Smart Insider’s Guide: Typical Spanish Dishes
Welcome to Madrid: Spain’s Cooking Capital. The city’s typical dishes are inspired from the different Spanish autonomous communities. Since Madrid is smack dab in the center of Spain, it has become a place of passage for travelers. Because of this, it has adopted the common dishes from the regions of Spain and turning them into a universal cuisine. Here you can learn all about Gastronomía de Madrileña.
How did it all start?
The history of cuisine in Madrid began at the end of the 16th century. King Felipe II established the city as the capital of his kingdom. From then on people from all over came to the city along with their customs and traditional recipes. Some of the most famous local restaurants were established during this time like the Posada de la Villa in 1624 and Casa Botín in 1725. Before becoming restaurants they were local inns during the Spanish Civil War. If you haven’t visited already this is a must. There is something romantic about visiting the oldest restaurant in Madrid so grab your friends and have a wonderful traditional Spanish dinner.
What is the typical Madrileño timetable?
It’s important to not only know what Spaniards eat, but also when. Here’s a cheat sheet:
8 am: Coffee time; Before leaving the house grab a coffee to start the day right.
11 am: Breakfast; You can either have a toasted baguette with fresh tomato and olive oil, churros con chocolate, pastry, or a piece of fruit.
2 pm – 3 pm: Lunch; This is the biggest meal of the day so eat up!
6 pm – 7 pm: Afternoon Snack; This is also known as Merienda.
9 pm and later: Dinner; Most restaurants wont open beforehand so plan accordingly.
Going out for tapas is a well-known tradition in Madrid. It consists of going from bar to bar eating dishes to share. Also, it’s the perfect excuse to explore the historic centre of the city. Sol, La Latina, Plaza Mayor, and La Latina are the most popular spots. Here you can discover bars with a lot of history. If you want to learn more about tapas, check out our guide here.
Spain doesn’t have the coldest weather but that doesn’t mean there isn’t traditional comfort food. Even though it’s chilly you will notice people enjoying a meal outside on the terrace at one of the many restaurants. It makes it all the more easy when you’re eating a nice warm soup. Whether you’ve just arrived in Spain, or you’re in the middle of one of the colder months in Spain, you need to try the different soups that are offered.
Is a rich Spanish bean stew, originally from the region of Asturias.
Crema de Vedura (Cream of Vegetable)
A mix of vegetables and potatoes that have been pureed.
Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup)
A typical soup of Mediterranean cuisine whose main ingredient is lentil.
A stew whose main ingredient are chickpeas, vegetables, pork, bacon, and some sausage.
Callos a la Madrileña
One of the most typical stews of winter in Madrid. It is made primarily with beef tripe.
Madrid is home to the second-largest fish market in the world. Madrileños love anything seafood and you should be open to trying it all. For now, we’ll leave you with five of our favorites to get you nice and hungry.
A Valencian rice dish that has many varieties, but normally mixed with seafood.
Bocata de Calamares (Calamari Sandwich)
It is a culinary specialty that consists of squid battered in flour and fried in olive oil.
Gambas a la Plancha (Grilled Prawns)
Prepared on the grill sprinkled with a few grains of coarse salt.
Bacalao a la Madrileña
Casserole with layers of cod, onion sauce, garlic, and tomato.
Empanadas de Atún (Tuna Empanadas)
Usually with a filling of tuna, sweet peppers, onion, olive, capers, paprika and oregano.
Spanish cuisine is rich and usually meat is the centerpiece of the main meal. Many varieties are available in restaurants. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and lamb are usually for sale. If you’re up to being adventurous you can try Rabbit, and organ meats are available to make Spanish specialities. Cured meats are definitely the most popular with chorizo, jamón, morcilla, and lomo. Either way we hope you will try our recommended dishes below.
Rabo de Toro (Stuffed Cow or Bull’s Tail)
Cordovan stew consisting of oxtail or bull.
Jamón Iberico (Ham)
Obtained from the hind legs of the pig and is salted raw and naturally cured.
Huevos Rotos (Broken Eggs)
Fried eggs in a pan with fries and some meat; ham, bacon, or sausage.
Cochinillo Asado (Roast Pig)
A variety of roast suckling pig that is popular in the land of Castille.
Orejas de Cerdo (Pig Ears)
Grilled pork ear and is normally diced or in strips.
Spain may not be as famous for dessert as other countries in Europe, but you’ll be surprised by how many wonderful postres Madrid has to offer. It’s typical to end a menu el día with a nice dessert and coffee, so if you have a sweet tooth you will enjoy. Here’s a list of Madrid’s most popular desserts.
Churros con Chocolate (Churros with Chocolate)
It is eaten at breakfast during early hours and sometimes served as a snack.
Tarta de Queso (Cheesecake)
Made with ricotta, cottage cheese, sugar, and ingredients like berries as a topping.
A slice of bread soaked in milk and syrup after being coated in egg and fried in a pan.
Made from puff pastry, and dough similar to a croissant and coated with chocolate.
A custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce.