Spain is an essential foodie pilgrimage, and no city holds a candle to Madrid when it comes to variety of national and international cuisines. Its cutting-edge restaurants helmed by celebrated chefs make the city one of Europe's most renowned dining capitals.
When it comes to dining, younger madrileños gravitate toward trendy neighborhoods like bearded-and-bunned Malasaña, gay-friendly Chueca, rootsy La Latina, and multicultural Lavapiés for their boisterous and affordable restaurants and bars. Dressier travelers, and those visiting with kids, will feel more at home in the quieter, more buttoned-up restaurants of Salamanca, Chamartín, and Retiro. Of course, these are broad-brush generalizations, and there are plenty of exceptions.
The house wine in old-timey Madrid restaurants is often a sturdy, uncomplicated Valdepeñas from La Mancha. A plummy Rioja or a gutsy Ribera del Duero—the latter from northern Castile—are the usual choices for reds by the glass in chicer establishments, while popular whites include fruity Verdejo varietals from Rueda and slatey albariños from Galicia After dinner, try the anise-flavored liqueur (anís), produced outside the nearby village of Chinchón, or a fruitier patxaran, a digestif made with sloe berries.