Out for Tapas in Madrid

  • De tapas por Madrid
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  • De tapas por Madrid
  • What are tapas?
  • Iconic tapas bar
  • Downtown Madrid: Sol, Gran Vía, Austrias...
  • Chueca, Malasaña and Conde-Duque
  • La Latina, Barrio de las Letras and Lavapiés
  • Retiro, Salamanca and Chamberí
  • Further afield

In Madrid and other Spanish regions, tapas are bite-sized snacks served for free with a drink.

This culinary tradition began in the thirteenth century, when King Alfonso X of Castile issued an order for taverns and inns to serve alcohol with a small helping of food, in an effort to reduce the number of drunkards on the streets. According to other sources, a slice of bread was used to prevent dust or flies from landing inside wine pitchers, and this was the origin of the noun ‘tapa’ in its culinary sense (for ‘tapa’ means lid in Spanish).

Most bars offer a saucer with olives, chips, nuts or a slice of bread with a cold cut on top. In others, however, tapas have grown in size and become more sophisticated, transformed into a unique culinary experience in their own right.

In addition to the tapas that come with your drink, you can order a ración or a media ración to share (at a charge, this time). Madrid classics include patatas bravas (deep-fried potato cubes in a spicy sauce), Spanish omelette, croquettes, aged cheese or Ibérico sausage.

What about drinks? When you go out for tapas in Madrid, these are the most popular choices:

  • Caña: Beer in a tall, thin glass about 20 cl in volume. Madrid’s baristas are well-trained in the art of ‘tirar la caña’ – that is, serving draft beer.
  • Chato: Wine in a small glass. Madrid offers a wide range of local wines, as well as world-class labels from all over the country.
  • Vermú: Spanish vermouth is herb-marinated wine (Mediterranean herbs, especially wormwood). In traditional bars, it’s poured from the tap.


Savoury dishes and sweets, tapas and local wines. What and where to eat in Madrid.

Madrid is brimming with revamped markets where locals do their weekly shopping and meet friends for a drink and a bite to eat.

  • Find out why Spaniards tend to eat later than the rest of the continent, when it's traditional to munch on a "saint's bones" and where you take in a flamenco show with a drink or a meal

    Eating in Madrid (PDF)
  • Guide Eating in Madrid
  • Madrid, capital gastronómica de Sudamérica

and also

  • There are many restaurants that close well into the early hours to satisfy the appetites of night owls.

    Late dining in Madrid
  • La Primera


The city’s new official sightseeing and tourist travel pass.

An observation deck at 92 metres.

Our online store (in Spanish) sells artisan souvenirs.