When visiting Madrid, the Spanish capital, you will quickly discover that food is a huge part f the culture. And oddly enough, even though Madrid is in the middle of the country, hundreds of miles from the sea, seafood place a big part of their diet. Fresh vegetables, homemade bread, and pork are the other staples of any good meal in Madrid.
And of course, there are certain dishes that are must-tries like Cocido Madrileño (pork stew chorizo sausage & chickpeas) and paella Madrid with clams, shrimp, and chorizo. Madrid is a city of savory dishes that make you feel warm inside and sweets that will have your taste buds jumping with delight.
One thing you don't want to be doing is carrying your luggage while you are sampling the local cuisine. So you will need to store it someplace safe and secure, like one of our convenient Madrid luggage storage locations.
The best street food vendors in Madrid
Street food abounds in the city of Madrid, and it is hard to know just who has the best, so we put together a list of the very best for you to try while visiting the Spanish capital.
Everyone knows there is a friendly rivalry between Spain and Italy in football (soccer), but did you know it extends to food too? Spanish food is full of spice and flavor, but when it comes to pizza, the Italians win. This is very evident by the popularity of Il Siciliano. The authentic Italian pizza house has five establishments to eat at around Madrid.
The franchise's mission is to give you the true taste of Southern Italy while bringing dignity to the urban pizza business. And they have succeeded with great traditional style pizza at very reasonable prices.
Tasty Poke Bar
Bet you never thought you would find a touch of Hawaii in Madrid? Although poke is from Hawaiian culture, it was inspired by Japan. The trending modern food fashion is towards a healthier, eco-friendly diet, which is exactly what poke gives you in all ten of its locations throughout the city.
The menu at Tasty Poke allows you to choose your ingredients from foods such as rice, mixed greens, different proteins, spices, plus special house sauce. You can try as many variations as you can think of to keep it interesting. Healthy, cheap, and fresh, it's a winning combination that has all the makings of a great meal.
This is not your traditional Japanese restaurant. Combining the exotic flavors of the East with traditional Spanish cuisine is what sets this restaurant apart. This mix of Japanese and Spanish food is referred to as "Japo Castizo". Ramen, croquettes, tasty gyoza, and a most delicious brownie are just a few of their incredible dishes.
More than great street food, this is some of the best food you will find in Madrid. Located near Plaza de la Paja, there is no place better to wander around and explore after a good meal. With fancy decor, a good ambiance, reasonable prices, and great food, you really can't go wrong.
The most famous sandwich in Madrid is the bocadillo de calamares, or calamari sandwich, and if you are a foodie, it is an absolute must that you have one. This is the perfect spot to satisfy the squidy urge. Here, the squid is fried to a nice tender chew, and the artisan bread is always fresh. Add a cold beer, and you have a fantastic traditional meal of Madrid.
The no-frills bar is always busy with the locals of Madrid and tourists alike, so you know the food is good. Situated in Plaza Mayor, you can enjoy your food while watching the street performers. The prices for the iconic deep-fried squid sandwich can vary throughout Madrid, but here it is quite cheap. Food and a show, now that is how lunch should be.
Paperboy Perrito Bar
Hot dogs! That's right, hot dogs in Madrid. But not just an average hot dog; these are some of the best you will ever have. There are several types to choose from, frankfurters, bratwurst, Chicago style, frikandel, or tofu. They are boiled, lightly fried, and then topped with a variety of flavorful toppings to give them an exotic and delicious touch.
Chef Alfonso Bortone also brings his native Venezuela to Spain with the famous Venezuelan tequeños (fried cheese sticks) as one of the side dishes.... yummy! Along with all the great toppings, the dogs are always served on fresh homemade buns. And the prices are so good here that after paying for your food, you will still have enough for even more souvenirs.
Medri, El Mundo tiramisú
Opened in 2013 by Italian pastry chef Luca Medri, this slice of Italy has become a must for tiramisu lovers. Most people know the traditional dessert with coffee, but did you know it comes in a variety of flavors? At Medri, you will find the best tiramisu in Madrid in such flavors as strawberry, nougat, and Oreo cookie.
But beyond the old Italian friend, Medri serves up cannoli and some of the most charming desserts to really sink your teeth into. To compliment your dessert try one of their natural juices, tea, or great coffee. Now that pastries have joined the other street food in Madrid you can get yourself a nice sweet treat as you explore this amazing city, whether it be on foot or otherwise.
The Mint Roof
Located on the roof of a hotel, you may not think it would qualify as street food. However, the Mint Roof terrace actually has a food truck on the roof serving some great international street food. Dim sum from Asia, American Hamburgers, and Vietnamese spring rolls can all be found on the menu. The funky bar also just happens to have some of the best cocktails in Madrid.
Relaxing high on the Gran Vía with a cocktail and one of the best views of the sunset, there might not be a better place in Madrid to enjoy street food. There is a catch though; it is only open from the beginning of May to the end of October. You don't even need to be a guest of the hotel as this hidden gem is open to the public.
Munchies Hot Dog
If you are craving American classics, wander down to the central Literary Quarter in Madrid, where you will find this fast food joint serving up the guilty pleasures you are looking for. They have hot dogs loaded with toppings, single or double hamburgers oozing with cheese and caramelized onions, and crunchy cheesy nachos. You can finish off the meal with a slice of chocolate cake. Is your mouth watering yet?
They have a healthy vegan and vegetarian selection on the menu as well. You won't be disappointed with the service either, with one of the friendliest staff in Madrid. True to the name, Munchies is open late for when you... well, have the munchies.
As the name would suggest, they specialize in sandwiches but not any kind - original sandwiches and gourmet hamburgers from Chile on fresh homemade bread. In fact, all the food is made from the freshest ingredients. One bite of their empanadas, and you will fall in love with this small corner of Chile in the Malasaña neighborhood of Madrid.
Trying the ceviche and pisco sours completes the true Chilean experience. San Wich has two spacious floors where you can sit and enjoy a great meal and friendly service, or you can get it to go and enjoy it on your adventures through Madrid.
The Mercado de San Miguel
Are you out shopping for bargains and fun souvenirs? While other street food spots on this list are single establishments, the Merco de San Miguel is a market that houses over 30 food stalls. You can wander the market picking up fresh fish and vegetables or grab some cured ham, a nice aged cheese, and freshly baked bread and have yourself a picnic in one of the nearby parks.
If you feel a little more adventurous, try some Callos a la Madrileña (stewed tripe) or Oreja a la plancha (grilled pig ear). Don't knock it until you have tried it. These flavorful dishes are the heart of Madrid cuisine.
Where to find the best Madrid street food spots
Food is at the heart of Spain and in particular Madrid. There are so many restaurants, tapas bars, markets, now food trucks that it is hard to know which area has the best street food in Madrid. The answer is pretty much all of them, but here are a few that stand out.
Malasaña has become the hippest place to hang out, especially along Calle de la Palma. The area has become a hotspot for fashion, nightlife, and, of course, street food establishments. In this mecca of markets and street vendors, you will whatever your stomach is rumbling for.
The Literary Quarter
Even though it is located close to the busy center of Madrid, you will feel like you are worlds away. Calle de Jesuś is the street to be on to satisfy your hunger, it is packed with tapas bars. The neighborhood is also a great place to check out the wine scene of Madrid.
It seems to be harder to find good authentic dishes in the center of Madrid, but if you head to Plaza Mayor, you will still find the locals enjoying bocadillo de calamares, just head down the side streets.
In this odd-shaped square, you find the Plaza de la Cebada. The market is loaded with restaurants, shops, and food stalls to satisfy all of your needs. Whether you are looking for something more traditional like huevos rotos (deep-fried potatoes in Spanish olive oil and then sprinkled with sea salt) or Churros con chocolate, you will find it here.
Street food festivals in Madrid
The Spanish love to eat. With food that is so rich and full of flavor, it is easy to understand why. The people of Spain also love to have fun, so it would make sense to combine the two in some awesome food festivals. The last thing you want to do is miss out on the experience to attend one of the festivals, so while you are in Madrid, here are some festivals to check out.
Since 2009 this celebration has grown and now is not just about food, but culture too. For 16 days that span from January and February, over 400 restaurants, cooking schools, cultural institutions, fashion stores, and others join together and put on special menus. You can attend interactive workshops, discussions, guided tours, and much, much more.
If you want to really know what Spanish fare is all about in Madrid, you need to check out this festival.
On the third weekend of each month head to the AZCA Plaza where a plethora of street food establishments and street vendors all come together under one roof. This unique atmosphere gives people a chance to sample a variety of dishes from some of the best chefs in Madrid. The servings are small portions, so you will have ample room to eat a greater selection.
Visit Madrid and Enjoy the Foodie Experience
As you can see, the philosophy of Madrid is EAT! This city loves their food; it is a part of them, it is their history and culture, it is something that defines them. So how can you visit a city like this and not let yourself be immersed in philosophy like that?