From the traditional family Sunday lunch, tapas with friends, after work beers or a shopping spree in one of Madrid’s top markets picking up the freshest local produce, Spanish culture revolves heavily around food.

Gastronomy in Spain is immensely rich and varied, full of colours and flavours, just like the country itself. From Michelin-star restaurants to your favourite corner bar, you will never be disappointed. Food is an experience, a form of living, a lifestyle. And in Madrid, you are able to try out typical dishes from all regions of the country.

If that sounds like the kind of lifestyle you can get behind, read on to discover the best places to eat in Madrid according to our MSc in Hospitality & Tourism students!

# 1 Makkila

Tapas, Mediterranean dishes & wine in a chic dining space


This is a great tapas and raciones restaurant with different locations in Madrid. It is budget-friendly and offers a great environment with amazing cocktails, good music and friendly people. The Fernando VI in downtown Madrid is a classic and probably one of their most visited locations with an art-deco design and huge windows overlooking the Hortaleza district and Fernando VI street which is full of great shops. Definitely the first choice but otherwise, whichever Makkila comes your way will also do nicely.

Last but not least, they also have a very tasty Menu of the Day with a very reasonable price tag.

# 2 La Pescaderia

Cool place with a great vibe and good food

La Pescaderia

A fantastic restaurant with excellent food! You will find a very good selection on the menu, a nice wine list, a great atmosphere and traditional Spanish dishes.

The original Pescadería is located in Calle Ballesta (downtown), but a new location has just opened in Calle Hermosilla, Barrio de Salamanca, which mixes traditional and trendy food. This one offers a good terrace and a great selection from the countryside, the sea and the land that will undoubtedly entice you to stay for a long after-dinner cocktail party in a fascinatingly decorated restaurant.

Tips: Even if all their tapas are amazing, you should especially try the Chipirones.

# 3 El Tigre 

Great for students on a budget

El Tigre

This restaurant is probably one of the most popular places in Madrid and also the right spot for a good size portion of free tapas that comes when you order a drink!

It may be not not the tastiest nor the trendiest in Madrid, but it is surely an experience to enjoy during your stay.

You will find Croquettes, Tapas of Ham, Cheese, Pork, Pork Loin, Bacon and Chorizo. Also Patatas Bravas, Tortilla and Paella as well as chicken wings and mushrooms. All this is free when you order a beer for around €2.50 or half-liter jug for around €5.50.

They have 3 locations in Chueca: 2 in Calle Infantas and 1 in Calle Hortaleza.

#4 Mercado San Miguel

Where to go with friends and family if you can’t decide what to eat

Mercado San Miguel

The Mercado is the perfect place to go. Located in the heart of Madrid, the Mercado San Miguel is a monument to Spanish cuisine and definitely one of the meeting points for food lovers. With more than 20 stands touting a wide variety of Spanish food and drinks, it is definitely a place to visit while living in Madrid.

Do you fancy paella? The Mercado‘s Paella y Olé is a must. Would you perhaps prefer a fabulous tortilla? Then Picolisto is the place to go.

#5 Cafeteria de Paco & Victor

AKA The Madrid campus cafeteria/canteen

ESCP Madrid Campus

Well, yes yes, you are going to say we want to give a shout out to the ESCP Madrid Campus? I fact, we do, but to be utterly honest, this is THE place where you feel most at home. Paco and Victor become instant friends and are icons of the Madrid campus. And, that is not all: you have homemade food every day, good coffee and pastries,  nice pulguitas and one of the best pinchos de tortilla in town.

The best part? You can go there whenever you have a break from class!

Madrid is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe and food is just one of the reasons to choose this city as your study location.

But remember, where there is a good tapa or a great Tortilla de Patatas, you will also find the charm and warmth of the Madrilians and international locals that consider Madrid to be their adoptive home. Hope to see you soon!