As the birthplace of tapas, you can be guaranteed a culinary (small-plate) journey on any visit to Spain.
My number one best tapa city is, of course, Granada. Each drink comes with a free tapa, sometimes of your choosing, and you can expect to pay anywhere from 70 cents to 2,50 euro for a drink. That’s a pretty good deal. While you may not find that kind of bargain in the Spanish capital city of Madrid, the neighborhood of La Latina definitely won’t disappoint in terms of selection and deliciousness!
How to Get to La Latina
Located just southwest of the city center, you can easily reach La Latina by foot in about 20 minutes from Puerta del Sol. It is located on the oldest section of Madrid, the Islamic citadel inside the city walls, so it has developed with many narrow, winding streets and big plazas. This creates the perfect setting for a wide variety of tapas bars. You can find the hidden ones down in the corner of a back alley or sit out in the main plaza.
The two main streets to find the best tapas bars are Cava Alta and Cava Baja. Especially during the warm weather and on weekends, these streets can be totally packed and it may be difficult to find a spot inside or at an outdoor terrace. The few times I went during the week it was relatively empty, however, though you risk some places not being open and the ambience isn’t quite the same.
I would definitely recommend going to these streets during your trip to Madrid, but it’s also a good idea to venture off the beaten path a bit and explore some of the places more out of the way, on the hidden plazas. The most well known is Plaza de La Cebada but there are other ones that may be more hidden such as Plaza de La Pajam, Plaza del Humilladero, Plaza de San Andrés and Plaza de Puerte Cerrada that are worth it to check out.
Favorite Tapas Bars
Also great about La Latina is you can find so many different types of tapa options. From the traditional ones at most places, such as the world’s oldest restaurant El Sobrino de Botín, or the famous Casa Lucio, to the more unique options found at the vegetarian Viva La Vida, located near the La Latina metro stop. You can easily recognize it with it’s cool mosaic exterior!
One of my favorite activities when I lived in Madrid was to spend the day “tapa hopping” with a friend. We would slowly make our way from place to place, sampling what they had to offer. Typically cerveza is the least expensive option, but you can also find other great drinks such as Mojitos or wines.
Featured image from erwin brevis via Flickr.