Things to do in Madrid

Discover The Best Tapas in Madrid

Sometimes, the most delicious things come in snack-sized packages. Quench your thirst for culinary excellence with the best tapas in Madrid.

Once upon a time, tapas were simple assemblies of bread, ham, and cheese used to cover drinks between sips. Today, the tradition has evolved, and searching out the top tapas is one of the most rewarding things to do in Madrid.

It’s time to discover the best tapas in the city and experience the harmony and simple sophistication of Spanish cuisine.


Meet Huertas’ contributions to our list of the best tapas bars in Madrid.

1. Los Gatos

Since the 1980s, Los Gatos has been tempting locals and tourists alike with draft beer and snacks that showcase a wide range of tapas classics. From its perch on the Calle de Jesús, Los Gatos' dishes include cured beef from León, Cantabrian anchovies, and Iberian ham.

Then, there are the famous tortas, salads, cheese plates, smoked fish plates, and platters of comfort foods inspired by home cooking. It’s like a continental tour presented in a series of culinary snapshots.

With all those masterpieces spread before you, you’ll need something to refresh your palate. Grab a ballyhooed Mahou (a popular Spanish brew), snag a glass of wine, or sample the vermouth on tap.

2. Casa González

Casa González is a grocery store and tapas restaurant with nearly a century of business under its belt. It's not only one of the best tapas restaurants in the area but also one of the best restaurants in Madrid overall. This third-generation-run establishment first served its take on tapas in 1931.

It’s now the oldest business in the Barrio de las Letras. The eatery’s menu is built with conversation and communal eating in mind. A platter of Iberian Recebo ham, loin, chorizo, and salchichón is an education in high-end cured meats.

If you like seafood, order a plate of smoked and cured goodies. When it’s time to clink glasses, sparkling rosé or brut make the perfect beverage.

3. Casa Alberto

The red-lacquered exterior is draped with greenery. Original woodwork drips with ornate carvings and vintage signs galore. The built-in shelves are teeming with plates, bottles of liquor and wine, and books. Wall-to-wall framed photos showcase the history of Spain, bullfighting, and the families behind this 19th-century tavern.

This is Casa Alberto, a restaurant so homey that it could double as your abuela’s living room. The menu does a brilliant job bringing tried-and-true dishes into modern times, and those little plates explode with major flavor.

You'll find smoked sardines with guacamole and tomato on the menu. The Iberian ham croquettes are crispy masterpieces. Hold a simple calamari sandwich with aioli in one hand while cradling a glass of vermouth in the other.

4. La Dolores

Sometimes, when you say you’re heading down to the corner bar, you aren’t expecting more than a few chicken wings and a cold IPA. But La Dolores won’t settle for simple bar snacks. This lively spot seeks to satisfy hungry patrons with quality takes on beloved Madrid tapas.

The matrimonio tapa features a gorgeously crusty slice of fresh baguette topped with one cured and one pickled anchovy.

Leave time before or after your smoked fish and beer-soaked escapades to take a few pictures outdoors. The building’s facade is covered in eye-catching tiling, with little ceramic squares forming pictures and descriptions of menu items and favorite local ingredients.


Some of the best tapas restaurants in Madrid can be found in Retiro. This area is perhaps best known for its eponymous park, which is perfect if you’re exploring Madrid with kids, but there are plenty of places to eat, too.

5. Taberna Laredo

Taberna Laredo started as a family affair. Paquita, the Laredo family matriarch, manned the kitchen. Sons Miguel and David took charge of shopping, rising at first light to hit the Mercamadrid and source the just-caught scarlet prawns and lush produce. Their efforts were met with great fanfare.

Soon, the tavern took over larger premises, welcoming another into the fold to oversee a growing bar program. Today, Taberna Laredo’s menu is rife with food and drinks that feel both familiar and fresh.

Ingredients such as langoustines, foie gras, burrata, black rice with squid ink, red mullet, lamb chops, and rabbit cutlets speak to the wonders and intricacies of Spanish cuisine. Wash down your quick bites with selections from a regionally-focused wine list highlighting the best bottles from Spain, Burgundy, and beyond.


The neighborhood of Chamberí is mostly residential, but the occasional tapas restaurant dots the area along with other attractions, including the Sorolla Museum and Teatros del Canal.

6. Sala de Despiece

Sala de Despiece is a collection of four spaces operating under the same culinary umbrella. SDD, in Chamberí, is bright and modern. Subway tiles in shades of white, light blue, and yellow present a playful contrast to a starkly neutral counter and yellow-and-black roadway-like accents.

Exposed lighting and plenty of pot-and-pan hooks give the room an industrial edge. It's like the restaurant is declaring that work is done here, and you’ll like the results. Thankfully, those results are some of the best Madrid tapas available.

The eatery’s location by the central fish markets makes it easy to stop in and enjoy the chef’s imaginative takes on Spanish food. You’ll dream about the artichokes and pulpo (octopus) for months.

Keep in mind there are only 32 seats at SDD. Those can go fast when stomachs start growling around happy hour, so book well in advance to avoid missing out.

La Latina

One of the best things to do in Madrid is to visit the Barrio de La Latina. You’ll need to navigate narrow lines and plenty of twists and turns to find the tapas bars below, but your belly will thank you for the effort.

7. Juana La Loca

At Juana La Loca, you won’t find quintessential tapas. Instead, the pioneering tavern specializes in Basque-inspired pintxos. What does that mean for the menu? While tapas are often small-plated versions of larger meals, pintxos are almost always assembled on a toothpick and ready for quick consumption.

Start with La Loca’s Spanish tortilla concoction featuring potato, egg, and confit onions. Grilled artichokes with shaved parmesan and garlic bring a salty taste, and fresh foie gras and fig marmalade on nut bread are crazy delicious.

8. La Perejila

Meandering down Calle de la Cava Baja is like walking onto the screen of a Spanish period film. Every storefront and gathering spot is alive with color and activity. In the middle of it all, you'll find La Perejila, a tapas bar known for its whimsical decor and tantalizing food.

A series of ornate chandeliers illuminate the cluttered bar top and walls filled with memorabilia. Sit elbow to elbow with other hungry diners as you eat thick toasts layered with candied artichokes, Burgos black pudding, and stewed bull tail (when it's in season).

La Parejila doesn't accept reservations, so come early and rest easy knowing the sangria and the atmosphere are well worth the wait.

9. Casa Lucío

Casa Lucío is proof that hard work can create magnificent things. Lucio Blázquez was just 12 when he moved to Madrid and started working at Dona Petra’s Meson del Segoviano. After years of mentoring young Blázquez, Petra sold him her restaurant.

The newly-named Casio Lucio launched in 1974, delivering the same hospitality and irresistible food available under Petra’s ownership. Aurelio Calderon, the current head chef, keeps the tradition alive using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Those goodies are chopped, diced, sauteed, pickled, cured, and fried into a constellation of mouthwatering tapas. Think salty and sweet ham and melon, earthy slices of Manchego cheese, and mushrooms sauteed with spring garlic and baby eel.

Wines represent some of the best varietals and vintages Spain has to offer.

10. Taberna La Concha

Anyone who’s hungry and trying to avoid gluten will love that Taberna La Concha has an entire menu of gluten-free tapas. This La Latina hot spot features tapas for every taste bud.

Stuffed piquillo peppers, pork cheeks in red wine sauce, spiced-up chicken in red curry, Thai-infused homemade fish balls, and anchovies in pesto are just a few dishes that draw on global influences.

The top-ranked adult beverage here is the Manuela, a vermouth cocktail with a specific recipe. Mixologists spray the serving glass with three spritzes of gin, top it with vermouth, and add a dash of Campari bitters to finish. A sweet-meets-citrus garnish of an orange peel and olive rounds off this cocktail.


Hipster culture is at the heart of Malasaña, a student-friendly neighborhood that’s somehow both laidback and lively. Venture off the main square to find retro cafés, vintage clothing boutiques, and trendy tapas restaurants tucked behind brick walls emblazoned with stunning murals and avant-garde graffiti.

11. La Ardosa

First launched in 1892, La Ardosa is one of the oldest restaurants on this list. It began as part of the La Ardosa winery chain, so it’s not too surprising the bodega has a solid beverage program. For a time, La Ardosa was the only place you could find Bass ale and German Warsteiner beer in Madrid.

Honor that history by imbibing a Pilsner Urquell alongside a smorgasbord of smoked sausages. La Ardosa also serves breakfast. Come back in the morning for a coffee and pastry. If pionono cake is on the menu, have an extra slice of that liquor-soaked sponge for us.


Continue your exploration of Madrid’s tapas tradition with a stop by an eatery or two in Quintana.

12. Docamar

Belly up to the bar at Docamar restaurant for some of the top tapas Madrid has to offer. There's no fusion here. The menu is as traditional as it gets—so much so that the house specialty is a Spanish classic called patatas bravas.

The dish consists of little nuggets of potato fried to perfection. They're then served with a spicy red sauce laced with paprika and vinegar. The owner also sells the bravas sauce in takeaway bottles. Never has a souvenir been so tempting. The rest of the menu changes daily, with nods to ingredients and dishes that suit each season.

Barrio de Salamanca

Barrio de Salamanca is like the Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue of Madrid, with all the pomp and pizzazz those areas are known for.

13. Cañadío

Cañadío Madrid is built to suit its swanky surroundings, menu and dining room included. This isn’t a place to appreciate a well-worn wooden bar or cuddle up under a wall covered in copper mugs.

Here, white tablecloths are bathed in natural light, and sprigs of greenery and blonde wood accents contribute to the spot’s light and airy feel. The tapas are just as sophisticated, trading the small plates and skewers for appetizers with elegant styling.

Still, some familiarity remains. Hake fritters, chorizo croquettes, Cantabrian anchovies, and red sauce squid meatballs are elevated but enjoyable.


This Ibiza isn’t the party island retreat. It's a barrio, or neighborhood, in Madrid known for eclectic shops and places to eat.

14. La Raquetista

When the Santurce Winery closed in 2015, it brought 53 years of winemaking to a sad close. But it also made room for a man named Javier to open a restaurant that honored Santurce Winery and the loved ones who made the family dream a reality for so long.

That restaurant is called La Raquetista, and you can taste the passion for tradition and travel in every dish the kitchen produces. Spain is obviously the anchoring force here, but the culinary influences come from far beyond Madrid.

Mallorca, Tijuana, Miami, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Milan are just some of the cities represented. Every town Javier’s ancestors lugged a suitcase through is apparent in the love and hospitality he creates today. Bring a crowd and DIY a mix-and-match feast.

Choose from options such as spider crab dim sum, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, coriander hummus with Syrian couscous and pistachios, tuna belly pastrami, marinated sardine with roasted veggies and peaches, and crispy pork ear and nose terrine with prawns and garlic. It’s a passport for your palate, and you’ll want to savor every bite.


Centro is the commercial hub of the city and home to one of the best Madrid tapas joints in operation.

15. Cervantes Cervecería

Meet Centro’s diamond in the rough. Cervantes Cervecería is almost always humming with crowds vying for a chance at a table and plates of mushroom toast or artichokes and ham.

Some might call the restaurant old-fashioned. But in truth, the owners have done a stellar job of preserving an establishment that offers tapas and draft beer.

Spanish cheeses, Galician-style octopus, tuna, and Ensaladilla Rusa are all on the menu. They’re pleasurable renditions that’ll make you happy you fought so hard for that two-seater by the window.

Exploring Madrid's Culinary Landscape Through Its Legendary Tapas Bars

The best tapas in Madrid, Spain, can be found in any one of the eateries on this list.

A city this culturally rich and endlessly vibrant demands entertainment that’s equally fantastic. Once you’re full of wine and Manchego cheese, make a mad dash for a heart-pounding performance that encapsulates athletic prowess and creative folly. To perfect your itinerary, pick up tickets to our shows in Madrid.

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