Food is of utmost importance to me, and when moving to a new place, I make it a point to figure out great places to eat so I can share with others coming to visit. I was lucky to have met like-minded foodie friends when I first moved to Spain. Spanish food is great and all, but who doesn’t love discovering new and delicious places to consume some calories and check out the scene. While I will continue to update this lists as my stomach encounters more delicious spots, here are a few places I recommend if you’re looking to change up your cuisine while visiting Madrid:
If you have ever tried Georgian food, you may already know that it is ridiculously delicious. While living in Moscow, I had my fair share of Georgian food because the cuisine was offered on every corner. But in Madrid, I was limited to just ONE restaurant that shared a bit of motherland cooking – and thank goodness it’s REALLY good. The owners are Georgian and the staff speaks Russian.
Dishes to try: The Georgian pizza dish called Khachapuri “po-mengrelski”. Try the Khachapuri “po-adjarski”, which is a similar food but with an egg baked on top of what looks like a breaded ‘eye’. The pork and meat dumpings Khinkali are amazing. And finally, the mixed salad eggplant and red pepper, coated with a spiced nut sauce.
As you may surmise by its name, Canadiense boats dishes from Canada with a key ingredient made famous in its homeland: Maple Syrup! Seriously though, most of their dishes incorporate maple syrup (or ‘arce’ in Spanish). Don’t let that put you off – the food here is delicious.
Dishes to try: The Canadian “Canadian Burger” on a brioche bun, braised ribs and chicken popcorn, sweet potato fries.
- Peko Peko
Feeling like flavorful asian street food with a Spanish twist? Then this is your place. The portions are quite small, so you can try an assortment of things! The ambience of the place is pretty interesting – at first glance it looks like a fast food (or street food) joint, but it’s pretty well designed and most importantly, tasty.
Dishes to try: Miso Curry, Gyozilla, Light and fluffy Bao buns and Kimchadillas (a Kimchi twist to the Mexican quesadilla).
- La Huerta de Almeria
I recently discovered this grocery store/quick bite restaurant, in an effort to get back in shape for the summer. I wanted a place where I could buy healthy, prepared foods besides just salads, and this place had a good selections of yummy alternatives. Their fresh squeezed juices are also a welcoming refreshment, especially during the hot Madrid summers.
Dishes to try: Tex-Mex wrap; any of the fresh-squeezed juices (my favorite was the strawberry, mango and orange; and one of their homemade vegan carrot cakes.
- Apartaco for a twist on Venezuelan cuisine
Madrid has a large Venezuelan population, and luckily their locale cuisine is plentiful around here! In fact, I hadn’t tried Venezuelan food before moving here, and I certainly am not sick of it yet. Apartaco bring authentic Venezuelan cuisine, both simple and delicious, that satisfies your taste buds – and it has vegetarians options!
Dishes to try: Tequeños, arepas (of course!), tostones (fright bananas covered in guac, salsa and cheese), and llanero a la plancha (which looks like lasagna).
- Habanera for a Spanish-style brunch
The brunch culture has caught on in Madrid, but I don’t think quite to an extent yet as in the U.S. I struggled for a while to find a decent brunch spot that really impressed me, but I finally found one! Habanera not only has a gorgeous colonial interior and is immaculately decorated, but its brunch food is so delicious. Be sure to make a reservation – this place books up quick!
Dishes to try: I highly recommend getting the set brunch menu (for 2 pax minimum), which includes everything you could ever want, from croissants to poached eggs. Then try the La Habanera eggs benedict, a twist on the original recipe with a Venezuelan arepa. And for sweets, be sure to try the Tortitas americanas (cupcakes) soaked in a Nutella mouse and sprinkled with berries and chocolate candies.
- Socarrat for authentic Valencian paella
Paella is a notoriously delicious Spanish dish, but it tends to be two things: seafood and GIANT portions (2-4 persons). Finally, I have discovered a delicious and authentic paella restaurant with perfect single portions in many flavors, including meat and vegetable, AND the vibe is great! The paella is savory for a great price (8€). You’ll be full for the entire day!
Dishes to try: The traditional Paella Valenciana (chicken, rabbit, artichoke, carob, rosemary) is a hit for the non-seafood lovers. From the sea, be sure to try Arroz a Banda (an array of seafood, calamari) or Arroz Negro (black rice, squid and a seafood medley).
- Bump Green – healthy and tasteful
Looking to enjoy gluten-free, vegan, green options? Check out Bump Green – it’s super tasty and innovative ways to eat clean. Very nice staff and cool, green interior.
- Toast Cafe for brunch, because you can never have too much brunch
When you begin to miss good ol’ brunch from the States, head to Toast Cafe, where you can get a very fulfilling brunch menu for 16€. This includes two courses with a coffee and orange juice. And bonus: if you’re a beer lover, this is a bottle craft joint!
Dishes to try: Definitely the pancakes and french toast, which you can top with seasonal fruits and syrup. I also am a huge burrito lover, and this place has a legit breakfast burrito! The eggs benedict with salmon are also worth trying.