Unlike those in León, Madrid’s tapas are not free. This makes the ordering process slightly trickier, because you are not simply handed a nibble or two. It took me a while to get the hang of ordering food in Madrid, but now I feel comfortable around a tapas menu. To clarify–if you go to a bar and want a bite to eat, there are two choices: a) the TAPA, which is usually something quite small [read: olives. potato chips. peanuts.] or b) the RACIÓN, a larger portion ideal for sharing.
In no particular order, here are my recommendations for tapeando in Madrid:
Calle Madera, 37 / Metro: Tribunal
What everyone is having: una ración de croquetas. You’ll get the whole gamut of croquette glory – ham, mushroom, spinach and raisin, picadillo…heck, I can’t even remember all the options.
You’ll find yourself here: before a night out, Saturday or not.
MESÓN DEL CHAMPIÑÓN
Cava de San Miguel, 17 / Metro: Sol, Tirso de Molina
Politely request: una ración de champiñones, or sautéed mushrooms.
Best place to: break up the ham-onotony.
EL PEZ GORDO
Calle Pez, 16 / Metro: Noviciado
Ripe for the picking: Migas, a dish based on breadcrumbs and topped with chorizo, grapes, and radishes.
Come here to savor: the comfort food you didn’t know you missed.
Trujillos, 4 / Metro: Opera, Callao
Another “casa,” you ask?
Wash down a bottle of cider with: random tapas and a bollo preñao (a soft roll literally “impregnated” with cider-soaked sausage).
Stand and deliver: there’s no room to sit, but the bell-cow ambiance can’t be beat.