In Spain, it’s all about the tapas – little bite-sized pieces of culinary heaven, from the very simple, classically Spanish patatas bravas, to more complex and nuanced dishes like seared foie gras over onion confit. You can find an abundant selection everywhere in Spain, especially in Madrid. One of the best areas of the city is along Calle de Cava Baja, where one tapas bar after another lines the street.
So grab cheap flights to Madrid, and then head to one these tapas bars for some of Spain’s culinary wonders.
Txakolina: Located on Calle de Cava Baja 26, Txakolina is a small spot that stays crowded virtually all day. Here you’ll find everything served on sliced baguettes, as it’s done in the northern Basque regions of the country. Go for the grilled chicken in a tangy sauce or the small chorizo wrapped in potato and topped with quail egg, or try the ubiquitous salt cod. Prices range from 2-3 euro for most tapas.
Taberna Tempranillo: Just up the street on Calle de Cava Baja 38, Taberna Tempranillo is part lively tapas bar, part chic restaurant. Offering larger portions as well as small tasty tapas, the menu ranges from blue cheese and endive tapas to a heaping portion of fries topped with fried egg and seared foie gras. They also have an extensive wine list, with reasonable pricey and quick service.
Casa de Abuelo: For some of the best seafood in Madrid, check out Casa de Abuelo (which now has multiple locations throughout the city). The menu is short and to the point and all about seafood. Try the shrimp cooked in oil, butter and garlic, or or go for the giant crab claws cooked on the grill. Everything is served with heaping baskets of bread to soak up the sauce and wines, beers, and vermut (on tap) and the prices are cheap in this small, standing-room only bar.
Lateral: With multiple locations, Lateral offers quality tapas in a sleek, sexy space for reasonable prices. Croquetas, meatballs, and tapas like sirloin topped with brie range from 2-6 euros and house wines start at under 3 euros so you can sample quite a bit on a smaller budget.
Mercado de San Miguel: The Mercado de San Miguel isn’t actually a tapas bar, it’s a market. But it’s one of the most popular spots for tapas in Madrid, among both locals and residents. Bustling market by day, it becomes a lively tapas smorgasbord at night, as people wander from stall to stall sampling jamon, cheese, oysters and more unusual offerings like empanadas (pasties), all washed down with wine, cava, or vermut. The market is open late on weekends, until 2am (though many food vendors close earlier).
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