The Most Authentic, Traditional & Best Restaurants in Madrid

Madrid is such a gastronomic city with a huge tradition of cooking and eating, and the Madrilenos really know how to enjoy their food.  The best restaurants in Madrid that I have visited are the authentic Spanish ones with long histories attached to them.  They’ve managed, because of their long-standing reputations, not to have to cater to the tourist crowd, but to provide honest, authentic Spanish dishes in a traditional setting and environment.

I’ve been lucky enough to eat in all of these restaurants and each one had its own uniqueness and charm.  I would recommend ordering the House Speciality in each one – there’s a reason it’s called that!  They have perfected the dish over many years and I guarantee you wont be disappointed.  Read on to tempt your taste buds with some amazing dishes…

Restaurante Botin

Any list of the Best Restaurants in Madrid, just wouldn’t be complete without this first one.  This had to be number one on the list as not only is Botin one of the oldest restaurants in Madrid, but it is also the oldest restaurant in the entire world that is still running – certified by the Guinness World Record Association.  There’s a plaque outside on the wall confirming it.  It opened in 1725 and has been running ever since.The Most Authentic, Traditional & Best Restaurants in Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores - Botin, Posada de la Villa, Casa Paco & Casa LucioI’m lucky enough to have been there twice – once with Dan and once with my mum which you can read about here.

My top tip for the best table in the house is to ask for one downstairs in the cellars underneath the restaurant. We had to climb down a tiny staircase behind the bar, but were rewarded with the most amazing dining room.  You are literally eating in the cellars of the restaurant and they have absolutely stunning vaulted ceilings, exposed brickwork and such an authentic feel.  The Most Authentic, Traditional & Best Restaurants in Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores - Botin, Posada de la Villa, Casa Paco & Casa LucioIf you’re lucky they’ll let you go down even further into their wine cellar where you can see bottles with dust so thick that it must have been decades since anyone touched them!

The Starter of Clams Botin is one of my favourite dishes there, so delicious and, it’s the perfect light, fresh dish to start off a meal that you know is only going to get heavier because…
The Most Authentic, Traditional & Best Restaurants in Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores - Botin, Posada de la Villa, Casa Paco & Casa LucioThe House Speciality at Botin is the Roast Suckling Pig and it is definitely one not to be missed.  They cook it in their amazing Oak Burning oven in the old traditional way and it is amazing.  Succulent and tender, it really is authentic Spanish cooking at its finest.

Casa Lucio

Halfway down Calle Cava Baja ‘The Tapas Bar Street’ in La Latina you’ll find this gem.  Frequented by celebrities, (you can see all the people who Lucio has been photographed with at the restaurant on the website – Eva Longoria to Will Smith, to Tommy Lee Jones and more) it is as much of a hotspot as you get in Madrid.  This celebrity status hasn’t ruined the restaurant though as it is still as traditional and authentic as the day it first opened.

Casa Lucio is well known for its steaks, but the most famous dish is the fried potatoes topped with an egg – Huevos Estrellados.  When we ate there we had the Padron Peppers and a big steak to share and Dan had the Huevos Estrellados alongside.  He raved about it so much that I was so jealous that I couldn’t eat any of it.

Another Speciality is the Cocido madrileño – a Spanish white bean stew, very traditional in Madrid.  I haven’t had the chance to try it yet but it just gives me a great excuse to go back there someday.

Posada de la Villa

Also on Calle Cava Baja, in La Latina, this is a restaurant that I took my mum to when we went on a girl’s trip to Madrid.  You can read all about it here.  Another ridiculously beautiful oak beamed, traditional dining room where all the chairs have the names carved into their backs, of famous Spanish Celebrities that have eaten at the restaurant.

Posada de la Villa Madrid Dinner Restaurant Cava Baja

Javier Bardem’s Chair!

The House Speciality here is the slow roasted lamb cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven.  Mum and I were going to be good and have fish dishes but then the table next to us ordered the lamb and we quickly changed our minds.  We were so glad we did.  The meat was so tender that it just fell off the bone – it really was an exceptionally memorable dinner.Posada de la Villa Madrid Dinner Restaurant Cava Baja Roast Lamb Speciality

Casa Paco

I took Dan here on our last trip to Madrid as it’s his Dad’s favourite restaurant and he’s been raving about its steak for a long time.  You know you’re in for a treat when you walk into a restaurant and it’s full of locals propping up the bar, not a tourist in sight (apart from us!)Casa Paco Restaurant, Madrid, Spain by Emma Eats & Explores

We ordered chorizo to start along with a bottle of wine and some Spanish cheeses and the quality of the produce was outstanding.  So fresh and tasty!Casa Paco Restaurant, Madrid, Spain by Emma Eats & Explores For our main course, obviously, we had to order the steak. There was a choice between the two specialities, the Churrasco and the Solomillo.  We chose the Solomillo for two and were definitely not disappointed.  It was absolutely enormous, more than enough for two people!

The best thing about Casa Paco is that they only cook the steaks halfway, perfectly charring them on one side so that they are delicious and crispy while leaving the other side completely raw.  They then bring it to your table along with a hot plate and you can cook the rest of it yourself to you liking!  Mine barely touched the plate as I like it very rare and it was incredible.  One of the tastiest steaks I’ve ever eaten and went perfectly with the Pisto, another of their Specialities (a sauce made from cooked tomato, onions, peppers etc)!  I truly believe that for steak, this is genuinely one of the best restaurants in Madrid.Casa Paco Restaurant, Madrid, Spain by Emma Eats & Explores

You can read all about our Casa Paco dining experience here.

So there you go, four of the Best Restaurants in Madrid.  I’m convinced that if it’s authenticity and traditional Spanish cooking that you’re after then one of these options is definitely your best bet.  Avoid the tourist traps and head to the restaurants that the locals actually eat at – you wont be disappointed!  ¡Buen apetito!

Pin it for laterThe Most Authentic, Traditional & Best Restaurants in Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores - Botin, Posada de la Villa, Casa Paco & Casa Lucio

I'd be thrilled to hear any comments you have. I read each and every one and it means so much to me!

  1. This restaurant looks really amazing very unique and the food also looks delicious I have to try it when I go to Madrid

  2. I have already booked my ticket to Madrid, later on this year. I must say that I will definitely take your post into consideration before i arrive in Madrid. It is really a good eye opener. Would love to read more interesting things on your blog. Tnx for sharing. Martina

  3. Spanish cuisine is so heavy on meat… Don’t get me wrong, I like jamon and chorizo and almost all the spanish stuff, but man, the portions are huge!

  4. Oh MY GOODNESS! That WINE CELLAR – sorry for shouting but I about peed when I saw that! Absolutely jealous you got to go see that in person but thank you for sharing in your post. What an adventure!

  5. I’ve always wanted to travel and find authentic restaurants! This post will definitely be used for reference one day ?

  6. WOW. This post not only made me really hungry but want to book a flight to Madrid right NOW. Thank you so much for sharing! Hopefully I can visit some of these places in the future.

  7. Enjoyed this — I’ve been to several European countries, but never Spain. This makes me want to go! The cellars look so quaint; I’d love to eat there.

  8. The Food and the Place look amazing dear, thank you for sharing it with us.
    I have shared the post ahead 🙂

  9. I’ve never been to Madrid but based on that food I’m going to have to make a trip! And I want them to bust out some of that dusty wine! It all looks fantastic!

  10. All the food looks wonderful. Wow! What an amazing experience to dine in the cellars of a restaurant. There is an “old world” feel to it that is evident in the pictures you shared.

  11. Ugh.. my mouth is watering. Now I just need to go to Madrid. Those places sound amazing for all of the right reasons. Thanks for the quick guide to some great spots there.

    • A lot of research and asking around. Luckily my boyfriend’s father lived in Madrid for a while so he had plenty of recommendations! 🙂

  12. That food really looks yummy. I am happy to know Madrid is a gastronomic city because so is my hometown and we love food..I feel like planning out for Madrid on my next trip

  13. I love how the restaurants look in Madrid. The seem to have a certain vibe and inviting tone for everyone (: The food seems delicious. I cant wait to visit!

  14. Oh goodness, my mouth is officially watering! Of course I’d read this around lunch time:P
    Authenticity is definitely huge when traveling, and these dishes look superb! I can’t believe that wine cellar too!

  15. Madrid is coming up on our bucket list, and this makes it all the more appealing! That steak actually made my mouth water, and those clams look unbelievable. I cannot wait to go and try some of this stuff.

  16. Holy moly! What a fabulous place. I’ll be in Madrid in April to celebrate my birthday. I’m looking at wonderful restaurants to go to for a week. I can’t wait to try this place and just eat whatever I want.

  17. Last time I was in Madrid it wasn’t for long and I was on a budget so we didn’t spend much on food. I’d love to go back and try some of these restaurants. Casa Lucio is really catching my eye!

  18. I spent some really lovely times eating around Madrid but unfortunately I never tried any of those restaurants. Botin was on my list, but no one wanted to come with me, so well, I gave up. Next time I’ll go, i swear!

  19. What a awesome list of restaurants in Madrid . I have not been to Spain till now. But I will keep this list handy for my future visit. And the fried potatoes topped with an egg looks absolutely delicious.

  20. I love Spain SO much, and Madrid is an awesome city! We didn’t eat at any of these restaurants, but it looks like we definitely missed out by not going to Casa Paco. My husband and I both love a good, rare steak, yet it’s so hard to find.

    You didn’t mention the price range for any of these places, which makes me nervous. Are they all fairly expensive? Can’t be cheap if the chairs have the names of famous celebs carved in them. 🙂

    • I find it difficult to mention prices as we like our wine and tend to order an expensive bottle which pushes the bill up. For 2 people none of these places cost over 120 euros total and I’d say about half of that (maybe more) is the wine that we chose. The food is really reasonable and in these types of restaurants you can order a starter and the House Speciality for around 20-30 euros a head. It’s much cheaper to eat somewhere like this than to go to a fancy Nouvelle Cuisine Fusion restaurant (which in madrid can get to London type prices) and the fact that the locals all frequent the restaurants is testament to it’s value for money! I think there’s a link to each restaurants website in the post if you want to check out their menus and pricing! Hope that helped! 🙂

  21. These are are some great restaurants I’d love to try but for some reason I’m gravitated towards modern restaurants more but not too modern (like molecular fusion). I like traditional mixed with modern. Ever in Madrid, I’ll use this guide.

  22. These restaurants took amazing! I love trying new foods but I struggle as most of the local delicacies are meat based and I’m vegetarian. I really struggled when I went to visit my sister in La Linea! Dying to visit Madrid though, this is such a useful guide, so thank you for sharing!

  23. That wine cellar looks amazing. Would you happen to know the oldest bottle that they have. We love clams and we had an experience of catching them in Malaysia. The food looks delicious. Hope you had a good time.

  24. Thanks so much for the great recommendations! I love that you included a picture of what the restaurants look like from the street – so helpful when you are a lost wandering tourist. Haha. I didn’t realize until reading through this post how much meat is involved with traditional Spanish dishes – it all looks amazing!

    • Yeah, vegetarians have a few options (the traditional Spanish chickpea stew is one or padron peppers) but most of the diet is pretty meat based!

  25. It’s impressive that Botin has been in business for so long. I think most people’s goal is to see something different than other tourists so I’m sure everyone headed to Madrid will appreciate this. We love Madrid because it has a really cool vibe to it.

  26. Thanks for this list. I would like to check some of them, if not all when I have the chance to visit Madrid. Wonderful gastronomical experiences for you! This post makes me hungry.

  27. Thank you for these great recommendations of the best restaurants in Madrid. I have a friend who moved there and I am planning on visiting her soon. And because I am a foodie, the trip has to include some good restaurants as well. I would love to go to Botin, I have never been to such an old restaurant.

  28. I cannot wait to visit .Madrid! Every restaurant was just beautiful in its simplicity! I will have to visit the oldest restaurant in the world still running, I didn’t realize it was located there.

  29. That’s a lot of dust on those wine bottles in the cellar haha, do they ever open one o those?! And WOW everything looks SO good here. I love eggs and fries, so I’d be eating Huevos Estrellados every day in Madrid!

  30. I love that there is a restaurant that has been open since 1725 – how cool is that?! This is such a great list and review of different places. They all look amazing, can’t wait to try them myself!

    • yeah it’s definitely cool to eat in the oldest restaurant in the world! Hope you get to give some of them a go one day!

  31. Ugh, I just love food. I haven’t made my way to Spain yet but it is definitely on my list! Madrid especially. The place with the cute little cellar dining room looks so cozy and authentic!

  32. I wish I could have read this before I went to Madrid!! Guess I’ll have to go back and refer to your recs! This also made me extremely hungry. Never read posts about restaurants on an empty stomach!

  33. Reading this just made me hungry!! I want to go to Madrid RIGHT NOW to eat. Thanks for the tips, this is my favourite way to eat around a city, and a post like this is so much better than searching on Trip Advisor!

  34. I’m so hungry now…. despite the fact I’ve just eaten dinner. Your food pictures are delicious and everything sounds delicious. I’d really love to check out Botin…the oldest restaurant in the world. This is perfect because I’m planning on to Madrid within the year and will definitively reference this post. Thanks for sharing.

  35. This post left me wanting to eat steak! I am now having anxiety attack as I don’t know where to get one. LOL Anyhow, it’s quite fascinating to see that one of the oldest restos in the world and is still functioning up to this day can be found in Madrid! Oh if I will dine there, I’ll surely flood my friends’ IG newsfeed with their ambiance and foods!

  36. I really love Madrid and spanish cuisine…I lived in Spain for 3 years (Between Seville and Alicante) so I could write a book about it. I come back to Madrid as much as I can, and I can say really love its kind and lovely people. I already knew about Casa Paco and el Botin but not Casa Lucio, so next time I’m gonna try it 🙂 I’ll let you know my opinion, even I know it will be more than positive 😀


    • It’s really great – have you got any others you can recommend for next time I go? And I’m hoping to go to Seville soon. Any tips for that?

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