In our eyes, Madrid has more dogs walking on the streets and more places to eat and drink per capita than most other cities. Most of the shops are open in the morning, close for siesta from about 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, and are open again from 5:00 to 9:00. Restaurants follow the morning schedule but don’t open for evening meals until 9:00 in the evening. Of course, you can get coffee, beer, wine, and tapas at any time in the cafes and cafeterias.
We think we figured out how eating works in Spain: there are platos, raciones, tapas and bocadillos, all of which are different sized servings of fish, meat, eggs, and cheese. All delicious…..if you check out the translation book for what is really being ordered.
It's a fact that Madrileños love to stay out really late. They eat, they drink and dance till the wee hours, and then they eat chocolate con churros. (I guess they just dance off the fat.)
San Gines is a famous churreria. (Go on, try to pronounce that!) On our big night out in Madrid, it was our last stop. Sure we hadn't danced and drunk till dawn, but that didn't stop us!
Personally, I don't like churros and am not a huge chocolate fan, so I passed. However, most of my friends indulged and apparently, they liked them!
I remember eating churros first in my home town when I was a kid. Those days they sold them with sugar on top. Nowadays there's a place called Soleil where you can buy them with vanilla cream, apple, nutella, etc. fillings.
You might be wondering, what is "churros"? A churro is a pastry made of fried dough. This dough has flour, oil, sugar and salt. The dough is then mixed and squeezed out of a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle (much like those used when putting the frost on cakes). You can also find them with fillings like those above.
In Spain they're traditionally eaten at breakfast with hot cocoa but they can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Another sweet I grew up seeing my dad eating is turrón. I never liked it and IMO it's an acquired taste. A turrón is best explained as hard nougat mixed with toasted almonds, sugar, egg white and honey. Turrón is a seasonal sweet and it's consumed during Christmas, but I managed to find some at the tax free shop at Barajas airport in June, which I sent to my dad as Father's day present.
Museo del Jamon (Museum of ham) is a shop, where you can buy a lot of types of meat, especially ham, dried meat and so on. I dont know even all these types of meat, but i tried one and it is delicious. For sure, it is a good experience to visit the museum, but be ready for the strong smell of the meat.
One of the attractions in Madrid are the famous squid sandwich, yeah ! seems weird because i guess that sort of sandwich just exists in the capital.. but its true.. its quite good, a little bit dry and tasteless but enjoyable.. and closer to Plaza Mayor will get it for 2 eur .. its just a deal !!
if u are coming in fall season to Madrid or other places in spain.. will find lots of street vendors selling chestnuts and sweet potato (tuber family) really good and healthy !!
this picture is an exemple located in Plaza de España
Tapas is one of the dishes that people think of when they think of Spanish cuisine. Tapas are appetizers that are essentially served together with a drink.
Its name comes from the Spanish verb tapar which means to cover and there are some stories about how this dish became what it is today. One says that the King Alfonso X needed to take some wine sips as a prescription to a disease he had and that he had to eat small dishes together with the wine between hours, to "cover" the effects of alcohol. When he got better he ordered that wine was not to be served without a small ration of food. Another story says that tapas were "created" to prevent flies or other insects to get into the wine glasses between sips.
Nowadays tapas are enjoyed and the variations of tapas dishes are endless, being some of the most popular or traditional: olives, calamares (squid rings), gambas either al ajillo or with salsa negra (prawns with garlic or peppercorn sauce), meat balls, serrano ham, manchego cheese, chorizo, croquetas (made of fish or chicken), patatas bravas (potato dices served with spicy tomato sauce) and tortilla española (Spanish omelette).
A little plate of tapas is called porción. If you want to have a bigger plate or if you want to have a tapas dinner then ask for a ración (big tapas plate) or a media ración (half a big tapas plate) if you're not that hungry but want more than a porción.
The spanish eat unusually late compared to most of us. Eatting dinner between 17:00 and 21:00 most places will seem like touristy places as the locals only leave work at 19:00. Try waiting a bit longer and eat with the locals after 21:30. Teraces are expensive compared to sitting at the bar or inside as they do not own them........they rent them and need to recover the difference. Remember that for the Spanish, lunch is a 3 course meal and dinner is late or light.
Pan con tomate was something I saw many Spaniards eat for breakfast. It's toasted bread with crushed tomatoes and olive oil. I tried and it was yummy! Pan con tomate can also be an appetizer or part of a tapas dish.
It’s a small Spanish savoury dish, usually served with a beer or wine, normally appetizer but sometimes replacing the meal. This habit originates from the XIIIth century when King Alfonso X obliged innkeepers to serve a bite to eat to reduce the effect of alcohol.
Most common tapas are Patatas bravas (potatoes with spicy sauce), paella from Valencia, octopus from Galicia, patatas alioli (potatoes with garlic mayonnaise), olives and cured ham.
Don't miss this tasty and very typical, but little-known-to-tourists, snack. All around the Plaza Mayor, and Atocha train station, you´ll see signs for "Bocadillos de Calamares," or Calamari sandwiches! It might sound strange, but try it with a cold beer and you've got a cheap lunch. Bocadillos should be around €2.00 or €2.50. They might be more expensive right inside Plaza Mayor.
Churros are Spanish native, fried type of doughnuts coated with sugar powder and dipped in thick, hot chocolate. It's a very popular snack that Spaniards eat on early morning of January first after all the crazy New Year parties are over. Churros can be found at street stands all year round, but as a traditional winter, New Year's snack it tastes better than ever especially because they're served hot and help to deal with cold weather. Don't worry if you didn't find a street vendor, although it's impossible to miss them, be sure that every Spanish city will have "Churreria" - Churros cafe.
The Tapas, which go perfect with wine (vin blanco was choice!), are usually lined up on top of what resembles an American deli counter or are right on the bar. The sampling is a great way to experiment with all the different foods.
I discovered that you would pay when you were finished and you would tell the server or bartender how many tapas you had and they would charge accordingly. Don't scarff down too many though, at a couple euros each more than a few can add up quickly.
Most restaurants have a menu del dia (menu of the day) a three course menu with a cheap fixed prize. On all the bills there is 7 percent IVA (tax) its not common to tip. Most restaurants accept visa or mastercard. Its of big importancethat you make a reservation for the restaurant in advance especially for the trendy ones like in chueca, you can do this by telephone. In Spain the gouvernment is on about a campaign to supress smoking, and in one year from now it ll be forbidden in most of the restaurants.
Madrilenes are used to spend their time moslty out side doors at the pubs, tapas bars and restauarants with their family, friends or co-workers. The many local pictorseque tabernas arevery popular amongst the locals and amongst them are the eldest ones in Europe. Service is often very fast and the quality of the food is -- either if the restaurant is a cheap one or expensive one -- supurb. There are hundreds of bistro's and restaurants varying from cheap ones where you can have a dinner for about 5 euro upto one of the best restaurants in Europe. Nowadays Asians are running some of the more popular restaurants in chueca as well Bask people are known as the best coocks in Madrid. Of course there also fast food restaurants, like the international ones but also the spanish ones like Pans and Co or Telechef. In the bistro you willmostly find the menu, which is meant as the dish of the day, and is cheap. In the restaurant you get the carta, which is the list of specialties, starting with the sopas (soups) ensalades (salads), tortillas (omlets), verduras (vetgetables), plato principal (main dish: meat or fish) and the postre (desert)