As Spain’s capital city, it’s no surprise that Madrid is fantastic for food. The Spanish are fiercely proud and patriotic when it comes to their cuisine, whether it’s explosively colourful paella, simple yet strategic tapas or combinations of bread and tomato (pa amb tomaquet) which still manage to be flavourful and memorable.
Part of what makes exploring any city fun is the opportunity to know the city and its people through its food. After all, food tells us so much about the history, culture and even priorities of the people. The Spanish have a great love affair with their food, steeping the entire day around the needs of the stomach.
Meandering around Madrid means never having to stress about hunger. There is something to satiate you at every turn.
San Miguel Market
The San Miguel Market is a large indoor market located in the very centre of Madrid. As a result of its placement, its immensely popular with tourists who flock to every counter for a taste of tapas. If you’re new in town, this is a wonderful introduction to some of the staples of the Spanish diet.
There are endless olives brimming with cheese, ham, sundried tomatoes and anchovies, naturally generously drizzled with olive oil.
For sweet toothed travellers, there is an entire counter dedicated to chocolate and of course, to the churro.
One of my favourite stands is the salmon stand, located to the back of the market. Here you can purchase salmon in pretty much any form.
Those who know me by now will know that although I am not emphatically vegan or vegetarian, I try to eat primarily vegan/vegetarian as often as I can. This involves seeking out vegan restaurants in every new city I travel to.
Fortunately, Madrid, despite its origins as a carnivorous city, has embraced the vegan wave and there are a large number of vegan restaurants throughout the city.
Bunny’s Deli is a very small but cosy option. I was drawn inside by the relaxed Yorkshire Terrier lolling about on a bench outside. I started by ordering the avocado toast, which I imagine I consume more often than cats eat cat food, but the food was so good that I ended up ordering the tomato toast too.
As a word of warning, it’s best to book as this restaurant becomes full very quickly. It works as follows, you can either order the salad or the dish of the day, both of which are served with bread, a starter and a drink of your choice. I opted for the dish of the day, and naturally had dessert afterwards. This is a great place to bring anyone who would claim that vegan food is ‘not filling.’
Pura Vida Vegan Bar
I would describe this as a vegan pizzeria, which also serves salads, croquettes and other dishes. You also get a complimentary piece of bread with marinated zucchini, which is surprisingly delicious. In fact, this is one thing I love about Spanish food. It’s quite easy to meet your quotient of vegetables in a day. If in doubt, just throw it on a piece of bread.
Chocolateria San Gines
Recommended to me by a friend living in Spain, here you can indulge your chocolate hedonism. You can order a mammoth six churros and dip them into your heavenly hot chocolate. Some may argue six churros should be shared. I’d respectfully disagree…
Of course, these are just some of the delectable options that Madrid has to offer to weary travellers. I am sure you will find your own way to devour Madrid. Make sure you come back and share your finds with me!
All my love