the locations and the food and you will also learn about why the Spanish eat tapas in the first place and where each of the dishes originates. Book that tour here.
- Original Tapas Crawl: This tour will take you to local neighborhoods away from the center of the city and show you where the locals eat tapas. It will help you discover some of the best tapas bars in Madrid including some of the oldest. You will sample between 12 and 15 different tapas which is fantastic value for money and a fun way to spend the afternoon. Book that tour here.
- Old Madrid Food and Wind Tour: Combine the best tapas in Madrid with some of the best wine bars in Madrid and you have this incredibly fun and delicious tour. It’s part historical walking tour, part food and wine tour, so you are getting a lot of bang for your buck. The tour includes food and drink at each stop and will take you around some of the city’s most important plazas and neighborhoods. Book that tour here.
Best Tapas Bars in Madrid Spain
Let’s start with the area that is perhaps the most famous for Tapas bars in downtown Madrid, La Latina. This neighborhood is home to Calle Cava Baja, the street that is packed with over 50 tapas bars. But beware, not all are worth your time and Euros.
1. Taberna La Concha
Start as you mean to go on, they say. Well, this is the place to start and finish and stay in between when looking for great tapas and delicious drinks.
La Concha is most famous for its vermút. I’ll be mentioning vermút a lot in this article and that’s because it is the tapas drink of choice in many spots around Madrid. This is not the dry drink added to your martinis, this is aged white wine that has been carefully cared for and spiced to perfection.
Vermút in Madrid is sweet and bitter, tart and served over ice. It is the perfect way to get the palate going for your snacks and then later, for your meal. It pairs well with the salty tapas that are sure to follow each order.
At La Concha, they make their own and serve it up in style, at your table in a martini glass with citrus juice and a slice of orange peel. You won’t have a better one than this.
The food here is also exceptional. Their specialty is the tosta, the Spanish version of bruschetta. A piece of bread or two topped with all manner of delicious things. The bacalao, or salted cod, is something I dream about to this day.
La Concha is one of the few places that does not close for siesta. So if you want to keep drinking along Calle Cava Baja after 4 pm, this is the place to head.
2. Diaz y Larrouy
Directly across from La Concha is Diaz y Larrouy. If you want to sample a nice selection of wines from around Spain, make your way here.
One of the reasons I loved this bar so much was that it didn’t feel like the sort of place that makes wine feel out of reach for those of us that perhaps don’t know very much about wine or how to choose a good one.
The staff here are excellent, very helpful, and the interior of the bar feels like a great little hole-in-the-wall tapas bar that you want to spend your afternoon in. They also have beer if you don’t like wine and just want to check it out.
Again, the main tapas here are the tostas and they are exceptional, especially the tosta de cerdo which is thinly sliced roasted pork. They top theirs with garlic mayonnaise and roasted red pepper sauce.
3. La Perejila
The drinks and vibes are awesome here on a sunny Saturday afternoon. But the main reason people flock to La Perejila is for their tapas which are some of the best on the block.
If you’re looking for a tapas bar that serves up all of the classics, this is the place to come on Cava Baja. They have raciones of octopus, Iberico ham, meatballs in creamy paprika sauce, pimientos de padron, chorizo cooked in cider, bacalao, and so much more.
The food is really the reason to come here, but they also have a fantastic vermút, a nice wine selection, and plenty of beers as well.
4. Los Huevos de Lucio
Los Huevos de Lucio is the place to come for what can only be described as Madrid’s most famous drunk food.
The dish to have at Los Huevos de Lucio is huevos rotos or broken eggs. This dish consists of a plate of French fries topped with perfectly running fried eggs. You can then choose different meats to have on top. They have everything from chorizo to Iberico ham.
They serve ice-cold beer from the tap alongside your fries. They do have a few other dishes on the menu, but I would recommend going elsewhere if you don’t want the huevos rotos. They do that dish very well, but the locals don’t seem to order other options, which says all I need to know.
5. Taberna Tempranillo
This is one of the more upscale options on the street both in terms of price and style. The interior of the bar is lined almost wall-to-wall with wine bottles. They have an exceptional wine selection and if you come on a Friday or Saturday there’s not a free table in sight (you can stand if you’d like!).
The food here is presented beautifully and tastes as good as it looks. They have a nice seafood selection as well as a seriously good roasted meat menu. I thoroughly recommend the roasted quail, but they also have duck, foie gras, sweetbreads, and lots of different types of cured meats to choose from.
6. Casa Revuelta
While not physically located on Calle Cava Baja, this Madrid tapas bar is very close and worth visiting if you are doing a bit of a tapas bar crawl in this area.
There’s one main food to have at this spot (are you noticing a trend of places being famous for one particular thing each? haha). The reason to come to Casa Revuelta is for the fried bacalao.
This is the sort of place you pop into for a beer and a snack and then move on. Most people don’t linger here too long because there’s not much else to order.
However, the fried bacalao or salted cod, is truly worth your time. If you like fish and chips, you’ll have your mind blown at this spot and you can wash it all down with a cold beer. In the summertime, they have tables outside in the sunshine.
Another place worth exploring that is absolutely packed with tapas bars is the neighborhood known as Barrio de las Letras or the Literary Quarter. This neighborhood is where Cervantes used to live and where Hemingway used to drink. It’s home to some of my absolute favorite Tapas bars in Madrid and should not be missed.
7. Taberna Malaspina
If you were twisting my arm to tell you which on this list is my absolute favorite, I would probably have to say Malaspina. I had the most fun at this bar. I ate the best range of tapas at this bar. I loved how lively it was for a Thursday night and I could have easily spent the whole night here.
We ordered a beer and were each given a piece of crusty yet fluffy bread topped with ham and a thick slice of manchego cheese. Then came a slice of tortilla. Then there was the huge tray of patatas bravas with a spicy yet creamy paprika-rich sauce. There was the piece of bread topped with chorizo and cheese, too.
All of this for the price of a few beers. We had to leave before we got too full for dinner. The bartender was fantastic and the man running around seating people and taking orders was the hardest working person I’ve seen in a bar maybe ever!
8. Casa Toni
If you love blood sausage, sweetbreads (lamb pancreas is its less glamorous name), chorizo, or just deliciously grilled meat, this place will not disappoint.
It’s all about the offal here, but they also do simple dishes really well like their salty pimientos de padron or their perfectly crisp patatas bravas.
I loved this place because it was insanely busy and the chef was right there at the front of the restaurant cooking up a storm at his grill. The beer was nice and cold and the staff were very friendly.
9. La Venencia
This place is on almost every list of the best tapas bars in Madrid. It’s famous for what it doesn’t do and what you’re not allowed to do.
This is a tiny little bar that only serves sherry. They offer a few different varieties of sherry, but they only serve sherry. You order at the bar and they tally up how many sherries you’ve had on the chalkboard that sits behind the bar.
They have some olives and some nuts which they serve you with your sherry order. You are absolutely not allowed to take a single photo of anything, not even of yourself, inside this bar. You are also under no circumstances, allowed to leave a tip.
It’s quirky and fun and quite beautiful inside, but if you don’t like sherry, well, bring someone who does or skip it.
10. Taberna Maceira
I stumbled upon this tapas bar in Madrid one evening when I was wandering around the Barrio de las Letras neighborhood. It was so busy that people were waiting outside for a table.
We decided to head elsewhere for a drink and then come back to it later when perhaps it wouldn’t be so busy.
About two hours later, I came back and there were still people waiting outside for a table. It must be good, we thought, so we joined the line and in less than 15 minutes we were at a table ordering some wine and raciones.
Taberan Maceira is a Galecian style place. Galicia is an autonomous region of Spain located in the northeast of the country. It’s all about rice dishes and seafood here alongside some more classic Madrid tapas dishes like pimientos de padron (the best ones I ate in Madrid were here).
If you are looking for a place to have more than just a few light snacks, this is a seriously great option. The octopus stew is a dish I will return to Madrid to have, the sort of dish you plan your trip around.
11. Los Gatos
This is a fantastically busy little tapas bar in Madrid that I found to be a perfect “after-work” spot. People pop in still dressed from the office and huddle around one of the barrels near the bar and order a vermút to have alongside a bowl of salty, oil-covered bright-green olives.
They have a nice selection of tostas here to have with your beer or vermút. Don’t forget to look around the bar at all of the fascinating memorabilia from decades gone by.
12. La Dolores
This is one of those bars that I mentioned above that charges different drink prices depending on whether you prop at the bar or grab a table at the back (or outside along the sidewalk).
That shouldn’t put you off though, because the atmosphere at this bar is fantastic. Much like Los Gatos, it’s a popular spot for friends or couples to gather after work and catch up before heading for dinner somewhere.
Beers are very affordable here compared to other places with a doble or a beer of about 400ml costing about €3.50. You won’t find it much cheaper than that in the center of Madrid.
The rest of the tapas bars on this list are scattered around the city, but are well worth heading to for great drinks and even better food.
13. Casa Camacho
Casa Camacho is a really traditional tapas bar in Madrid located in the Malasaña neighborhood of the city.
The thing to order here is the yayo or the grandpa. It’s a vermút cocktail that also has a little bit of gin and soda in it. Pair it with the equally traditional boquerones or cured anchovies.
It may sound intense if you haven’t tried anchovies before, but with a piece of bread and some oil along with this bitter cocktail, it works so well.
14. Bodega de la Ardosa
Bodega de la Ardosa is one of the oldest tapas bars in Madrid and is well worth visiting. It was the first tapas bar in Madrid that I visited on my most recent trip and I returned to it again at the end of the trip for good measure.
They have pilsner on tap which they pour in a very…particular way. Be sure to watch it, I’ve never seen anything like it.
In addition to the peculiar way in which they pour a beer, they also have a huge selection of tapas and raciones to sample. The bar is usually packed with people and has two huge rooms; one at the front of the bar and the other behind the bar.
To get to the back area of the bar, you have to climb under the bar (it’s also where the bathrooms are).
15. Bodegas Rosell
This 1920s tapas bar is located near the Atocha Train Station and makes the perfect pre-train meal or is simply a great place to head if you are in this area of the city.
It has actually been a tavern since the 1870s and is one of the few tapas bars in Madrid that still serves vermút on tap straight from the barrel.
In addition to its vermút, Bodegas Rosell is also famous for their croquetas. You’ll see these on menus across Madrid, but these are some of the best. Croquetas are basically a fried ball of cheese sauce that also usually has some meat inside. At Bodegas Rosell, they have the most indulgent croquetas de jamon and they also have them stuffed with bacalao.
But I recommend trying the bacalao Rosell style. It’s on the menu as a main plate and can be shared amongst the table like most dishes in Madrid. They serve it up with a basket of fresh bread and a few free tapas like chips and mussels.
16. Mercado de San Miguel
No list of the best tapas bars in Madrid is complete without mentioning Mercado de San Miguel.
I put this towards the bottom of the list not because the tapas and drinks aren’t good here, but because I think the bars themselves are half the fun. This mercado is a very upscale hall with beautiful bars and stalls packed with different meats and cheeses.
If you are coming to Madrid for a short period of time or you are with a large group, this market is a great option because you can grab a table and then everyone can just go around and choose different things. It is definitely more expensive than a traditional tapas bar, but it is a fine almost fine-dining experience.
17. La Catapa
This is a sort of tapas bar/restaurant. You should without a doubt come here on an empty stomach. It’s a little bit to the east of the city center, but can easily be added to a day out after exploring El Retiro Park.
They have a beautiful outdoor seating area, a huge wine selection, and some of the best plates of food I’ve eaten across the entire continent.
There is roasted bone marrow, whole fried fish, clams, potatoes cooked in wine, freshly grilled shrimp, and snails covered in butter, all alongside classic tapas dishes like croquetas, potato tortilla (with bacalao!), and Iberico ham.
It’s certainly not the cheapest place on the list, with prices for raciones hovering around €15 per plate. But you can order half portions of most of the dishes and if you are traveling with a few people, this is the perfect place to meet for a few drinks and some delicious plates to share with the table.
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