Where to eat in Madrid

Updated January 2024


  • You absolutely must eat at La Castela – near Ibiza station(9), east side of Retiro.It’s Michelin Bib Gourmand so don’t just turn up –  make sure you book online. Eat in ‘la barra’ on a ‘mesa alta’ if you can. High tables in the bar area for the full effect!Order about 3 or so dishes to share – highly recommend the Milhojas de ventresca and  Chipirones encebollados… but basically everything on this menu is amazing!

    90 min seating so don’t be late! The waitstaff have a Melbourne attitude but an old school Mediterranean approach… they are awesome but their English is a bit sketchy. You can eat and drink like a king here but will be hard-pressed to spend more than 75€ between two.

  • Another favourite is the best Japanese we’ve ever had… also a Michelin recommendation.  Torikey near Rios Rosas – their English is good and mention you are Australian as they have distant connections (the main maître d’ is Japanese but went to school in Melbourne). Again, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than 60€ on a meal for two here! And it’s incredible! Book online is best.
  • Opposite Torikey is Jimbos the best Texan BBQ I’ve had outside of Texas (and maybe in it!).Book online if you can. That said we found if you just turn up and smile sweetly they’d usually find a way of squeezing you in. Lovely staff… pretty good English.
  • **New addition 2023** La Morena near Plaza de Castilla… come for the incredible food. Stay for the insane bathrooms. (If you know, you know…)

Mercados that have great food 

  • San Miguel is a must.. be warned it can be BUSY! A heap of storefronts had closed as a result of COVID but I believe there are new ones now filling those spots. 
  • San Anton in Chueca is a great easy place for a snack a beer. There is a nice rooftop terrace restaurant here too.
  • I haven’t been but I believe Mercado de Anton Martin and Mercado de Vallehermoso have good food options too. 


Cheap eats

  • Fogg Bar beer & burgers – don’t let the name fool you, these burgers are not just an afterthought. The menu is packed with gourmet-style burgers (the Chevre is my go-to) and butifarras (a.k.a. next-level sausages). Wash it all down with a fantastically curated selection of craft beers from near and far. Dani and his team in Pacifico have recently moved to a bigger place up near Retiro – 3 levels of fun plus a terraza!
  • Casa Mingo traditional roast chicken… old school but delish! Walk it off with stroll down the Manzanares after lunch, but first make sure you check out Goya’s frescos in the chapel San Antonio de la Florida next door.
  • Piri Peri Frango al Carbon – charcoal Portuguese chicken with excellent sides. Good value fast food for takeaway or eat-in (also available on UberEats etc)
  • El Japo in Calle Segasta – good value Japanese with a trendy-vibe. There was a chain of 3 stores but I think covid may have closed the others. The Menu del Día is fantastic value.

… easy lunches?

  •  There are a heap of chain-store options for a quick bite while touristing.
    Look out for Granier for an easy bocadillo (ie. roll filled with a deli meat, cheese and salad combo) and a pastry.
    Rodilla do sandwiches kind of like Prêt-a-manger (but with no crusts… I’m still not sure why?!?)
  • Of course the best lunch is the Menu del Día offered at pretty much every restaurant or bar in the city. They are a cheap and fast option (everything is made and ready to go) but also this is how you are likely to stumble across some amazing Spanish or Latin American home-cooked food.



  • Madrid is well known for its stunning rooftop bars – and there’s no shortage of them in the centre of the city and along Gran Via! Google it… theres dozens of options, though the good ones will want you to pay a couple of hundred euros up front for a reservation.
  • HOWEVER….. if you want rooftop vibes with spectacular views but at department store food-court prices, head to the rooftop at El Corte Ingles Gran Via. Sometimes it can be a little busy but if you lurk for a few minutes you should be able to nab a table outside… just be patient! Cold cervezas, yummy tapas & by-the-slice pizza are the go here. Head into El Corte Ingles and head to the top floor “gourmet experience”
  • **July 2022 update – tried Ella Sky Bar on Gran Via – no reservation, just rocked up around 5pm. Charged 10€ a head at the desk just before the elevator, but that includes 2 drink tokens. There was no one else in the entire place when we arrived, and the views are awesome. The cooling misters on the top deck worked their magic despite the 37 deg heat, so had a few glasses of bubbles as we watched the sun set over Casa del Campo – perfect and cheap!**
  • **Update Sept 2023** – Reservations are expensive at Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes, but they do take walkups. Pay 5€ in the lobby and take the lift to the top for fantastic views to the north and east. On a busy day you will need to wait, but midweek or off season you’ll have no problem heading straight in for a fancy drink and nibbles. 

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