Out for Tapas in Madrid

  • Tapas
    tapas_azca_1404288386.26.jpg
  • 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.

DON’T MISS

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

Savoury dishes and sweets, tapas and wines of the land. What and where to eat in Madrid.

  • 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)
  • Eating in Madrid
Advertisement

OFFICIAL PRODUCTS

Make your way up to the observation deck for stunning views of the city.

Climb on board and discover the city in a panoramic format.

There are all kinds of things to do in Madrid, but some of them are not to be missed! Find out more!