15 Best Restaurants in Barrio de las Letras, Madrid

Casa González

$ Fodor's choice

This gourmet shop (est. 1931) doubles as a cozy bar where you can sample most of the stuff on the shelves, including canned asparagus, charcuterie, anchovies, and a varied well-priced selection of Spanish cheeses and wines. It also serves good inexpensive breakfasts.

Chocolat Madrid

$ Fodor's choice

Always crisp and never greasy—that's the mark of a well-made churro, and Madrid Chocolat's piping-hot baskets of fried dough always hit the spot.

Taberna La Elisa

$$ Fodor's choice

The old-fashioned azulejo (glazed tile) walls, painted red facade, and squat wooden barstools might fool you into thinking this newcomer is any old tavern, but behind the swinging door, cooks are busy plating novel takes on tapas that you didn't know needed improving. Take the crispy pig ear, doused in the usual spicy brava sauce—it gets an unorthodox hit of freshness from tarragon-packed mojo verde. Then there are the stuffed mussels called tigres, amped up with defiantly non-Spanish amounts of chiles, and a bounty of seasonal tapas that always impress.

Recommended Fodor's Video


$$$ Fodor's choice

Triciclo serves inventive Spanish-style bistronomie—think baby Asturian favas with mushrooms and seaweed-and-spot-prawn ravioli with saffron and borage. Raciones (sharing dishes), in one-third portions as well as half and full ones, are ideal for creating your own tasting menu whether at the bar or in the dining room.



A mano means "by hand" in Spanish, and lest this experimental white-walled tapas and wine bar come across as pretentious, there's an entire section of the menu devoted to finger food. Whet your appetite with one-bite wonders like fried eggplant drizzled with honey and garlicky salmorejo (a cold tomato soup), then settle in for heftier plates like stewed oxtail, which basically melts on fork impact.

Pl. de Matute 4, Madrid, 28012, Spain
Known For
  • innovative vegetable-driven tapas
  • varied wine list with French selections
  • stylish minimalist interiors
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.

Casa Toni


The tapas are offal-y good at this pocket-size bar specializing in variety meats like pig ear (served crackly with spicy brava sauce) and zarajos (lamb intestines wrapped around a stick and fried until crisp, an old-school Madrid snack).

Calle de la Cruz 14, Madrid, Spain
Known For
  • legendary greasy spoon
  • shockingly affordable
  • terrific offal tapas
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues.

Cervecería Alemana


Fried calamari a la romana, made with fresh, ultra-tender squid as opposed to the standard frozen stuff, is the star tapa at this 117-year-old Hemingway hangout that's confusingly not Alemana (German) in the slightest.

Cervecería Cervantes


Cervecería Cervantes is improbably down-to-earth for such a posh, tourist-oriented neighborhood—the kind of place where you throw your olive pits right onto the floor. Most patrons come for the ice-cold cañas (half-pints), but there are traditional tapas of varying quality.

Pl. de Jesús 7, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • free tapa with beer
  • diamond in the touristy rough
  • perfect for a drink after the Prado
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.

El Barril de las Letras


Seafood lovers shouldn't miss this modern, Ibiza-chic marisquería (seafood restaurant) with original wrought-iron columns, white tablecloths, and ample alfresco seating. The griddled prawns from Dénia are always a treat, as are the cloudlike roasted sole and any number of rice dishes.



Savor a rare taste of Canary Island cuisine—with quite a few twists—at this envelope-pushing, Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Tenerife-born chef Safe Cruz. Expect foaming, smoking concoctions that incorporate traditional Canarian specialties like green mojo, Gomero goat cheese, and—of course—gofio (stone-ground corn flour). 

Calle de Lope de Vega 9, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • Canarian fine dining at a value
  • smoky volcanic wines
  • gorgeous uncontrived plating
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.

La Dolores


A lively corner bar with a colorful trencadís-tiled facade, this is a solid spot for a cold beer and a nosh after visiting the nearby museums. Try the matrimonio ("marriage") tapa, which weds one pickled and one cured anchovy on a slice of crusty baguette.

Pl. de Jesús 4, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • affordable no-nonsense tapas
  • refreshing cañas
  • mixed crowd of foreigners and locals

La Huerta de Tudela


Real talk: it can be hard to find a vegetable in Madrid. But in Navarra, the region this restaurant looks to for inspiration, there's never a shortage of asparagus, artichokes, cardoons, piquillo peppers, and other seasonal delicacies. Savor a vegetable-centric tasting menu that hinges on ingredients from the owners' family farm for €42, a steal in this increasingly overpriced neighborhood.

La Sanabresa


Most budget prix fixes in Madrid are limited to lunch, but La Sanabresa offers a budget three-course dinner as well. Choose from over 20 appetizers and 40 entrées that comprise a highlight reel of grandmotherly Spanish cuisine: gazpacho, ensaladilla rusa, fried anchovies, chicken cutlets, and on and on. Service is old-school and no-nonsense, just like the decor (think white paper tablecloths and wooden straight-back chairs).   

Calle del Amor de Dios 12, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • prix fixes are a steal
  • traditional holdout in a gentrified area
  • satisfying soups and stews
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Sua by Triciclo


Madrid's best modern steak house, Sua ("fire" in Basque) is dedicated to meats and wild-caught fish cooked over open flame. Occupying a stunning circular indoor courtyard, the restaurant has an ample list of Champagnes, cavas, and bold Spanish reds, fittingly luxurious sidekicks to a 40-day dry-aged sirloin from Galicia or roasted scarlet shrimp plucked from Andalusia's Atlantic coast. Desserts, particularly the cheesecake, punch above their weight.

Calle de Moratín 22, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • flame-licked steaks and seafood
  • impressive cathedral-like dining room
  • attentive service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues.

Vinoteca Moratín


You'd be hard-pressed to find a more romantic restaurant than this snug wine bar with a rotating menu of a dozen or so dishes and eclectic Spanish wines. Antique wooden tables are tucked among bookshelves and wine cabinets, and fresh flowers grace the entryway and wait stations. Dishes that never come off the menu include medallions of house-cured salmon with a pickle vinaigrette and a swoon-worthy hand-chopped steak tartare.

Calle de Moratín 36, Madrid, 28014, Spain
Known For
  • Spanish wine list with quirky small-production bottles
  • seasonal bistro fare
  • intimate ambience
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.