In a nation where going to the food market is as much glamorous pastime for the social elite as it is a practical and integral element of Spanish quotidian life, it seems that there really is a lot to learn from the Spanish and their rapport with all things culinary. Turning the spotlight onto Madrid, a city that often slips into the shadows of its gastronome-par-excellence sister, Barcelona, it soon becomes clear that the capital’s gourmet scene is most definitely glowing, not least with an ever brighter Michelin-starry light. With a penchant for cocina creativa, a twist of artistic modernity (think tuna in tamarind “tiger’s milk” & eel sauce and veal carpaccio niguiris with truffle oil) infused into Spain’s iconic traditional cuisine (think ox-tail stew and classic onion tortilla), dining in Madrid is becoming something quite spectacular. Paying homage to this, we have come up with a shortlist of unmissable Madrid restaurants varied in culinary style, price, atmosphere and neighbourhood, and have thrown in a few markets, rooftop bars and extra dining spots to check out for good measure. Whether you’re looking for haute-cuisine or the finest of Iberian traditionalism, Madrid awaits.
Juana La Loca
Many a Madrid native will label Juana La Loca (named after the infamous 15th century Spanish monarch, “Joanna the Mad”) their favourite Madrid restaurant, featuring a menu of exquisite, high-end pintxos (small plates) in a sophisticated but relaxed and sociable setting. The atmosphere is wonderfully lively, the space consistently filled with locals delighting in good Spanish food. Located in the La Latina district, which is particularly known to come alive at night. Make sure to book in advance; jam-packed at weekends.
Plaza de Puerta de Moros 4, 28005 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 640 525
A trendy, intimate restaurant serving modern Spanish cuisine in the lively Huertas neighborhood. Dishes are beautifully presented and flavours carefully chosen. Only a few minutes walk from the “Museum Triangle”, this is a perfect place to stop for lunch or evening tapas after a visit to the Reina Sofía, the Thyssen or the Prado museums. Closed on Sundays.
Calle Santa María 28, 28014 Madrid
Tel: +34 910 244 798
Cien Llaves (by Le Cabrera):
This is a good option for outdoor dining. It is located in the stunning Casa de America (Palacio de Linares) and has an enchanting garden terrace. Very fad, perfect for evening cocktails, and the food is good.
Paseo de Recoletos 2, 28001 Madrid
Tel: +34 915 775 955
A&G Madrid (Astrid & Gastón)
Award-winning chef Gastón Acurio, whose restaurant Astrid y Gastón in Lima ranked eighteenth in this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, has expanded his empire to new continents in opening this high-end fusion restaurant in the heart of Madrid’s up market Salamanca district.
Calle de Ayala 27, 28001 Madrid
Tel: +34 917 026 262
For the first time since 1995, Spain’s capital can boast a 3 Michelin star restaurant thanks to award-winning Spanish chef, David Muñoz, and his haute-cuisine fusion restaurant, DiverXo. Discover highly artistic, innovative dishes that “push the limits of fusion cuisine” by a chef that prides himself on turning each plate into a work of art.
Calle Pensamiento 28, 28020 Madrid
Tel: +34 915 700 766
Landó and Casa Lucio
These two traditional culinary landmarks, both run by Lucio Blázquez, are the place to go for a truly classic Spanish dining experience, and have both become somewhat of an institution in Madrid’s traditional culinary scene. Expect authentic dishes in an informal setting. The huevos rotos are not to be missed.
Landó: Plaza Gabriel Miró 8, 28005 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 66 76 81
Casa Lucio: Cava Baja 35, 28005 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 65 32 52
One of the trendiest places to eat in Madrid, Dray Martina is an exciting place to stop for a delicious bite, where a warm, energetic ambience, impeccable décor, and exceptional food await. This is a very good choice for either lunch or dinner, although evenings (especially at the weekend) are almost impossible without a booking.
Calle Argensola, 7, 28004 Madrid
Tel: +34 910 810 056
On a wide, leafy and surprisingly quiet street in Chueca, one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods, Café Oliver is an old-time Madrid favourite. Dinner and lunch menus are on the border between traditional and new-wave Spanish cuisine with an added infusion of Middle-eastern flavours, whilst the popular brunch menu (booking necessary) is quintessentially continental (N.B. it’s worth noting that the “brunch” concept remains relatively unfamiliar territory in continental Europe, so while Café Oliver is the favourite brunch spot of many madrileños, it doesn’t quite compare to your average London or NYC ensemble). In summer months, request a table by a window (the charming staff will happily open them for you) to absorb the buzz of the surrounding neighbourhood. The starter of burrata drizzled in truffle oil with aubergine is spectacular.
Calle Almirante 12, 28004 Madrid
Tel: +34 915 217 379
Food markets in Madrid also serve as very popular dining spots for tourists and locals alike. The Mercado de San Antón and Mercado de San Miguel, dating back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century respectively, have both been recently renovated and are particularly popular culinary destinations. Extend your visit at the Mercado de San Antón by heading to the roof terrace for a unique lunch or dinner at La Cocina de San Antón, where you can bring fresh produce chosen downstairs in the market to be cooked however you like (and try their renowned the typically Spanish salmorejo!). The Mercado de Antón Martín is a local favourite, and maintains a more rustic, traditional market feel. Its top floor houses the Amor de Dios flamenco school, the oldest in Madrid, and the building’s exterior is fittingly adorned with an iconic flamenco dancer mural. All three markets are the place to go for meat, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, as well as light tapas dinners and drinks with friends.
Mercado de San Antón
Calle de Augusto Figueroa 24, 28004 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 300 730
Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza de San Miguel, 28005 Madrid
Tel: +34 915 424 936
Mercado de Antón Martín
Calle Santa Isabel 5, 28012 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 690 620
Penthouse at ME Madrid Reina Victoria
The Penthouse, perched atop one of Madrid’s trendiest hotels, looks out over the elegant and atmospheric Plaza de Santa Ana: a breathing space amidst the buzz of the historic Las Letras district. This rooftop cocktail-spot, recognisable from a distance by the iconic black-and-white cupola swathed in a violet glow, is a favourite among Madrid’s ultra-glamourous high-flyers.
Plaza de Santa Ana 14, 28012 Madrid
Tel: +34 917 016 000
Azotea: Círculo de Bellas Artes
When the sun is setting over Madrid, this is where you want to be to witness one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the city. The azotea (rooftop) of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, an architectural and cultural landmark in the heart of the capital, is a stunning open space with a beautifully set up rooftop bar and seating area.
Calle de Alcalá 42, 28014 Madrid
Tel: +34 913 892 500
Extra dining recommendations
Modern Spanish cuisine
Calle Verónica 4, 28014 Madrid
+34 656 323 796
Ten con Ten
Calle de Ayala 6, 28001 Madrid
+34 915 759 254
Calle Fernando el Santo 26, 28046 Madrid
+34 917 023 870
Calle de Jorge Juan 10, 28001 Madrid
+34 915 763 359
Two Michelin Stars
Sergi Arola Gastro
Calle Zurbano 31, 28010 Madrid
+34 310 21 69
El Club Allard
Calle Ferraz 2, 28008 Madrid
+34 915 590 939
Ramon Freixa Madrid
Calle Claudio Coello 67, 28001 Madrid
+34 917 818 262
Travesía de San Mateo 4, 28004
Madrid +34 913 104 020
Kabuki (1 Michelin star)
Avenida del Presidente Carmona 2, 28020 Madrid
+34 914 17 64 15