When it comes to Madrid, Spain, there’s no better way to get to know the city and its culture than through its food and, better yet, through its tapas. Here are a few top tips on how to eat your way to Spanish foodie paradise.
Let’s start by clarifying the term tapa. It can be defined as a small and even free serving-size of food that accompanies a beverage. Or it can refer more generally to the action of bar hopping with friends and sharing plates of food (hence the term ir de tapas). Whatever its use, one of the best areas to fine-tune your knowledge of the Spanish tapa is in Madrid’s La Latina neighborhood. There, Madrileños famously hop from one bar to the next, downing drinks and noshing on shared plates.
One of the most popular tapas spots in the area is Juana la Loca, known for its pincho de tortilla (potato omelet served on a slice of bread). For a killer hangover cure, head to nearby Taberna los Huevos de Lucio (as opposed to its fancy sister restaurant next door called Casa Lucio) for a plate of huevos rotos – a gnarly mixture of French fries, fried egg and jamón or chorizo. And, for the ultimate tapas-hopping experience, hit up La Latina on Sunday after stopping in the neighborhood’s famous outdoor market, El Rastro.
The Plaza de Santa Ana area is also a hot spot for tapas. Work your way to the bar at Lateral to try Spanish classics like croquetas or a plate of jamón, then stroll down the street to La Casa del Abuelo. In the classic, standing-room-only bar, sample their many shrimp tapas along with a glass of their sweet red wine.
For yet another tapas experience, head to the city’s bohemian and hipster neighborhoods, Chueca and Malasaña. Stop by old-school favorite La Ardosa to try more tortilla española (that rivals the one at Juana la Loca). Then, head over to La Bardemcilla (owned by Javier Bardem’s family) to try some pimientos rellenos that ooze with creamy mouth-watering béchamel. If you’re still up for more, pop across the street to visit the recently renovated Mercado de San Antón, where you can hit up several tapas bars in the same multi-floor market.
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