One of the biggest aspects of Spanish culture is Spaniards’ passion for food. You will probably notice that Madrilenos do not snack. They eat three big meals a day -Breakfast is non-existent by American standards, a pastry and a coffee. You will notice that the coffee shops fill up at around 11am as Spaniards take their 2nd breakfast which consists of another coffee and a ‘pincho’ of tortilla. Lunch starts around 2pm and dinner around 9pm. Food is a popular pastime and you can find anything in the streets of Madrid.
Tapas are snacks. Often you will get a tapa with your drink. But you can also do tapas as a meal. The idea is to order a variety of them. Think of them as mini meals as they vary from a plate of cheese and or jamonto red peppers stuffed with ground meat, a typical tapa in Spain. Be adventurous and if you need to know what something is simply say ‘¿quelleva?’Tapas are affordable and a social staple in the Spanish culture.
Jamóny quesois very popular in Madrid. They even have ham flavored chips.
The red wines (riojas) in Madrid are unbelievably good, typically even the house wines.
Chocolate con churros is the most intense dessert experience: Go to San Gines: Pasadiso San Ginés, near Puerta del Sol, off Calle Arenal.
Of course, Spain is famous for its paella! The best paella can be found on the coastal regions of Spain, but Madrid has its fair share of paella spots too.
The coffee (cafécon leche) in Madrid will spoil you for life.
Try the“menúdel día,”a fixed choice, three-course meal. Beverages and bread are included in the price, usually under 10 euros.
Always ask if they have a menúdel día (they most likely do). It will save you money and you will get to taste more Spanish foods!
When ordering, do not be afraid of flagging down your waiter –persistence is key. Tipping is not customary, but a little is appreciated (5%, no more).
Cafeteria Segre (down the street from NYU)
•Great sandwiches and bocadillos.
Casa Mingo (Paseode la Florida, 34 métroPríncipe Pío8-9 c/ Asturian)
•Get the sidra. Cien Montaditoschain
•Sandwiches and beer.
Fresc Co (métro Alonso Martinez, c/ de Sagasta)
•All-you-can-eat salad bar and pasta chain.
Isla del Tesura (c/ Manuela Malasana, métroBilbao)
Café de Oriente (Plazede Oriente2, Opera Metro)
•Good traditional Spanish.
•Cool location and décor.
La Panza (c/ de la Libertad 33)
•A fun Mexican place with awesome nachos and margaritas. You can also swing at the bar!P-6 (across from Bernabéu)
•Adorable old nun runs this place.
•Great place for lunch!
VIPS, The Wok, TGI Fridays, Ginos, TioPepe
•These restaurants are owned by GrupoVIPS and are similar to chain restaurants you would find in the states. Happy hour at TGI Fridays is every day –check out the Fridays beside Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, near NYU Madrid.
Wagaboo (métro Cheuca, c/ Gravina, 18)
•Fun place to eat.
•Creative fusion dishes.
Chilango (C/ Manuela Malasaña12)
•Best Margaritas and Nachos around.
•Really good Mexican food.
•DonerKebap’sare falafel places located all over Europe.
•Usually open until 2AM, good for late night cravings.
Caprabo (near campus, all the way down CalleSegre/Callede la Cinca)
Champion (located all over Madrid)
•Best supermarket in Madrid.
Día (located all over Madrid)
•Cheap, but often a bit suspect.
•The produce was sometimes icky.
El Corte Inglés (metro Sol and metro Santiago Benabeau)
•Go early, as there are huge lines around 5:00 pm.
Taste of America (C/ Serrano 149)
•American food store.