From restaurants offering Michelin-starred tasting menus to bustling tapas bars with standing room only, Madrid has a wealth of excellent places to eat. These exceptional restaurants aren’t afraid to experiment with regional and national specialities, or showcase flavours from further afield.
Classic Madrid fare includes dishes such as cocido madrileño, a supremely comforting pork stew made with chickpeas that is particularly popular during the colder months. The more gastronomically adventurous might like to sample callos a la madrileña, another of the city’s winter warmers, which is a stew of beef tripe, chorizo and blood sausage typically served in clay dishes.
Lighter offerings include Madrid’s signature dish of bocadillo de calamares – a fried calamari sandwich – and, of course, Spanish omelette, a classic dish available in a wide range of different varieties. Alongside its restaurants, the city is well known for its lively nightlife as well as its churros, a favourite local sweet treat consisting of crispy sticks of deep-fried dough served with a molten chocolate dipping sauce – a delicious way to renew flagging late-night energy levels.
Named after the charming French town of Fontainebleau, where owner Maria Veldez previously lived, Fonty draws its interior inspiration from a wide variety of sources including Parisian bistros, cosy London pubs, hip Brooklyn hangouts and understated Scandinavian eateries. Fonty Bistro, the brand’s second venue, features a menu that’s as globally inspired as its interior aesthetic, celebrating traditional Spanish fare while also incorporating Latin American and Asian flavours. Along with its delicious range of pastries and much-loved weekend brunch menu, the new bistro’s all-day menu is a great choice for lunch or dinner. Dishes includes delicious hamburgers, cooked to your liking, home-made lasagne, meat empanadas and aubergines stuffed with ricotta and Parmesan.
Fonty Bistro, Calle de Juan Bravo 41, 28006 Barcelona, +34 91 138 8646
La Contraseña in the Chamberí neighbourhood is a bar, restaurant and private dining space. The restaurant is decorated in colonial style with a contemporary twist and features eye-catching tiles and wicker chandeliers. Cocktails are a key attraction and the menu offers a tasty selection of meat, fish and pasta dishes as well as sharing plates. Starters include succulent Iberian ham or grilled octopus with confit potato and pimento pepper cream. Follow this with a main course of duck and mushroom ravioli served with a truffle cream sauce, or pork ribs cooked in beer, or lamb tacos. Round off your meal with apple empanadas and vanilla ice cream, or a slice of La Contraseña’s cheesecake, chocolate tart or lemon pie.
La Contraseña, Calle de Ponzano 6, 28010 Madrid, +34 91 172 6378
Ana La Santa
A design that’s intended to evoke the warmth of familiar surroundings such as customers’ own living rooms means it’s easy to feel instantly at home at Ana La Santa. Before they dine, guests can relax in the inviting living room-style bar which, like the restaurant, is part of the Me Madrid Reina Victoria hotel. The main dining room is decorated with artwork by Spanish photographer Luis Baylon who beautifully captures the culture and everyday life of Madrid. The menu centres around tapas, from traditional Spanish small plates such as ham and cheese croquettes or clam and white bean stew to dishes that take inspiration from further afield, such as tuna sashimi and avocado with chipotle mayonnaise. Make sure you leave room for Ana La Santa’s main gourmet attraction, a traditional paella that’s perfectly executed by chef Jorge Arnoldson.
Ana La Santa, ME Madrid Reina Victoria, Plaza de Santa Ana 14, 28012 Madrid, +34 91 701 6013
Run by husband and wife Santiago Pedraza and Carmen Carro, Taberna Pedraza is both a bar and kitchen. The duo are renowned for their meticulous approach to every product and ingredient that comes through Taberna Pedraza’s doors, looking beyond the item’s seasonality and taste to examine its origin, crafting process and even distribution. Carro presides over the cooking, turning out impeccable variations on classic Spanish dishes, and visited Betanzos in Galicia to learn how to make the perfect potato omelette. Malaga-style fried hake and quesada (cheesecake) made according to the recipe from Marcos Pelayo’s bakery in Cantabria are examples of other faultless plates. Carro’s individual flair can be seen in innovative offerings such as a fried egg served with La Mancha ratatouille, or grilled squab with glazed shallots, or quail royale served with a traditional marinade.
Taberna Pedraza, Calle de Ibiza 38, 28009 Madrid, +34 91 032 7200