One of the top foodie hotspots in Madrid isn’t a trendy tapas bar tucked into the backstreets of Chueca, or a bustling traditional market. It’s a massive food court on top of a department store.
The El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience overlooking Plaza Callao is the place to get your fix of food and drink from across the world—with sweeping views of downtown Madrid to boot.
With the launch of the Gourmet Experience shop and food court in 2012, the Callao location of El Corte Inglés has become the place to be for foodies. Its wide variety of top-notch products and diverse array of restaurants makes it a must for any Madrid-bound gourmand.
Whether you’re stopping by in search of foodie souvenirs or want to enjoy a meal with memorable views, here’s everything you need to know before visiting the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in Callao!
What is El Corte Inglés and the Gourmet Experience?
As Spain’s biggest department store chain, El Corte Inglés sells everything from stationary and souvenirs to designer clothing and jewelry. It even has its own supermarket at every location!
The Gourmet Experience food court at the Plaza Callao branch provides locals and visitors alike with hundreds of top-quality gourmet products and dishes in one place. Located on the ninth floor of the store, the main reason to venture up is for the outstanding view of Madrid. You can admire said view from indoors through their enormous glass windows, or enjoy their small but excellent terrace.
As for shopping, the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience certainly offers a good range of gourmet products, especially Spanish ones. You will pay a premium, but if you looking for some great foodie souvenirs and don’t have time to shop around, this is a quick one-stop shop that will do the trick. Here, you can find items like Spanish paprika, jamón ibérico, Spanish cheeses, olive oils, and more.
And of course there are the restaurants! From international icons to locally owned establishments, there’s great variety available at the El Corte Inglés food court.
Here’s a quick look at a few of the restaurants at the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in Callao, and what to expect at each.
Where to Eat at the El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience in Callao
Celicioso is a Spanish café and bakery specializing in 100-percent gluten free products. But it’s worth a stop even for non-celiacs, who won’t miss the gluten in their array of tasty baked goods. This cozy corner of the Callao Gourmet Experience is a relaxing place to have a coffee or a pastry, or even a quick sandwich.
2. Hamburguesa Nostra
This spot first started out as a butcher shop, and then evolved to a specialty shop that sells a large variety of gourmet burgers that are pre-formed and ready for the grill. Hamburguesa Nostra is the owner’s first restaurant, and at €8–12 a burger makes for an interesting dining option.
You can choose from a variety of types of beef (they will even tell you where it comes from) as well as a sauce and bread to accompany it—the ultimate bespoke burger experience!
3. Central Mexicana
For great decor, loud music, and a varied menu, have lunch at Central Mexicana. Offering a large variety of Mexican snacks and appetizers, this is a fun place to order a margarita and tacos and enjoy being at the top of Madrid.
4. La Máquina
La Máquina serves up Spanish classics. Menus of the day, calamari sandwiches, pintxos—you name it, you’ll find it here! Everything looks good and the prices are reasonable, but it does lack some of the charm many of the other restaurants at the El Corte Ingles Gourmet Experience offer.
5. Pizza al Cuadrado
Locally owned Pizza al Cuadrado has two other popular locations in Malasaña. Their concept is Roman-style pizza by the slice, and their offerings change daily.
The pizza itself gets taken to the next level thanks to the gourmet toppings and unique flavor combinations that they offer. Combinations like pesto and pine nut or arugula and Roquefort cheese are what makes this pizzeria worth your while.
This outpost of the famed international franchise Amorino serves up Italian-style gelato made with natural ingredients. As is the case with other locations of the chain throughout Spain, they are a little bit pricey, but they’re definitely delicious!
This Basque restaurant is the place to try pintxos (small bites of food served on skewers or a piece of toasted bread). There is a great variety of food available at Imanol, prices are reasonable and the pintxos change seasonally.
7. Juanillo Club
Juanillo Club is a cocktail and oyster bar in the center of the food court. Both the cocktails and oysters are delicious at this bar, and we would definitely recommend it for a treat if you’re here during your stay in Madrid.
El Corte Inglés Gourmet Experience FAQs
Access to the space itself—including the incredible views—is free! You’ll just obviously need to pay for your food and drinks, but there’s no obligation to purchase anything.
The Gourmet Experience at the Callao location is open from 10 a.m.–10 p.m. every day, except for Sundays when it opens at 11.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on January 13, 2013 and was updated with new text and photos on April 13, 2021.Want our insider’s guide to eating in Madrid? Just add your email address in the form below!
Lauren grew up in an Italian-American family where 3-hour meals were the norm. After 10 years in the restaurant industry, she moved to Spain where she launched her popular Spanish food blog, Spanish Sabores, and soon after led groups on the first Devour Madrid food tours.