Google Maps, the great equalizer for directions in unknown cities. However, I am learning that not all of the best restaurants are easily found on Google Maps. This is because mainly tourists use Google Maps, skewing the ratings or omitting places that are off the beaten path. These hidden gems are some of the cheapest, most delicious spots in Madrid. Here’s a list of a few hard-to-find or impossible-to-find restaurants!
1. Nuevo Apolo
• Location: Tirso de Molina, across the street from Cine Ideal
• The Food: One of the few restaurants that offers a dinnertime Menú, it is 10 euros for lunch or 11 euros for dinner. Their menu features Peruvian and Spanish cuisine including ceviche, salads, fish, and chicken. With the menú you choose a primero, a segundo, a postre, and a drink. If you order wine they give you a small personal bottle with about three glasses in it! When I went there, I ordered ceviche for my primero, dorada a la Plancha for my segundo, and arroz con leche for desert. Amazing quality food for the price!
2. Restaurante El Valle
• Location: After days of searching, I believe it is located at Calle de Sebastián Herrera, 6, 28012 Madrid
• The Food: Galician Food! I went here with my host family for a birthday celebration, and I truly felt like a Spaniard. Took me forever to find this restaurant on Google Maps, as it didn’t easily come up in search results. Their menu is great for sharing, and if you’re waiting at the bar and order a drink, they give you manchego cheese and empanada! Some highlights: baby squid with caramelized onions, potatoes with a strong and stinky cheese, and pig ears! I never thought I would agree to eat pig ears, but: ¡Adonde fueres, haz lo que vieres!
• Location: Mercado de San Fernando in Lavapiés
• The Food: This is on the list because while Mercado de San Fernando is easily searchable, individual restaurants are not! I suggest taking a stroll through the market before taking your pick. My personal favorite was the stand, not searchable on google, that offers 8 tapas for 15 euro! From that stall, I ordered a tosta with caramelized onions, goat cheese and marmalade, a tosta with jamón and tomate and asparagus, and an empanadilla filled with pisto. Each tapa was better than the one before, and for only 2 euros per individual tapa, it is definitely worth the price! I will be back!
4. El Var
• Location: Calle Mira el Río Baja
• The Food: This is on google maps, but it’s on the list because it is not well-reviewed, though it is well-hidden in El Rastro. It’s on one of the side streets, and it’s a perfect place to stop if the El Rastro market becomes overwhelming, or if you want an affordable snack. The owner gives 50% off his menu on El Rastro days. For breakfast my mother and I each got a (giant) café con leche, a tosta with blue cheese, walnuts, and jam, and we split a plate of migos. All for 5 euros!
5. Pasteleria Pan de Azúcar
• Location: 12 Calle Andrés Torrejón
• The Food: Across the street from the bus stop near my internship, this Pasteleria has some ridiculously good empanadas. One day I stumbled upon this little shop and I am enthusiastic about it because it is so unassuming and simple. Spinach empanadas, for example, are 0,95 euros. Today, I got a ridiculously delicious goat cheese empanada for under 2 euros. There are so many great little unknown bakeries in Madrid!