Madrid Tapas Crawl

They finally relaxed the Covid era restrictions on traveling and I decided to take a road trip to Europe since it’s been nine years since I’ve last been there.

I decided to go visit family who live in the small town of Chioggia which is south of Venice and then drive to the Valpolicella wine district just North of Verona.

On the way to Italy, I wanted to stop in a city in another country. On my list were London, Dublin, Lisbon and Madrid, I finally settled on Madrin since it’s a city I haven’t visited before, and Spain has an excellent food and wine culture. And the fact that there is direct subway access from the airport to the center of town didn’t hurt either.

I made plans to do an organized tapa the day after arrival since I would deal with jet lag on the first day, but I didn’t want to miss out on the tapas experience so on day one I headed to the San Miguel Market. It’s a famous tourist foodie destination, opened as a local food market in 1916 and becoming Madrid’s first gourmet food hall. The hall is full of fixed and temporary food and drink stalls, and I spent my first day eating and drinking there.

The next day I went on an organized tapas crawl. The tour began in the Chamberi neighborhood which is north of the city center. I figured that it would have fewer tourists than the city center. As our tour guide, Raul explained, the Chamberi is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Madrid and as such the quality of the tapas would be of a higher quality. We made four stops plus a bonus stop at the end of the tour.

Stops on the tour:

Los Arcos

First stop on the tour, well-lit place, we had fried crackling hot out of the fryer and a tapa with chorizo. We washed those down with a nice cold caƱa of Mahou beer.

Pongano

As you walk in, you’re greeted by a large, refrigerated case of aging beef so I assume that’s their specialty. For tapas we had sliced Iberico ham on bread and bowls of extra virgin Spanish olive oil to dip more bread in. We drank a glass of nice Spanish red.

Taberna Almacheli

Tapas here were marinated anchovy, Manchego cheese and chorizo sausage. To drink we were served a Vermouth cocktail, Vermouth being a very popular aperitif for the locals.

Alipio Ramos

Really old bar/restaurant. We ate the national dish of spain, Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omlette) and tapa of cooked ham with paprika. We washed those down with home-made Sangria.

Papaya

Next door to the last place we visited and not part of the tour, the unusual feature of this bar is that they serve spirits distilled by the owner. I ended my tour with a gin and tonic.