Top 20 Must-Try Typical Foods In Madrid

This blog post was originally posted on January 14, 2014 and was updated on November 27, 2020.

Madrid is home to food from every region of Spain and much of the rest of the world—but we can’t forget about the home-grown classics.

Spain’s capital city is a melting pot of typical food from every region of the country. Andalusian bars boasting great gazpacho and salmorejo sit alongside Galician restaurants advertising heaping plates of pulpo a feira (Galician-style octopus). It’s possible to eat your way around Spain without ever leaving Madrid.

But don’t get too caught up in food from other regions just yet. Madrid’s own typical food is well worth your time. No trip to the Spanish capital would be complete without tasting at least a few of these typical foods in Madrid.

RELATED: 6 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Madrid

If you're wondering what to eat in Madrid, we have the guide for you! Madrid's food culture is second-to-none, and we're proving it with this list of the top typical foods in Madrid. From breakfast to tapas and everything in between, we'll tell you our favorite bites, and even the best bars and restaurants to try them in!

The most typical foods in Madrid

1. Cocido madrileño

As the weather gets cold, the smell of this simmering pork stew begins to waft through the streets of Madrid. Cocido madrileño is the definition of Spanish comfort food, but not for the faint of heart (or stomach).

The most common take on this traditional Spanish stew usually consists of a flavorful broth full of vegetables, chickpeas, chorizo sausage, and pork. The stew simmers for upwards of four hours, creating a blend of heavenly, robust flavors that make for the ideal cure to Madrid’s wintry weather.

The typical way to eat cocido madrileño is in two or three courses. Once the chickpeas, meats, and vegetables have been cooked, the broth is separated and used to make soup with small vermicelli noodles. This steaming soup becomes the first course.

The rest of the flavorful ingredients are served as the main dish, often in two rounds. The chickpeas and veggies come first, followed by the stewed-to-perfection meat.

Insider’s tip: Taberna La Bola is our favorite place for cocido in Madrid. This family-run spot have been making cocido in the center of Madrid since 1870 in their primarily woman-owned and managed restaurant.

If you can’t make it to Madrid just yet, get our favorite cocido madrileño recipe in Spanish Feasts from the Devour Tours Kitchen!

Loaded with meat, vegetables and chickpeas, cocido madrileno is one of our absolute favorite typical foods in Madrid!
The delicious cocido madrileño is a local favorite.

2. Huevos rotos

Traditional Spanish cuisine is very meat-and-potatoes. Nowhere is this fact more deliciously displayed than in a steaming plate of huevos rotos, which literally translates to “broken eggs.”

This typical Madrid dish is a plate of potatoes which are freshly fried in Spanish olive oil and tossed with sea salt. The potatoes are topped with perfect over-easy eggs. Depending on where you go, you’ll either break the yolks with the crusty edge of a piece of bread or your server will break them, often at the table.

You can find some of the best huevos rotos in the city at Taberna Los Huevos de Lucio, one of many great places to eat in the La Latina district. Check out our full guide to where to eat huevos rotos in Madrid, or make them at home with the recipe in our first digital cookbook!

Insider’s tip: Many restaurants add bits of chorizo or cured ham to the mix for a burst of color and flavor. However, you can simply specify that you’d like with no meat if you’re looking for a vegetarian option.

3. Bocadillo de Calamares

No trip to Madrid is complete without tasting the city’s most famous sandwich: the bocadillo de calamares, or fried squid sandwich.

The most basic (and most traditional) bocadillo de calamares consists of fresh, crusty bread loaded with flour-coated, deep-fried rings of squid, and nothing else. Some Spaniards top the two-ingredient creation with tomato and paprika puree or homemade garlic mayonnaise. For the full experience, make sure to wash your bocadillo down with a cold caña of beer.

The many side streets around Madrid’s grand Plaza Mayor are home to some of the city’s most famous calamari sandwich bars. (Yes, you can find great food near tourist attractions!) Our favorite is La Campana (Calle de Botoneras, 6).

Calamari sandwich: a great idea for takeout food in Madrid
The calamari sandwich from La Campana: a staple of madrileño cuisine and a great on-the-go option. Photo credit: @archela

4. Callos a la madrileña

Callos is another one of the most typical foods in Madrid during the winter. Normally served in a clay dish, it consists of strips of beef tripe (stomach), chunks of chorizo, and slices of morcilla (blood sausage). Many versions add paprika for flavor, resulting in a reddish-brown color.

This smoky, savory stew has been a popular cold-weather dish in Spain’s bars and taverns for hundreds of years. The first known recipes for callos date back to the 16th century! Today, you can find it in most bars and restaurants throughout the capital city during the winter months.

5. Churros con chocolate

Churros are a staple of Madrid’s after-hours nightlife, and a definite must-have for partiers on their way home during the wee hours of the morning. For non-nocturnal madrileños, churros with a cup of steaming hot, thick chocolate are a common afternoon snack for the 6 p.m. merienda, and are even occasionally eaten for breakfast!

The most famous place to get your hands on a plate-full of churros—or their thicker, richer cousin, porras—is San Ginés, where madrileños and visitors alike have been devouring the sweet fried treat for more than 100 years. We also love the homemade porras and churros at Bar Chocolat, one of our food tour partners in the Huertas Neighborhood.

Check out the video below to see how they fry up their famous churros at San Ginés!

6. Oreja a la Plancha

When in Spain, eat as the Spaniards eat! And in this case, that includes pig ear.

A popular dish among locals, oreja is typically only for the boldest of foreign travelers. Oreja a la plancha, literally “pan-seared ear” is typically served as a ración, or large portion, and eaten with toothpicks. It is often sprinkled with salt or paprika and occasionally fresh-squeezed lemon.

Unlike other parts of Spain where oreja is almost always served by itself, in Madrid you can often find chunks of bacon or mushrooms mixed in with the dish.

Oreja a la plancha, or pan-seared pig ear, is one of the typical foods in Madrid. Here it is served with bacon and a squeeze of lemon on top. Delicious!
Pig ear is one of the typical foods in Madrid for adventurous eaters! Photo credit: James Blick

7. Pincho de tortilla

Tortilla de patatas, or potato omelet, is a staple of Spanish cuisine and one of the most typical foods in Madrid. Here in the capital, the huge diversity of this simple dish is on prominent display.

There’s a tortilla de patatas for everyone, no matter what your tastes may be. Some are runny piles of egg and potato that you have to scoop up with bread. Others are firm slices featuring everything from caramelized onions to mushrooms to sausage to peppers.

Most bars in Madrid will serve a small square of tortilla with a toothpick as a tapa, but to fully enjoy this dish, a pincho (slightly larger slice) of tortilla is a must!

The moist tortilla is the ultimate Spanish tapa for many people, and so many delicious options are available in Madrid. This example of the typical foods in Madrid is a must try!
There’s nothing better than a slightly runny tortilla!

8. Croquetas

No list of the most typical foods in Madrid would be complete without croquetas.

Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, Spanish croquettes can be filled with just about any savory option you can imagine. We’re partial to croquetas de jamón (and even featured the recipe in our cookbook), other delicious options include mushroom, chicken, salt cod, and even pea and mint!

The next time you find yourself in the Spanish capital, be sure to eat your way through our complete guide to the best croquetas in Madrid. (You can thank us later.)

9. Gambas al ajillo

It might surprise many first-time visitors to Madrid to learn that fresh seafood is plentiful here. Isn’t Madrid about as landlocked as a city can get?

Indeed it is, but as the seat of Spanish royalty, the capital has long benefitted from special roads and train lines built for the specific purpose of bringing fresh seafood in from the coast. And gambas al ajillo—fresh shrimp sautéd in a sizzling garlic sauce—might just be one of our favorite ways to eat it.

Invented after the Spanish Civil War at the classic tapas bar La Casa del Abuelo, gambas al ajillo have since become popular all over Spain. But there’s no better place to try them than the bar where it all began, preferably with a glass of their famous house wine.

Dish of garlic shrimp at a Madrid tapas bar
No trip to Madrid is complete without enjoying La Casa del Abuelo’s famous garlic shrimp.

10. Pisto

It’s no secret that Spain is a meat-loving country. With so many menu options revolving around different styles of pork or seafood, it would be easy to assume that vegetables are somewhat lacking.

But there are some great plant-based typical foods in Madrid—you just need to know how to look for them. And one of our all-time favorites is pisto manchego.

Consisting of slow-cooked vegetables simmered for hours, pisto is often considered to be a Spanish answer to ratatouille. It’s the perfect warming dish on a chilly day, and even carnivores will be able to appreciate the depth of flavor it offers.

If you follow a vegan diet, note that pisto is occasionally served with a fried egg on top. Be sure to specify that you’d like yours “sin huevo, por favor.”

11. Huevos rellenos

Lots of people have had deviled eggs. But have you had Spanish-style deviled eggs?

Huevos rellenos are a staple around the holiday season in Spain, and you’ll also find them as an option in many Madrid tapas bars. The traditional filling is tuna and red pepper mixed into the egg yolk, but this is one of those dishes where it’s super easy to incorporate your own twist.

Can’t wait until you make it back to Madrid? Find our favorite huevos rellenos recipe in our holiday-themed digital cookbook!

12. Salt cod fritters (soldaditos de Pavía)

Another excellent addition to Madrid’s surprisingly strong seafood scene, the salt cod fritters at local institution Casa Labra are so iconic that they regularly earn lines out the door of the bar. These little bites are quite simple, but when done right, they make for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Fun fact: You’ll sometimes hear locals refer to these as soldaditos de Pavía, or “Pavía’s soldiers.” The nickname comes from the fact that the fritters are traditionally served with a roasted red pepper draped over the top. Legend says that because of this, they’re reminiscent of uniforms worn by the troops of a 19th century Spanish general named Pavía: a red jacket under a pale outer coat.

13. Ensalada navideña de col lombarda

When the holidays roll around, one dish you’ll find on nearly every table is red cabbage salad with pine nuts and other winter goodies. It’s a true testament to how seriously we take seasonal eating here in Spain, and a deliciously festive way to kick off any holiday meal.

Try it: We included an upgraded version of this festive classic in Spanish Feasts from the Devour Tours Kitchen!

Winter salad with red cabbage, carrots, manchego cheese, oranges and pomegranate
Anyone who thinks salad is boring clearly hasn’t tried our Madrid-style winter creation.

14. Mushrooms

We’re big on mushrooms here in Madrid. Whether grilled, stuffed, or fried, you’ll likely find them in one way or another on countless tapas bar menus throughout the city.

Two of our favorite options for champis (as we call them—short for the Spanish champiñones) are Casa Toni and Mesón del Champiñón. Casa Toni does a fabulously simple grilled version, while Mesón del Champiñón stuffs theirs with chorizo, garlic, and parsley, with a squeeze of lemon juice for an extra kick.

Grilled mushrooms stuffed with chorizo, garlic, and parsley with a glass of red wine on the side
The famous chorizo-stuffed champis at Mesón del Champiñón.

15. Regalitos de rabo de toro

Spain’s famous bull tail stew, rabo de toro, has its roots in the southern city of Cordoba. But here in Madrid, you’ll be able to find one of the most unique—and delicious—presentations of it in all of Spain.

At El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, owner Belén came up with a delicious modern twist on this Andalusian favorite. After cooking low and slow for several hours, the bull tail meat is packaged up into a neat savory pastry parcel and topped with a roasted red pepper. A drizzle of extra sauce on top makes the perfect final touch.

Bull's tail tapas in Madrid
Regalitos de rabo de toro: proof that the best bites come in small phyllo-pastry packages.

16. Cordero asado

Succulent roast lamb is a popular option for many Madrid families for Christmas Eve dinner, and a perfect warming winter meal all season long. Like most of the best typical foods in Madrid, cordero asado is quite simple, and best enjoyed as part of an hours-long weekend lunch with family, friends, and plenty of wine.

17. Baked fish

Whole baked fish, usually sea bream (besugo) or another hearty white fish, is another testament to landlocked Madrid’s surprisingly strong seafood tradition. Whether you try it in the summertime while dreaming of the beach, or as part of a soul-warming winter meal, it’s a simple dish that’s always guaranteed to impress.

18. Pollo en pepitoria

Pepitoria chicken has truly ancient roots: it uses classic Moorish ingredients such as saffron and almonds, and in fact everything on the ingredient list was available in Spain prior to the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Older versions were traditionally made with hen, but today most Madrid cooks use chicken instead.

As one of the most typical foods in Madrid, you’ll often find pollo en pepitoria as a lunch option on a menú del día, but it’s also such a great dish to make for a relaxing meal at home. Find the recipe in our holiday cookbook!

Chicken in saffron, almond and egg yolk sauce with diced egg whites on top
Pollo en pepitoria: a Madrid lunchtime classic.

19. Buñuelos rellenos

The smell of buñuelos being freshly fried at outdoor street stalls is a sure-fire sign of the holiday season in Spain. These addictive little fried dough puffs can be topped with anything from powdered sugar to rich Spanish hot chocolate, but they’re also perfectly delicious on their own. No matter how you choose to enjoy them, they’re one of our favorite Madrid street foods!

20. Flan

Last but not least, you can never go wrong with treating yourself to a perfectly made flan. Whether as a lunchtime dessert while eating out or a cozy at-home merienda, this traditional favorite is always worth indulging in. The traditional recipe was based on just eggs and sugar, but today you can find all sorts of flan flavors: coffee, chocolate, caramel, and more!

Can’t wait to start devouring Madrid? You can find many of the above recipes in our digital cookbooks: Recipes from the Devour Tours Kitchen and Spanish Feasts from the Devour Tours Kitchen. Happy cooking!

32 Comment

  1. January 16, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Awwwww, I only managed to do half of these. Guess I’ll just have to go back to Madrid. And the fact that I’m very hungry right now ….

    Reply
  2. HELLO says
    June 12, 2014 at 6:16 am

    HELLO! Hmm these dishes sound yummy! I should put these on my blog, “Spain The Country Of Yumminess!”

    Reply
  3. Mr Szpaks says
    November 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Have a look on that. Great and cheap food 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-YmH5qAzXQ

    Reply
  4. Dean says
    November 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Solid stuff

    Reply
  5. Tom bled says
    September 25, 2015 at 10:19 am

    MMMMMM I like Madrid’s style of food, makes me hungry

    Reply
  6. Mario says
    March 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I’m from Madrid and I’m TIRED of these foods…

    Reply
  7. Ernesto says
    March 6, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    My favorite is this list is the bocadillo de calamaes, and there’s one restaurant within the plaza major that simply tastes heavenly. Only 3.50 euro or 5 euro with bebida, and if you buy it “para llevar.”

    Reply
  8. brandon frederique says
    May 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    that food looks good

    Reply
    1. Big Chungus says
      January 24, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      it does look amazing

      Reply
  9. Paul says
    December 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Great inspiration for my coming Madrid trip!

    Reply
  10. Cole Timmons says
    December 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    sweet list man

    Reply
    1. Ed says
      December 11, 2020 at 2:13 pm

      What? No mention of ensaladilla rusa or pepito de ternera or pepito de lomo or mejillones bravos?

      Reply
      1. Devour Tours says
        December 14, 2020 at 9:09 am

        It was hard to narrow down for sure! Those are all great options as well 🙂

        Reply
  11. Sorcha says
    March 7, 2017 at 9:59 am

    nice one

    Reply
  12. Javier F. says
    July 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

    For eating Cocido Madrileño, I reccomend Taberna La Daniela

    Reply
  13. Ray says
    September 18, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I am going to visit Madrid soon. So, Heads up for the post madam. I will surely like to try these dishes.
    Thanks and Regards
    Ray

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      September 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Enjoy!!

      Reply
  14. October 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I think now I’m going to Spain starting from football to food everything is amazing here, i am a mad football fan and food freak this place might be my place now haha thanks for the share nice article I must say. indeed post.

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      October 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Make sure to check out the stadiums when you do! https://madridfoodtour.com/stadiums-in-madrid/

      Reply
  15. Henry Ofori Adarkwa says
    December 15, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Trust me the first food on the list is my favourite. I happen to be at Gran Versalles Hotel in November and I enjoyed this food.

    Reply
  16. Donna says
    April 30, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Visiting Madrid in July! Will definitely keep these in mind.

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      May 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Enjoy them!!

      Reply
  17. Alberta Brice says
    August 4, 2019 at 3:23 am

    How was Madrid? Is the food wonderful? I will be going next year, can’t wait!

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      August 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Yes and yes, the food here can’t be beat!!

      Reply
  18. August 26, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    I am going to visit Madrid really very soon with my brother mostly in September. I will surely like to try these dishes once there. Thanks for sharing this amazing post with all of us. Love n Regards xoxo

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      August 27, 2019 at 9:00 am

      Enjoy! You’re going to love it!

      Reply
  19. Philomina says
    August 28, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    A very useful article to read. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Fine work. Keep it up.

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      September 2, 2019 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks so much, Philomina!

      Reply
  20. March 25, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    This is some awesome stuff.

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      March 31, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Glad you enjoyed! Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply
  21. January 14, 2021 at 10:01 am

    I Love Your Article. It Shows That You Did A Lot Of Work For Writing This. The Food Looks So Yummy, And I Like To Read The Complete Recipes Of These Dishes.

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      January 18, 2021 at 8:49 am

      Thanks so much for reading, we’re glad you found it useful! 🙂

      Reply

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