1. Bodega La Ardosa: Tapas for days at this place, which has been serving the Malasaña neighborhood since 1892. We recommend the house vermouth, the cured beef, and their tortilla española, which is legitimately made by the owner’s wizened mother and is the best we’ve ever had. We began an evening of eating and drinking with a couple Madrileños here, and there seems no better spot.
2. Frutal Zumeria: What with all the jamon you will no doubt be consuming, it’s essential to know where to get a juice. Several locations.
3. La Venencia: The sherry bar (with snacks!) of your Spanish sueños. If not for a dinner reservation, we would almost certainly have been there all night, sipping sherries dry and sweet, eating our weight in jamon, olives, and cheese. There’s also a resident cat who doesn’t give a crap about you, and the proprietor will reprimand you sternly should you try to take photos.
4. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía: Guernica happens here.
5. Restaurante Sacha: The realest eating we did in Madrid. We cannot recommend this place, with its balance of old school charm and of-the-moment cooking, highly enough. If you are so inclined, absolutely give the kitchen the reins and eat whatever they bring—just hope that includes the dish where you pull the head off a whole prawn and mix the goopy insides into a sauce using a pestle. And be sure to pay your respects to Sacha before you leave; he’ll be the one who looks like the Spanish lovechild of Mario Batali and Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.
6. 1862 Dry Bar: The bar itself is trying a little too hard; the gin tonics are trying just the right amount.
7. Casa Revuelta: Tiny beer (can beer in tiny glasses be an option everywhere, please?), peanuts, thick-cut bacon, and bacalao that opened our eyes to the possibilities of bacalao. Every future visit to Madrid will include Revuelta.
8. Do Concept Store: This is the spot if you happen to be in the market for things that would be in Kinfolk Magazine—or for an actual Kinfolk Magazine.
9. Cantaro Blanco: A dreamy little lecheria in Malasaña that applies the frozen yogurt model to non-frozen yogurt. Toppings include Nutella, jams, and all manners of crunchy things. Muy important seguir siendo regular en Madrid, amigos.
10. Mercado de San Miguel: This place is packed with tourists because it’s right off Plaza Mayor, but it’s still absolutely worth a visit if you’re someone who eats food. Reminiscent of Downtown LA’s Grand Central Marketplace, this beautiful building is chockablock with highbrow and lowbrow eats. Nothing you’ll have here will be *the best* iteration of that thing, but you’re paying for variety and convenience and a pleasant venue for daydrinking.
11. Cervecería Cervantes: Seemingly a Madrid institution slinging pulpo and prawns at their Spanishy best.
12. Kikekeller Bar: A furniture company discovered that their showroom came with a liquor license, and now Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights you can drink your gin tonic amidst pieces that were plausibly designed by Magic Mike. You’ll see Madrid’s cool kids on first dates mingling with travel blog-reading tourists like yourself.
14. Casa Julio: CROQUETTAS. Hit this spot before La Ardosa. And maybe after La Ardosa.
15. Parque del Retiro: Grab some helado and a shorty and lose a day in this park.