Hola amigos! Are you planning a trip to Madrid? Are you wondering what and where to eat? No worries, I got your back. Here is a list of the top 10 cheap eats/snacks you can find in the sunny capital of Spain. They all happen to be vegetarian.
I’ve just come back from a relaxing weekend abroad in Madrid – the entire sentence makes me feel so smug and so lucky at the same time. This was the first weekend abroad we have spent since 2019 and I savoured every moment. Literally savoured, snacking my way through key attractions and beautiful views.
Tortilla de patatas – Taberna El Buo
Our first stop is Taberna El Buo, in the buzzy Latina district. You can find tortilla de patatas in any bar, but if you want to indulge in extra-large portions and choose among many condiments (such as guacamole, three cheeses, onions), this is your place.
Tortilla de patatas is an amazing tapa made of generous layers of potatoes and eggs. It is served with tomato sauce for an acidic twist. Order a regular one for two or a mini size for one – solo travellers you are not forgotten. Prices are around £10 – £15 depending on size.
Tapas – El minibar
We are not walking very far, still in Latina, to enjoy more delicious tapas at El minibar. This place has mouth-watering tapas – all ranging between 4 – 6 euros. The vegetarian option could be improved but this is made up for by the kindness of the waiters and jolly décor.
We had sangria, croquettes (in a nutshell: fried potato balls), and delicious aubergine rolls with cheese and a sauce of tomato and orange…ah bring me back!
Vermut – Vermuteria La Bolita Negra
When in Madrid, you can’t have lunch if you haven’t sipped some delicious vermut first! Every time we visit a country, we need to embrace its customs, so you are much obliged to try out this fortified and sweet wine. They serve it with plenty of ice, a wedge of orange, and an olive for a bit of fun.
This vermuteria is also in Latina and they serve the wine with some complimentary snacks, all for 2.50 euros per glass.
Churros and chocolate – Chocolatería San Ginés
Imagine a world where you can have crunchy churros and caliente chocolate for breakfast or midnight snack, every. single. day. Dreams come true in Spain and you can treat yourself to this delicacy in many places around Madrid. San Ginés is the most famous one delighting its customers with fried happiness since 1894.
Don’t forget to try porras, the thicker and longer version of the most commonly known churros.
Chocolate and churros is around 5 euros.
Napolitana – La Mallorquina
This is the most delicious thing I have eaten in Spain – hands down. Think about pan au chocolat, multiple the chocolate filling by a thousand, now you have napolitana. What was my life before you?
One bite in, the chocolate will dance on your tongue embraced in its perfectly balanced pastry case
No more comments, please La Mallorquina open a branch in London. I need you.
1.50 euro for infinite joy.
Crisps – Las 4 fanegas
I know you think I am crazy suggesting crisps as a special snack to get in Madrid?! Well, I challenge you! Just outside Mercado de la Cebada, there is a tiny shop selling all sorts of salty snacks – including a huge pile of the crispiest, perfectly salted, hand-sized, bright yellow crisps directly placed on the counter. It’s 1 euro for 125 g.
We were wandering around El Rastro when I noticed a few people walking by and eating crisps from white and red striped bags…no snack passes by me unnoticed. I run and stopped a couple to get directions to this snack heaven.
You can thank me later.
Pickled olives and vegetables in oil extravaganza – Aceitunas Jiménez
In the heart of El Rastro, you will find a shop selling all sorts of vegetables soaked in oil or vinegard – massive olives, aubergines, artichokes, garlic to name a few.
They also sell Gazpacho in cups, but we haven’t tried it so not sure how it tastes – let me know if you give it a go!
A Spanish friend told me that these places are pretty common in Spain – please adopt me!
Empanadas – Filify
Heading to Lavapiés, the most multicultural district of Madrid, and near the Reina Sofia Art Museum, you’ll find this cosy café in red selling tiny but mighty empanadas. They even have vegan ones! I was admiring their windows filled with the biggest cinnamon rolls (topped with cream and biscoff because why not!) when these cute empanadas, and a very friendly waiter, started to call me in.
The empanadas did not disappoint, although the price wasn’t equally charming – they are around 3 euros each.
Torrons – Vicens
Now, this is a controversial recommendation. I am Italian and I believe we invented nougats, not these Spanish imposters, but I must admit their torrons is pretty awesome and worth a mention.
You’ll find the Vicens shops all around town tempting you with rows of nougats and chocolate bars. There is no flavour they haven’t thought of. I strongly recommend the ‘Gema Cremada’ one (something like Burnt Egg Yolk Nougat).
I haven’t told you this, but they give you free samples every time you came in. We might or might have not done multiple rounds.
A bar of amazing nougat (500g) is around 10 euros.
Torrijas, Horno La Santiaguesa
Finishing off on a sweet note, you’ll find this local traditional bakery on your way to the Royal Palace.
The inebriating smell of pastries will make you almost faint as you step in. Discover traditional pastries, like the beautifully intricated Flores de Azucar or the simple and hearty Torrijas (a cross between French toast and bread pudding), for the ultimate bliss.
This is a very reductive sample of what the city has to offer, delicious food awaits at every corner. Don’t forget to get a ‘clara’, beer mixed with lemonade – thank you Laura for the great tip!
I hope you can soon visit Madrid and taste all its wonders.