The Flavours of Madrid

  • Casa Labra
  • A little bit of history
  • Savoury dishes
  • Sweet treats
  • Wines
  • Tapas
  • Where to eat out

Until Toledo was seized by King Alfonso VI in the eleventh century, Madrid’s typical dishes were the same as those in the rest of Al Andalus. The local cuisine was varied and flavoursome, based as it was on ingredients such as milk, honey, dates, semolina and cuscus from North Africa, and others that were a direct legacy of region’s Iberian and Roman past.

In the summer of 1561, King Philip II moved the capital of the Kingdom of Spain to Madrid. This historical event had an impact on demographic trends, since soon the population in the city doubled. It also shaped local gastronomy, dividing it into two independent, though not completely isolated, branches: popular and aristocratic cuisine. The distinction between the sophisticated and the humbler kitchens remained in place for about four centuries.

In the nineteenth century, the clear-cut difference started to fade away and there emerged fondas or eateries, taverns and the earliest restaurants in the modern sense of the term. These establishments, along with cafés, inns and tearooms gave shape to the culinary scenario of Madrid at the turn of the century. The typical dishes of this period included cocido de tres vuelcos (chickpea-based stew), soldaditos de Pavía (fried cod in batter), besugo a la madrileña (red bream Madrid-style), potaje de vigilia (cod-based stew) and bartolillos (pastries filled with crème pâtissière).

Currently, a great many establishments keep the peculiar character of Madrid’s cuisine alive, merging long-standing traditions with variegated outside influences.



Make your way up to the observation deck of the former transmissions tower and enjoy a stunning view of the city.

Take in the city's top sights on board our hop on hop off bus, equipped with audio guides in 14 languages.

Come back to Madrid and discover all the exclusive offers the Vuelve a Madrid programme has in store for you.

  • 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
Gourmet Markets
  • One of the most emblematic traditional markets of Madrid converted into a gourmet paradise, close to the Plaza Mayor.

    San Miguel Market
  • The most sophisticated face of gastronomy is found in this modern market in Chueca.

    San Antón Market
  • A new dining space in the Salamanca District.

    Platea Madrid
  • Tradition and innovation in a street market designed to showcase the most select gastronomy.

    San Ildefonso Market
  • Enjoy a new gastronomic experience in the heart of Madrid.

    Gourmet Experience (Callao)
  • El Corte Inglés has opened a seven-star Gourmet Experience right in the heart of Madrid's Golden Mile, at its Serrano 52 store.

    Gourmet Experience (Serrano)
  • Mercado de San Antón
  • Vista de la Plaza de Callao y calle Gran Vía desde Gourmet Experience (Callao)