In the land of endless sunshine, it’s no surprise that Spain ranks number 4 for the world’s
most delicious destinations. The Mediterranean climate and endless fertile fields cultivate the
perfect conditions for incredible home-grown produce. From traditional fresh fish dishes
along the coastline to tempting doughy churros, Spain offers flavour in abundance.
What better place to start than the country's capital city—Madrid. One of the leading food
capitals of the world, Madrid’s food scene is truly mouthwatering. Join us as we explore the
top 10 must-try foods in Madrid.
1. Huevos rotos
The epitome of Spain’s classic egg and potato combination is so deliciously displayed in a hot and hearty plate of huevos rotos, meaning “broken eggs”. Burst into the golden yolk of this eggy delight that sits proudly on top of a bed of crisp potatoes fried in Spanish olive oil and tossed in sea salt.
For extra savoury goodness and an authentic taste of Spain, you can add jamón ibérico - traditional cured ham. Madrid serves up some of the best huevos rotos, with places like Casa Lucio preparing this specialty since 1974, feeding some famous faces along the way.
2. Cocido madrileño
As the chillier days draw in, every madrileño will turn to this traditional comfort dish to hit the spot. This stew is the city’s go-to dish, traditionally made from an irresistible blend of vegetables, chickpeas, chorizo sausage and pork. If you’ve worked up an appetite after strolling the streets of Madrid, cocido madrileño is the perfect cure to warm you up and leave you feeling satisfied. The dish is typically served in three courses, first the broth mixed with vermicelli noodles, followed by the vegetables and the perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth meat to finish.
3. Bocadillo de calamares
If you find yourself intertwined in the many side streets of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, you may get an unmistakable whiff of delicious fried squid.
These flour-coated, deep-fried rings of succulent squid are stuffed inside fresh, crusty bread to create the famous bocadillo de calamares.
Grab on the go, or enjoy Spanish-style on a terrace over a couple of ice-cold cervezas. You cannot go wrong with this world-class sandwich.
Some Spaniards top the two-ingredient masterpiece with tomato and paprika puree or alioli (a garlic mayonnaise) - simply perfect.
4. Callos a la madrileña
Another winter staple - this meaty creation consists of flavoursome strips of beef tripe
(stomach), slices of morcilla (blood sausage), and the all-time favourite chorizo sausage.
Many variations add paprika for flavour and smoky depth, creating a sensational aroma and a warm reddish-brown colour. Spaniards have been warding off the winter chills with this classic dish since the 16th century! Today, this tasty bowl of goodness can be seen in every tavern and bar across Madrid during the wintertime.
5. Chocolate con churros
One way to satisfy your sweet tooth in Madrid is by munching on a warm churro. These long curls of fried dough are coated in sugar and best served dipped in indulgent, thick melted chocolate.
There is no ‘correct time’ to get your sugary fix, but many Spaniards can be spotted enjoying this heavenly treat for merienda (mid-morning or afternoon snack time), after a night out, and even sometimes for breakfast. Maybe the perfect way to start the day?
You can hear the crunch of this deep-fried delight in many places in the city’s capital, including some favourites like San Gines.
6. Jamón ibérico
Spain is famed for its fabulous cured meats, with Iberian ham prized as the most sought-
after delicacy. The meat comes from free-range pigs that wander the oak forests located between Spain and Portugal. Their luxurious life, freedom to roam, and natural diet result in this magnificent meat cured for 36 months before being devoured by the masses. The salty, dried meat, which is full of rich flavour, is a must-have accompaniment to a glass of vino tinto on a relaxed evening. Legs of the luxury ham can be seen hanging in restaurants throughout Madrid, like Mercado Jamón Iberico, one of the top stops for the city’s ultimate delicacy.
7. Manchego cheese
This incredible cheese is like no other.
Hailing from the Manchega sheep and produced in the La Mancha area of central Spain, it only gets better with age.
The firm, ivory-coloured delicacy with undertones of fruit, nut and subtle herbs hardens over time, deepening in flavour and only bearing its Manchego title after two months to two years of ageing.
You can enjoy a plate of Manchego cheese drizzled with olive oil and often accompanied by jamón ibérico and crusty bread.
8. Patatas bravas
One simply cannot visit Madrid and order a table full of tapas without making patatas bravas a priority plate. Otherwise known as ‘spicy potatoes’, the cubes of fried potato topped with a spicy tomato-based sauce are a perfect way to add some kick to your day. Amongst other typical foods in Madrid, patatas bravas are a true native to the city since 1542. This is the ideal piping-hot dish to pick at amongst friends under the warm street light of the capital.
9. Gambas al ajillo
For centuries, Madrid has indulged in fresh and plentiful seafood, thanks to its long-standing roads and rail lines built to feed the mouths of the Spanish royalty many years ago. With seafood specialties by the dozen, gambas al ajillo could be the city’s favourite. After the Spanish Civil War, this seafood sensation was created, consisting of juicy prawns sauteed in garlic oil.
The aromas of this classic dish and the sound of sizzling garlic oil will awaken your senses and your appetite. You can even sample it in its place of origin—La Casa del Abuelo.
10. Ensalada navideña de col lombarda
Amongst the fried, baked, roasted, stewed delights of Spanish cuisine, we need something a little lighter to add to the table. That’s why this red cabbage salad scattered with pine nuts is considered one of the must-try foods in Madrid. Prepared, tossed, and served on the table around Christmas time in likely every Madrid home, it’s a traditional festive dish and a delicious one at that.
Grab your knife and fork
When it comes to Spanish food, we’re only scratching the surface of the delicious wonders
that can be discovered in the country’s capital. It’s hard to know where to begin, so pick a
dish and start your culinary journey to Madrid’s finest foods.
Terminal 42 is a prestigious Madrid-based restaurant, bringing you flavour and ideas to get
you excited for your next holiday with their digital magazine ‘Tu Mordisco”. Feast your eyes
on some more devilish dishes.\