One of the biggest aspects of Spanish culture is a shared passion for food. Madrileños start with a small first breakfast - a pastry and a coffee. At around 11 a.m., many take their 2nd breakfast, which consists of another coffee and often a "pincho de tortilla". Lunch starts at about 2 p.m. and is sometimes - especially in the summer - followed by a siesta (afternoon nap).  Spaniards eat dinner late (no earlier than 9pm) and typically party on weekends until the early hours of the morning. You'll find that many locals will end the night enjoying a churro and hot chocolate.  

 Food Tips

  • The red wines (vino tinto) in Madrid are unbelievably good, including the house wines
  • Chocolate con churros is a typical early morning breakfast experience or snack
  • Spain is famous for its paella
  • The coffee (cafe con leche) in Madrid is a world in itself
  • Try the menú del dia, a fixed choice, three course meal, usually 12-15 euros
  • When ordering, do not be afraid to call your waiter - persistence is key
  • Tipping is not customary, but a little is appreciated (no more than 5% or a coin or two)

Student Recommendations

Student recommendations from fall 2009. Please let us know if this should change. 



Tapas to try


  • Tortilla Española - Spanish style egg/potato/onion frittata or omelette
  • Patatas Bravas - Potato in a spicy red sauce
  • Albondigas - Spanish meatballs
  • Queso Manchego - Similar in texture to a parmesan, not too sharp
  • Jamon Serrano  - Cured ham, similar to proscuitto 
  • Gambas al Ajillo - Sauteed shrimp in garlic and oil.
  • Croquetas - Croquettes (ham, mushroom, cod, cheese...)