cafes abound in Madrid. You can literally go to a different classic cafe each
day in Madrid for weeks without need to repeat your steps or to settle for a second-rate
experience (trust us, we´ve done it).
rich tradition of Madrid cafes goes back generations. Throughout Madrid´s
history, intellectuals, artists, writers, thinkers and just plain posers have
retreated to Madrid´s cafes to speak authoritatively -- if not necessarily
knowledgeably -- about the events and intellectual issues of the day.
is, of course, a popular drink in the cafes of Madrid, including café con
leche (with lots of milk, much like a latté), cortado (less milk), or negro.
A popular summertime variation as the Madrid heat settles in is café blanco
y negro, which includes cold black coffee and a scoop of either horchata (authentic)
or vanilla (also popular) ice cream.
cafes naturally serve other beverages, such as vino tinto (red wine), cerveza
(beer) and agua either with or without bubbles.
cafe food tends toward tapas and basic snacks such as slices of tortilla espanola,
salads or sandwiches, but some cafes, such the Cafe de Oriente, can serve surprisingly
sophisticated meals for a bargain price.
are some of our favorites:
Circulo de Bellas Artes
Calle Alcala 42, Madrid
Madrid Metro Stop:
Banco de Espana
A soaring hall on the ground floor of Madrid´s art center
combines atmosphere, excellent food and good coffee at reasonable prices. A wonderful
place for lunch not far from Madrid´s shopping or museums.
Glorieta de Bilbao 7
Madrid Metro Stop: Bilbao
oldest continuously operating cafe in Madrid opened in the 1880´s and has
been run by the same family since the earliest days of the 20th century. There´s
a modern internet cafe upstairs, but the downstairs retains a full roster of traditional
tertullias and classic loungers. A personal favorite.
Paseo Recoletos 21
Madrid Metro Stop: Banco de España
A historic literary cafe on the Paseo. The outdoor terraza is particularly
nice in the summer.
Plaza Oriente 2
Madrid Metro Stop: Opera
Palais Real, overlooking the beautiful Plaza Oriente. Outdoor tables in season,
cozy indoor rooms in the cold months. The basement banquet room with a glass floor
over ancient remains with make you wish for an excuse to throw a party. Excellent
Calle Ave Maria 45
Madrid Metro Stop: Lavapies
Located in the heart of Madrid´s most international neighborhood, this slightly
scruffy cafe draws an avante garde crowd at night.
Puerto del Sol 8, Mayor, 2
Madrid Metro Stop: Sol
Famous for its pastries, this vintage bakery has a peaceful upstairs room where
you can linger undisturbed over your café con leche and napolitana de chocolate
Pabellon del Espejo
Paseo de Recoletos, 31
Madrid Metro Stop: Colon
This Madrid cafe dates only from 1978, but if we hadn´t told you you would
have thought it was a relic of the gilded age. Fills up for lunch starting about
1:30, so don´t plan on lingering over just a coffee for the afternoon. Good
Plaza del Angel, 10
Madrid Metro Stop: Sol
by day plays host to jazz bands at night.
Madrid Metro Stop: Sol or Opera
Famous for its pudding-thick
hot chocolate and its fresh from the deep fryer churros (twisted pieces of fried
batter designed to sprinkle with sugar or dip into chocolate), this cafe also
offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas. Best appreciated very late at
night (which, in Madrid, basically coincides with sunrise) after a night of dancing