Foodie Alert: Best Bang for Your Buck in Madrid

Foodie Alert: Best Bang for Your Buck in Madrid

Contributed By: Angie Grossman/ Updated 03.11.2017 By: Anna Whetzle

Spain is famous for small beers (cañas/cañitas) that come with little plates (tapas) of finger foods to keep you constantly eating and drinking for super CHEAP! There are Spanish style bars all over the city but the true gems are the specific ones to know about for the biggest and best ‘free’ tapas. Spanish people love to spend a sunny afternoon drinking on the terrace while soaking up the warm sunshine, so why not do as the locals and join in? 

The older traditional bars are the perfect way to float around the city, jumping from bar to bar with cañas/tapas as dinner. Another good rule of thumb is the smaller, older and dirty the bar looks…the better it is, especially the tapas. There are also places with fantastic ‘menu del día’ which normally consists of three places (or courses) including a drink and bread for €8-15. Plenty of delicious restaurants where you can order larger places (raciones) or a proper sit down meal, it truly depends on the mood you’re in. Here are a few of favorites that include a large variety of different types of food! 

Entre Cáceres y Badajoz restaurant in neighborhood Salamanca

Entre Cáceres y Badajoz restaurant in neighborhood Salamanca

Entre Cáceres y Badajoz: Calle de Don Ramón de la Cruz, 109

-Hands down best tapas place in Madrid! 

-Small, crowded with traditional tapas and Spanish atmosphere 

-€1.50 caña, €2-2.50 wine

-delicious tapas included, they bring rounds of different tapas every time you order a new drink and you will not leave this place hungry or thirsty

-Raciones (all traditional) €5-15, you can order based on the size of your group if the tapas aren’t satisfying your craving or you see something yummy on the table next to yours

-Go early to get a table, which are actually giant wine barrels and tiny metal stools (if you’re lucky)

-Usually give you free shots of crema de orujo once you’ve asked for the bill 

 Bodega de la Ardosa; Calle Colon 13

-Best tortilla in Madrid! €2.90 with bread

-Tapas not included 

-Wine €2.50, beer is €3.50-€5 depending on the type, they have international beer 

-Very small, standing room and big wine barrels as tables

Casa Julio, Calle de la Madera, 37

-Best croquetas in Madrid! Big range of types, big plates to share, you can either choose the croquetas you want specifically (with a menu hanging on the wall) or ask for a plate of 6 (half order) or 12 (full order). Delicious meatballs (albóndigas) and patatas bravas in spicy brown sauce 

-Tapas €3-12 depending on dish, all big plates to share 

-Caña €1.50, wine €2-2.50

El Respiro, Calle de las Infantas, 34

-Traditional Spanish style standing tapas bar, including paella, meatballs, tortilla 

-Order a caña or vino (€1.50-2.50) and get a tasty free tapa

El Sur, Calle de la Torrecilla del Leal, 12

-Fantastic raciones bar with a large menu that is filled with traditional Spanish foods and also a new twist on a few dishes, including Tortilla, Moussaka (eggplant lasagna dish), patatas bravas, delicious roasted chicken, meatballs and the best carrot cake in Madrid to finish up your meal. 

-Great pice, fantastic food, very friendly staff and excellent experience! 

Naif Madrid's Delicious Hummus & Guacamole Baguettes

Naif Madrid’s Delicious Hummus & Guacamole Baguettes

Naif, Calle de San Joaquín, 16

-Not Spanish at all but a delicious burger, sandwich, salad and even Mexican food place located in the center of Madrid. The service is great, food is tasty and beer is cheap, they also have a terrace. It’s a great place to grab a quick bite while soaking up the sunshine.  

Cervecería Cruz Blanca, Calle de Hortaleza, 118

-Traditional Spanish style restaurant with a full delicious menu del día, including three large courses, a drink and a cafe after the meal. The food is a mix of Spanish dishes all made fresh to order, including paella to split between two people included in the menu del día, which can be rare to find in Madrid. 

Bayres Beef, Calle Barcelona, 13 

-All natural Argentinean tapas beef restaurant with the juiciest beef skewers and steaks that melt in your mouth. They also have tons of delectable side dishes and cheeses. 

Viva La Vida in La Latina. Famous Vegetarian Restaurant

Viva La Vida in La Latina. Famous Vegetarian Restaurant

Viva La Vida, Costanilla de San Andrés, 16

-“100% Animal Free, Eat Positive” is there motto and they stick to it, serving 100% vegetarian meals including over 10 different types of burgers piled high with veggies, cheeses and guacamole. Mmmmm

-Decorated like a fun beach house, very light and sparkly this is a place to try even if you aren’t vegetarian. They also offer salad, wraps and entrees to cover all their bases.  

El Triciclo,  Calle Sta. María, 28

-The idea came from three chefs combining their ideas to create delectable dishes that dance on your tastebuds, with a mix of flavors and products. They offer a variety of Spanish and non-Spanish dishes in full raciones, 1/2 racion or 1/3 racion depending on the size of your dining group. The menu is constantly changing and they offer a tasty and unique menu del día. The restaurant is pretty small so get there early to snag a seat and enjoy the open windows and people watching in barrio Huertas. 

Big Banh , Calle Don Felipe, 4

  • This little shop is bringing the Vietnamese sandwiches (Bánh me) to Spain! The little local shop is inexpensive (the sandwiches are 5.50 each), and the sandwiches are to die for. Furthermore, they have vegetarian and vegan options as well, a welcome treat in the land of jamon.

Pizza and Pita, Calle de Fuencarral, 93

  • Just off Fuencarrel is the closet thing you can find to New York City Pizza in Madrid. We promise! The slices start at 2.20 euros, and go up depending on your toppings. It took a long time to find a cheap slice in this city that was worthy of a comparison to New York Pizza, but here it is. Don’t be turned off by the décor, besides what pizza place in New York has good lighting? The staff is friendly, and for a quick bite in the heart of Malasaña, it is a great option. The also have mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets.

El Pez Tortilla , Calle Pez 36

  • El Pez Tortilla – Offering dozens of different beers on tap and bottled from all over the world, every kind of tortilla you can think of and croquetas, this find is a great place to go with friends. Only downside? It gets crowded so get there a little early to try and get a table on the weekends. If no tables are available, enjoy your tortilla Spanish style, and eat standing up.

Takos al Pastor, Calle de la Abada 2

  • Right by Callao and just off Gran Via, off a small plaza, are some of the best tacos you can find in Madrid. The best part? They are only one euro. You heard us. One euro. They also offer fantastic margaritas and Mexican beers. For one euro, why not try cactus? It can get crowded on the weekends as well, but during warm weather you can take your tacos to go and sit on the benches in the plaza out front.

Spain Uncorked

  • Although this is not a specific restaurant, Madrid Uncorked is a group that organizes inexpensive wine tastings. Check out their Meet up page to see when the next event will be. The cost is usually around 15 euros, which is more expensive than other suggestions on this page, it is a fun option for a night out with your girlfriends to help you all understand the different Spanish wines that are out there- then you can order your alabariño and pretend like you know what is going on.

Also try….

Vi Cool, Calle de Las Huertas, 12

Casa Perico, Calle de la Ballesta, 18

El Mendrugo, Calle Colmenares, 5

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