Food in Madrid
When people think of food in Madrid, they think of jamón, tapas, and wine. At least, that’s what we thought of initially. While that might pigeonhole a destination, there’s nothing with pointing out the bright spots of a city!
Like any major city, there were places to grab a quick bite and also places where you could sit down and have a masterfully crafted meal. Joann and I usually like to experience a bit of both whenever we go anywhere.
Museo del Jamón
As I said before in a previous post, this was THE first thing we ate in Madrid. It was on our way from the subway stop to the Westin Palace. If you visit Madrid, you must visit one of their handful of locations.
It’s a great place to stand at the bar, have a 1 Euro beer (that come with free mini sandwiches) and eat some Spanish ham. Is it the best quality stuff? Of course not, but for the price, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pop in every time you pass one.
Bodega de la Ardosa
This was on the radar when I was doing some research. When Anthony Bourdain paid the authentic and very old venue a visit on No Reservations, that helped push it to the top of the list.
It’s a very small bar that is all standing room only. To get to the back section, you have to duck under the bar, right past the bartenders. Weird, and I never would have known that if I didn’t read some reviews.
This was another great stop for some small bites and more vino. The service is quick and you should brush up on your Spanish a little bit.
Chocolatería San Ginés
Another Madrileño institution, Chocolatería San Ginés started serving this beautiful snack in 1894. It’s so simple but also delicious.
The churros are the perfect texture, especially when you get them right out of the fryer. The hot chocolate is so rich and decadent, definitely unlike any hot chocolate you’d get in the US. Its viscosity is almost that of melted chocolate bars, perfect for dipping hot churros.
Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is another tourist spot of Madrid. It was definitely worth a visit.
It is set up as a large market with many vendors throughout. If you can’t find something great to eat in here, you must be doing it wrong. We started off with some paella, which was delicious. The toasty socarrat was definitely my favorite part; the rice, most importantly, was cooked perfectly.
The market isn’t cheap by any means. The picture above was about 5 Euros; I guess that’s not terrible considering that wine came with it as well.
The bites above were pretty awesome as they were only 1 Euro apiece. Plenty of flavor for a 2-bite snack.
My favorite part of the Mercado de San Miguel was definitely the jamón ibèrico. It was amazingly, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It was definitely leaps and bounds ahead of Museo del Jamón in terms of quality.
The restaurant so nice we went there twice! Yes, this has actually never happened before. We’ve never gone back to a pricey restaurant on such a short trip, but Joann and I felt that the creativity and quality of food warranted a return visit.
A classically trained French chef, fluent in French, Spanish, and English was very passionate about the food that night (and I’m sure every night). Chef Ben was eager to explain each dish to us and you could feel the sense of pride beaming from him as he served us each course.
We dined at the bar, which was right in front of the kitchen, and I’m glad we did. We were able to see each part of the meal come together and the care with which each part of the dish was created. It was a really great culinary experience!