Madrid may be one grand, curvaceous chica, but we say you’ve seen nothing until you get a glimpse of her pint-sized pleasures.
You’re in tapas town, and these tiny snacks can go from a slither of ham here, an olive there, to an entire meal for many. But steer far and clear of the capital’s tourist-tugging tascas, try these bodegas for some of the best palate-pleasing plates to be found anywhere. Vamos!
Juana La Loca
Juana sup with the sophisti-cats? Head straight for this artisanal locale and go loco for creative canapés and lovely hi-so tapas. You’ll find everything from pintxos-in-a-hurry, to clássico grilled artichokes with shaved parmesan, to extra sweet n’ juicy tortillas de patatas, all dished up in one bustling boite.
Plaza de Puerta de Moros, 4, La Latina, Barcelona. +34 91 364 0525, juanalalocamadrid.com
Is that a croqueta in your pants or are you just happy to see me? This traddy grandaddy Castilian cave named after veteran Lucio Blázquez is a nabe fave, with daily seasonal spoils including pheasant and bean stew and chickpea potage. Madrileños tend to frock up, so don’t let the simple deco steer you toward slacks, Jack!
Cava Baja, 35, La Latina, Barcelona. +34 91 365 8217, casalucio.es
Mercado de San Miguel
This marvellous market has undergone quite the nip/tuck, emerging all razzle dazzle with a full-body revamp. Sitting pretty just a chopito’s toss from Plaza Mayor, you can rock up and amble through, pit-stopping at tapas bars like buzzy El Pescado Original, Paella y Olé and Croquetas Cart, as well as seafood snacking at the sushi bar. Jamon!
Plaza de San Miguel, Ópera, Madrid. +34 91 542 4936, mercadodesanmiguel.es
Sala de Despiece
Make a mess in this spotless, white space where top tapas takes centre stage. Nestled in Madrid’s charming Chamberi nabe, Javier Bonet’s mod minimalist den brings seasonal gastro from local farms to the big city via quirky bites. She’s also busier than a San Fermín stampede, so show up and sup early (for Spain, that is…).
Ponzano, 11, Chamberi, Madrid. +34 91 752 6106, saladedespiece.com
El Porrón Canalla
Snazzy bocata bolthole El Porron Canalla is not far from Gran Via, and the perfect post-shop chow down with flavour bomb Spanny sarnies and bite-sized ibericos. Just add funky street art-esque murals and neon-lit scene.
Ballesta, 2, Madrid. +34 915 32 06 04, elporroncanalla.com