Madrid may be on everyone’s radar for its world-class museums, beautiful green spaces and awe-inspiring architecture. But there’s one main reason why the Spanish capital has won us over: the food! Head to one of the best restaurants in Madrid to see exactly what we mean.
Or would you rather expand your horizons with unique international food? We’ve got plenty of that, too.
With so many incredible options, narrowing down the world’s best restaurants in Madrid was not an easy feat. But it was one we were more than happy to take on! No matter what you’re craving, we’re sure one of these fabulous places will fit the bill.
Let’s start things off with a classic. At the ripe old age of 296 as of 2021, El Sobrino de Botín (commonly referred to simply as Botín) boasts the claim to fame of the world’s oldest restaurant. With nearly three centuries under their belt, it’s no wonder why they’re one of the best restaurants in Madrid!
The rustic interior will transport you back in time. It provides the perfect setting for enjoying home-cooked traditional food at its finest.
What to order: We’re huge fans of their cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig). The dish hails from nearby Segovia, but here in Madrid, no place does it better than Botín!
2. La Bola
Not much has changed in the nearly 150 years that Taberna La Bola has been open—and trust us, that’s a good thing. As one of the best restaurants in Madrid, you’ll spot its bright red exterior from down the street—an inviting beacon of what’s to come.
The same family has run the place since day one, and the current generation of owners (the sixth!) has contributed to its legacy as a place where anyone will feel at home. Come for the soul-warming traditional Spanish dishes; stay for the inviting atmosphere that will make you feel like you’re dining in the home of a lifelong friend.
What to order: Two words: cocido madrileño. Madrid’s iconic chickpea, meat and veggie stew can be found all over the city, but not all cocido is created equal. Here at La Bola, you’re sure to get an authentic version prepared the same way they’ve been making it for over a century.
3. Los Huevos de Lucio
“Fast food from the 17th century” is the name of the game at Los Huevos de Lucio, a standout on the bustling tapas haven that is Calle Cava Baja in La Latina. A small but lively spot that hearkens back to the no-frills taverns of days gone by, it’s more often than not packed with locals who push tables together and fill the intimate space with chatter in rapid-fire Spanish.
This traditional locale has adapted wonderfully to the changes brought on by modern life in Madrid. That said, it maintains its authentic, old-world charm that has made it a favorite for years.
What to order: We don’t make the rules—you can’t go to Los Huevos de Lucio without trying the specialty of the house, huevos rotos. This rustic dish consists of fried eggs piled on top of potatoes and sprinkled with plenty of chorizo or jamón.
4. Celso y Manolo
It almost sounds like the plot of a movie: a teenager from a small mining town in northern Spain comes to Madrid and finds a job in an old tavern, pulling himself up by his bootstraps and eventually taking over the business when the original owner retires. Now a young and hip bar, the place has breathed new life into the historic locale.
It’s not a movie, though—that’s just how one of the world’s best restaurants in Madrid, Celso y Manolo, came to be. If you don’t believe us, just ask the folks behind the prestigious La Luna de Metrópoli awards, which named them the best tapas bar in Madrid in 2014.
What to order: No matter what you get at Celso y Manolo, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a meal prepared with fresh, mostly organic ingredients that make eating healthy taste more delicious than ever. Our personal favorite example of this is their chuletón de tomate (beefsteak tomato salad), a bright and colorful dish that tastes so good you’ll forget you’re eating vegetables.
5. Sala de Despiece
Despite the current trend towards culinary modernity in Madrid as well as across the world, few places will transport you into the future quite like Sala de Despiece.
A onetime butcher’s shop converted into a neo-industrial gastro space, the futuristic restaurant on culinary wonderland Calle de Ponzano bridges past and present by focusing mainly on meat products for many of their innovative menu items. The incredibly detailed menu itself even shows you exactly where the main ingredients of each dish were sourced, the preparation method, and additional ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re eating.
What to order: Another standout here is the seafood, so don’t pass up the excellent grilled red tuna. The stunning presentation will make it look almost too pretty to eat, but dig in—it will be love at first bite.
DiverXO is one of Madrid’s most legendary Michelin-starred restaurants, bringing together an avant-garde fusion of Spanish dishes with an Asian-inspired flair. If its three stars aren’t enough to convince you to book, head chef David Muñoz’s 2021 recognition as the world’s best chef certainly will.
The space at DiverXO is ethereal and airy, with predominantly white decor broken up by splashes of whimsical color. It’s the kind of restaurant that has to be experienced firsthand to be fully believed, and a true bucket list spot for any gourmand.
7. El Anciano Rey de los Vinos
With a privileged location just steps from the Royal Palace and a little ways down the street from Plaza Mayor, El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is one of the best traditional restaurants in Madrid’s city center. In operation for over a century, this storied locale has brought homestyle Spanish cooking to generations of madrileños and visitors.
While classic Spanish dishes are at the heart of the offering here, don’t overlook one of the more unconventional bites: the regalitos de rabo de toro. These “presents” of oxtail stew feature small portions the traditional meat dish wrapped up in a flaky puff pastry, topped with a red piquillo pepper and drizzled with more of its savory sauce.
8. La Berenjena
Though a bit of a newcomer on the Madrid restaurant scene (having only opened in 2011!), La Berenjena has quickly made a name for itself as one of the hottest dining spots in town. The original location, set in a beautifully restored old tavern in Lavapiés, is cozy and intimate with just two tables and a bar. For something more spacious, check out their newer, larger location in Chamberí.
No matter which location you choose, you’re bound to have an unforgettable meal. Owners Marta and Rebeca serve internationally inspired market-fresh dishes that are unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. Be sure to stick around for one of their excellent craft cocktails after the meal, too.
9. Casa Dani
Craving the best tortilla in Madrid? Look no further than Casa Dani.
This cozy little market bar may not look like much, but one bite of their award-winning tortilla de patatas and you’ll immediately understand the hype. To this day, it remains true to its humble roots—having been founded in 1991 by a local couple with the goal of providing a friendly, welcoming spot for local workers to grab a bite to eat.
With an estimated 300 omelets churned out every day, it’s safe to say that Casa Dani knows what they’re doing. So what’s the secret? Brown eggs, potatoes from Castilla-La Mancha, and the ever-elusive perfect texture: nice and juicy, yet still able to hold its shape.
This gorgeous space in Chueca was the brainchild of two local brothers, who took their mom’s traditional dishes they grew up eating and reinvented them with a modern spin. To provide the utmost in freshness, many of their ingredients come straight from their own organic garden.
And of course, we can’t talk about Angelita without mentioning the wine. There are 500 bottles of it available, about 70 of which you can order by the glass. Cap off your experience with a drink at their glamorous cocktail bar for the ultimate night out.
Best Restaurants in Madrid FAQs
Madrid’s most prestigious restaurant is DiverXO. With three Michelin stars and award-winning chef David Muñoz at the helm, it’s one of the most exclusive eateries in the Spanish capital.
The best-known restaurant in Madrid is easily Botín. It has the unique claim to fame of being the world’s oldest operating restaurant, having opened its doors in 1725!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on November 2, 2018 and was updated with new text and photos on September 29, 2021.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Madrid? Just add your email address in the form below!
Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.