Get Inspired

By Kiri Tannenbaum

Traverse Madrid’s Tapas Trail with a Local

With more bars per capita than any other city, you'll want a pro to guide you through Madrid's tapas trail.

There are over 70,000 bars in Madrid, roughly one bar for every 50 of the city’s inhabitants. Residents have long standing relationships with their local bars and those tending them. Which would explain why when polled most Gatos, as the locals are called, would happily hand over their house keys to their trusted bartender. Tapas bars are not just watering holes with affordable wines and really good small bites, they are a “third place” where you go to catch up with your neighbors. They are a true symbol of Spain’s warm, fun-loving familial culture. As such, it’s best to experience a tapas bar with a local.

Enter British transplant Joanna Wivell who has been living in Madrid for nearly 20 years and leads tours through her company, Insider’s Madrid. Her encyclopedic knowledge and mastery of the art of a solid order makes for an unforgettable night.


What to Expect:

Insider Madrid’s Gourmet Tapas Tour starts in Plaza Santa Ana at the statue of Federico García Lorca, near to the micronabe Las Letras named for the city’s literati that once called the city home. Top stops on the tour include:

① La Venencia
Where you will sip Manzanilla (a type of Sherry) while sampling the original jerky— a cured tuna loin that’s left in the sun and wind to dry.

La Trucha

Visit this Andalucían bar serves all the greatest tapas hits including, Spanish tortilla and an outrageous adobo—cubed swordfish bits marinated in cumin, garlic, and vinegar then breaded and fried—paired with sangria.

Casa González
Arrive to Casa González for a hefty cheese tasting where they feature 45 hand-picked Italian, Dutch, French and Spanish cheeses like a smoked manchego from Navarra and a vast array of gourmet charcuterie.

There’s a few more secret stops on Wivell’s tour, but when it ends if you’re not done tapear-ing head to the 110-year-old tavern La Casa del Abuelo for a sizzling crock of gambas al ajillo. Be sure to wait until the pulsating oil stops bubbling or run the risk of burning off most of your taste

The Basics:

Cost: €95 +21% vat per person, includes drinks and tapas
Dates: Available every day at 8pm
Length: 3 hours

While you can try to map a route of your own, you won’t get to chat it up with the denizens or know your way around a menu at each of the stops the way Wivell does.

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