Typical dishes you should try when you visit Madrid

We have discussed on several occasions the best places to visit in Madrid, all its must-sees and the hidden corners to explore in order to get to know the Community of Madrid. In fact, it is thanks to those unknown places and the details they hide that we can fully experience the essence of the capital of Spain. We have talked at length about museums, streets, squares and gardens, theatres and culture, and we have also gone through its history. But today we will address a different aspect of Madrid, something equally important: the typical dishes from Madrid you should try when you visit Spain’s capital.

Typical dishes from Madrid you cannot miss when you visit Spain’s capital

Cocido madrileño, a typical dish from Madrid

Cocido madrileño. | Shutterstock

We will begin with the most popular dish from Madrid: the typical cocido madrileño. Madrid is not the only place in Spain where you can eat it, but it has some unique traits. The cocido is a stew with broth, noodles, chickpeas, vegetables and different kinds of meat. Its origin is quite humble: people made it to use the leftover foods they had around the kitchen. It is usually served in three batches: first the noodle soup, then the chickpeas with vegetables and, lastly, the meat. However, this can vary and one can adapt it to their own taste. For instance, you can eat the noodle soup and the chickpeas together, or the chickpeas and the meat, however you like it best.

Callos a la madrileña

Callos a la madrileña. | Shutterstock

Next up, we have the callos a la madrileña, probably the most peculiar dish of Madrid’s gastronomy. Not everyone will like it, though. The callos are made of animal tripe, usually with cow or lamb tripe. People eat them with black pudding and chorizo, as well as tomato sauce and paprika. Just like the cocido, this dish has a humble origin. In other places of Spain, the dish of callos also comes with chickpeas and pepper, and Madrid’s version, callos a la madrileña, is slightly different. There is another similar dish in Madrid, called gallinejas, which is made of lamb’s guts. They are fried and eaten alone or with chips. This dish is really typical in the festival of San Isidro in Madrid.

Lastly, we will discuss another popular dish of Madrid’s cuisine: the bocadillo de calamares. We cannot trace the exact origin of Madrid’s typical squid sandwich, but we do know that, just like the other dishes, it has a humble origin. When you visit Madrid, you might notice that the streets of Spain’s capital always smell like fried squid, and it has been like that for a couple of centuries now.

Enjoying the best tapas in Madrid

Patatas bravas, a typical Spanish tapa

Patatas bravas. | Shutterstock

There are many traditional tapas in Madrid, and trying them is a nice way of tasting the essence of the city. For a starter, we have the huevos estrellados, a simple yet delicious dish that originated in Casa Lucio, one of the most authentic restaurants in Madrid. The recipe is fairly simple too: fried egg and potatoes, all scrambled, and maybe accompanied by ham.

A must in Casa Labra are its cod croquettes, and if you come to the bar called Docamar, you should definitely try its patatas bravas, although both can be enjoyed in most tapas bars of Madrid. Other typical dishes include oreja a la plancha (“grilled ear”) and morro a la brasa (“grilled snout”), but just like the callos and the gallinejas, they are not for everyone, and some people might even find them disgusting.

And to drink…

It is typical to drink Chinchón in Madrid

It is typical to drink Chinchón in Madrid. | Shutterstock

There are different options of drinks to order with the tapas. For instance, we have the chinchón, a liquor similar to anise people usually drink after lunch. Even though it did not originate in Madrid, the vermú is a must when we are in Spain’s capital city. There are many bars, particularly so in Madrid’s city centre, where we can enjoy the best versions of this beverage.

Sweet treats from Madrid


It is typical to eat rosquillas during the festival of San Isidro. | Shutterstock

The most beloved sweet in Madrid is probably the rosquillas, and there are two main types: the listas (“smart”) and the tontas (“dumb”). The tontas are not coated, whereas the listas have a top coat made of eggs, sugar and lemon. They are mostly eaten in May, although bakeries already start making them during the Holy Week. No matter the time of the year, any tourist visiting Madrid should make a stop at the coffee shop of San Ginés and enjoy some nice chocolate con churros, the most typical breakfast or merienda of the capital.

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