There’s nothing more madrileño than a tapas crawl. If you’re in one of the neighbourhoods outside the historic center, even better. The bars and restaurants in a place like Delicias, a modest, traditional barrio that’s just a 5–10 minute metro ride away from central Madrid, are where you’ll find the city’s true heart and soul.
But if you’re new to Madrid, finding the authentic gems can be hard. With a bar on practically every corner, just narrowing down where to go can be a challenge in itself.
Yoly and I did the hard work so you don’t have to. In the video below, we’ll take you on an off the beaten path tapas crawl in Madrid. These places are the real deal—if you ever find yourself in Delicias (which I highly recommend), be sure to check them out.
Off-the-Beaten-Path Madrid Tapas: Best Bars & Bites in Delicias
Here’s a quick roundup of the places we visited. Add these spots to your itinerary for the next time you’re in Madrid—you won’t be disappointed.
1. Taberna Martín
With its no-frills atmosphere and zinc bartop, Taberna Martín feels frozen in time. If it weren’t for the calendar tacked to the wall beside the rows of liquor bottles, you might even think you’d somehow traveled back in time to a Madrid bar in the 1970s or ’80s.
The big draw here: Jesús’s famous sangria. Made from scratch and poured into your glass from a nondescript plastic jug, this is a far cry from the overpriced, low-quality stuff you’ll find at more touristy places. In fact, it may very well be the only sangria in Madrid worth trying.
Taberna Martín also respects the age-old tradition of giving customers a free tapa with their drink order. We enjoyed a simple tapa of sliced-in-the-moment jamón and picos (small crunchy breadsticks) with our sangria.
2. Vinoteca Borboleta
With sisters Laura and Miriam running the bar, and both parents helping out in the kitchen, Vinoteca Borboleta is the definition of a family affair.
If you’re looking for good, simple, honest home cooking, this is the place to go. They also have an excellent wine selection.
The huevos rotos—fried eggs broken over crispy potatoes—at this place is the definition of Spanish comfort food. With generous portions and an amicable atmosphere, you’ll almost feel like a member of their family yourself.
3. Taberna Numancia
Continuing the theme of family-run spots with fabulous food and wine, Taberna Numancia brings the hearty dishes of Soria (a small city to the northeast of Madrid) to the capital.
Run by a husband and wife team, this place is famous for their torreznos. This typical dish from Soria consists of fatty fried pork belly served with chips and padrón peppers.
The torreznos, along with every dish on the menu, is representative of Spanish cuisine at its best: simple, homemade food prepared with high-quality ingredients. It’s nothing fancy, but it certainly gives these neighborhood bars their heart.
4. La Cervecera
La Cervecera isn’t too far from our very first apartment in Madrid, but we were hesitant to go here for a while. It always looked really expensive, so we saved it for special occasions. But while it’s not the cheapest stop for off-the-beaten-path tapas in Madrid, the price-quality ratio makes it a must.
This place specializes in seafood and wine from Galicia, the lush, verdant region of northwestern Spain that sits atop Portugal. And it does so extremely well.
The grilled scallops with caramelized onion will make you feel as if you’re dining right by the ocean, rather than in landlocked Madrid. Pair it with a glass of Galician Albariño wine for a match made in heaven.
5. Cervecería La Lastra
If a classic madrileño neighbourhood bar atmosphere is what you’re after, Cervecería La Lastra certainly delivers.
It’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s packed with customers who know and love each other. It’s the kind of place that will almost remind you of your favourite hometown bar.
This place does a lot of things well, from cocido madrileño to torreznos. We went with the excellent grilled clams with garlic, which pairs well with a freshly poured beer.
6. Bodegas Rosell
Last but not least, we visited a local institution that’s been going strong since the 1870s—and in the hands of the same family since the 1930s.
Bodegas Rosell still retains many of its original details from years gone by. From the flamenco imagery and guitars that adorn the walls, to the old-school wooden refrigerators (which were already secondhand when they were installed here in 1961!), it’s the kind of classic place that’s getting harder and harder to come by nowadays.
This place is famous for two main reasons: its wonderful wine list, and the fabulous homemade croquetas. What’s especially nice is the fact that said croquettes can be ordered individually. As delicious as croquetas are, a 12-piece ración that might be your only option at many other places is simply too much for two people.
I hope this list comes in handy for your next tapas crawl in Madrid. And if you have your own favourite spot for off-the-beaten-path tapas in Madrid, let me know in the comments below.