What is a menú del día?
The menú del día is one of the great culinary joys of Spain. They’re the filling, often delicious, multi-course midday meals provided by bars and restaurants for a very reasonable fixed price, booze included.
And if you consider price, quantity and quality, I’d say they represent the best lunches in Madrid.
But the little wrinkle with menús del día in Madrid is thus: you can pay €12 for a really average 3-course lunch, or €14 for a great one. If you know where to go, the difference in cost can be minimal, but in quality dramatic.
Hence this list of the best menús del día in Madrid. Certainly not complete… but I only have one mouth and one wallet and so I’m slowly eating my way through city. Bear with me.
How I Came Up With This List
Why these places? Because they do reasonably-priced menús del día with a little more thought, skill and nous than you’re average tavern. Some will include three courses, some two, some a bottle of wine, some (in fact, most) just a glass. You may not have the meal of your life (then again, you may), but it’ll be better than a kick in the head (or a sticky bowl of microwaved paella).
Prices will be between about €11 and €15.
Remember menús del día are only available on weekdays and only for lunch. Sometimes restaurants offer them on the weekend, but they’re usually more expensive (see the menú below, which was on a Saturday).
Also, remember that the word for a physical menu is “carta”. The word “menú” in Spanish means a series of courses for a fixed price.
If you want to learn more Spanish language tips for ordering in a tapas bar, watch my video about how to order food in Spain like a local.
Best Menús del Día in Madrid
I’ve divided this section into neighbourhoods.
Restaurante Taberna Badila
Perhaps my favourite menú in Madrid. Home-cooking at its best.
Love their menú. It’s traditional Spanish, but made with care and a modern touch.
Run by Englishman Scott, and the food is a blend of Spanish and British (Jaimie Oliver cookbooks on the shelf!). Delicious!
Barrio de los Austrias
Taberna El Zorzal
Modern cuisine – and very tasty
Good northern Spanish food
Barrio de las Letras
Japanese/French/Spanish fusion – excellent
Solid, rustic fare
A New York Times-featured classic! Rustic, cheap, delicious!
Traditional Spanish in a gorgeous old Madrid tavern
Mercado de la Reina
Rustic bar that’s famous for its tortilla, but also does a solid menú in the Mercado de la Paz.