I don’t know about you but I really miss being able to wander down the side streets around town and happen upon a new shop or restaurant you’ve never seen before. I love doing this in Madrid but I will do this in any city I visit. I just love the exciting feeling of putting the map or your phone away and taking in everything around you – the sights, the smells, the sounds, the language, you name it.
Ever since the Spanish government lifted the exercise ban around the entire country on May 2nd, I have been taking daily walks and not wandering around side streets in search of a new-to-me shop or hole in the wall joint. Instead, I’ve been gazing longingly at the rooftop terraces and plant-covered windowsills or balconies I spot around the general area where I now live. I’m noticing all the architecture and peculiarities I never noticed before because I was too busy going about my life and rushing from one place to another.
In fact, one evening all I did was notice different designs, patterns and the way the sunlight bounced off the buildings I walked past in the Charmartín District after writing and analyzing the tile work and designs of Lisbon’s hand-painted tiles.
With all that being said and as nice as it has been to enjoy a slower pace of life these past 10 weeks, it’s almost time for most of Spain to slowly open up its businesses once again. All of us, whether we are business owners or not, are struggling in some way, shape, or form. But, as soon as we can start to resume normal life (with a few adjustments), us Madrid residents ought to invest our euros into the small shops and family-run restaurants that warm our hearts.
So, without further ado, here’s my round-up of local Madrid cafés, restaurants, online shops and digital products. I have personally tried or used all of the businesses that are on the list so rest assured that these are places and businesses that I personally recommend from experience.
Restaurants, Bakeries & Cafes
Mazál Bagels & Café
If you read my review on Mazál Bagels back in February, you will already be familiar with this place. Located in the Financial District of the city, Mazál switched from an online bakery to a brick and mortar café and bakery specializing in NY-style bagels and bagel sandwiches. They also bake yummy cakes, cheesecake, cookies, challah bread, and other baked goods. You can place an order either on their website or Instagram stories for orders Wednesday to Sunday. Tamara updates their IG stories regularly and reminds you to order fast because they sell out quickly each day. Their delivery radius is for anyone located inside or very close to the M-30 but on select weekends they deliver to the outskirts (ie: Alcorcón and Alcobendas).
Offering: Delivery since late March 2020, walk-ins and pickups (starting May 22nd)
June 2020 Update: Mázal is officially open for dine-in and is currently running a summer promotion for brunch (reservation only) on the weekends. Stop by if you live close enough!
Founded in 1894 by a mallorquín (someone originating from Mallorca), this emblematic bakery located in Puerta del Sol, recently opened its second location on Calle Velázquez. And due to the Covid-19 crisis, the busy hands behind the bakery worked behind the scenes to make their amazing, artisanal baked goods and chocolate treats online for the very first time.
Place your order on their website but check and make sure La Mallorquina delivers to your zip code first (delivery also available to Leganés, Fuenlabrada and Getafe.)
Offering: Delivery through their own website
Delivery only food service makes handmade, British-style bacon and sausage using meat from Spanish Duroc pigs.
They closed temporarily in March due to a shortage in their stock but have been back in business since April 27th. You can place your order directly on their website and they will email you both payment and shipping confirmation.
We had heard about the company from a Welsh friend, Gareth, over at GTS Life (his own website that offers social media help, CV edits and portrait photography), who praised them for their quality meats and great service. So as soon as they got things back up and running, we placed an order in late April and got their introductory offer #1. It comes with 3 packs of sausages and two packs of bacon. We tried one of each but then froze the rest.
Offering: Delivery online only around Spain.
An extremely popular neighborhood bakery located very close to where my husband and I live. It’s even won the coveted Unfortunately, they do not do delivery but if you live in the areas of Valdeacederas, Plaza de Castilla, Tetúan or Cuzco, their bread and pastries are well worth the trip!
During the main phase of lockdown (March 16th-May 2nd), they were only allowed to open from 9 am to 3 pm and their usual lines went from out the door to around the next street!
They also don’t have a website but their Facebook page shows pictures of the types of bread they make.
Location: Calle del Capitán Blanco Argibay, 16, Madrid 28029
Hours: 8:30 am – 8 pm (Monday-Friday), 9 am – 8 pm (Saturday) and 9 am – 3 pm (Sunday)
Located just a few streets away from Gran Vía, the first Toma Café opened in the heart of Malasaña in 2011. All of their coffee is roasted in Madrid but you can now enjoy it in other parts of Spain (and even internationally!) through their online shop.
A lot of madileños, both adopted and local, know this café to be a great place to socialize, work on your laptop or relish in the open-air wafting into the mostly windowless café. It’s a place that has a minimalist style but oozes charm and joy, thanks to all the laughter and chatter that usually fill it.
Toma has been busy in the past few years with a new location near Plaza Olavide (Chamberí) and another one coming soon. They also started a new venture in the world of chocolate called La Sonora de Chocolates, with more information on their main site. Their selection of chocolates looks delectable!
Offering: Order ground coffee from their website and pick up fresh coffee, tea, and other baked goods at the door.
Locations: Calle Palma, 49 and Calle Santa Feliciana, 5
Living in London
Formerly located in the Alonso Martínez area – where they spent 19 years – Madrid’s most elegant English tea room, Living in London now makes its home in Barrio de Salamanca. A posh, upper-class neighborhood that houses some of the highest-rated and most unique restaurants, cafés, and gastro bars in the city.
While you aren’t able to sit in for a lovely hot cup of tea, a nice crisp salad or a refreshing cocktail, you can order some of their products from their online store and get decorating ideas for your home. Once summer officially kicks off, they may be able to open to a certain capacity. However, I’ve found that the tea room doesn’t update social media channels often and the best way to know what’s going on is to stop by their door for any announcements or notices.
Check out their online shop to see what elegant British dinnerware, gifts, and treats you can find.
Offering: Delivery from Deliveroo and Glovo and product delivery through their online shop.
Location: Calle Nuñez de Balboa, 76, 28006 Madrid
Matute Arepa Bar
A couple of blocks away from Toma Café is another Malsaña gem, Matute Area Bar, which was founded in 2015. Apart from having homemade arepas from a Venezuelan friend in Galicia, these are hands down the best arepas I’ve had in Madrid.
The staff is friendly and easy to get to know and their corn flour flatbread sandwich-style dishes (arepas) are filled with fresh and flavorful ingredients. I personally love the Reina Pepiada (pictured above) and my husband sometimes goes for the Pulled Pork.
Until I browsed their website, I didn’t know you could order various items they serve in bulk like marinated meat, frozen arepa bread and even their delicious tequeños (chunks of queso blanco rolled in dough and fried). It’s all on their website.
Offering: Bulk pre-cooked meat and areas on their online shop and take out via Deliveroo and Glovo
A café that stays open 24 hours a day but only allows sit-in visits from 7 am-midnight.
As of May 2020, they are doing walk-in and carryout only.
I’ve been here a few times since we moved to the Plaza de Castilla area. While it’s a place that’s best enjoyed in-person for its decor and homey feel, if you want to get a coffee at any time of the day or a quick snack, this is a great place to go.
They don’t have social media channels as far as I can see but here are their Trip Advisor ratings.
Location: Calle de Bravo Murillo, 359 28020 Madrid
Located just a few minutes from the Plaza de Castilla metro entrances and bus station, Trattoria La Forchetta boasts the best pizzas in Madrid.
They had been closed for most of the lockdown but recently went through negotiations to set up a deal with Uber Eats (from what I can tell). We really like the atmosphere and have been trying to snag one of their coveted window tables but to no avail.
I have been here for special occasions and for a nice quiet lunch with a friend on the weekend. Everything they make is made and baked right there from fresh pasta to gigantic pizzas and light and fluffy profiteroles (cream puffs).
Offering: Delivery through Uber Eats and Just Eat to select zip codes
Honest Greens opened in Madrid a couple of years ago and it was the brainchild of an American, a Danish man, and a French chef who were all entrepreneurs and loved food. Motivated for their love of food, they wanted to create an ethically sourced restaurant and help the agricultural sector all at the same time. And thus the Honest Greens concept was born.
The thing I love about dining here is that the restaurant brings to the city is that they cook all of their dishes with locally sourced produce and meat.
A farm-to-table experience right in the middle of a major metropolitan city.
They also have a wide variety of vegetarian options and honestly (get it?), a wide variety and combination of different vegetable-based plates and salad bowls. All subject to seasonal availability.
As of May 2020, they have restaurants in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, Portugal. According to their Instagram account, delivery is now available from their Barcelona locations. (In Lisbon, you are only able to visit their Parque das Nações location for pick-up orders only.)
Offering: Delivery through Glovo and for their full menu visit their website
A Madrid centro favorite and classic pizzeria, Vesuvio is located on the historic walking street Calle Hortaleza.
It is most well-known for its tiny dine-in location (the only one in the city since 1979!) and for supplying a lot of Madrid Centro with carryout pizzas and pasta (from their pick-up window).
I took a friend here for her birthday during my first couple of months of living in Madrid and we had a great meal of pasta, wine, and bread. The only seating in this restaurant is bar-style which means there isn’t a sitdown table in the entire place!
But thanks to their own delivery service, you can order one of their classic dishes and eat it in the comfort of your own home – no need to worry about lack of seating!
Offering: Delivery within the M-30; call or visit their website for more information.
Tuk Tuk Asian Street Food
Based in Madrid and the surrounding suburbs (and now Valencia), Tuk Tuk Asian Street Food brings its customers tastes and flavors from around Asia.
Some of their dishes arrive smaller than what you would normally get if you visited the restaurant but nonetheless everything I’ve tried from there is delicious and savory.
I like the Chile Chicken Mango rice bowl, the No Lo Sé beef and noodle dish, and the Babi Ketjap (marinated Indonesian pork) but for the most value, I would recommend their Pad Thai if you’re ordering in.
Offering: Delivery only through Deliveroo, Glovo, Just Eat and Uber Eats
Services and Other Products
Devour Tours Cookbook
Well-established in Madrid as the leading company for food tours and wine tastings, Devour Tours has recently found itself re-inventing itself for its fans and customers. And most of the re-inventing has been done in the founders, guides, and employees’ kitchens!
I have made traditional dishes like tortilla de patatas and salmorejo before but I am eager to try my hand at the can’t-have-just-one pastéis de nata (custard tarts) and bacalhau com natas from Portugal and the fancy French dessert Clafoutis with berries. Plus, once summer weather fully kicks off, I want to try the Andalusian favorite, gambas al ajillo and solomillo al whisky. There are over 50 recipes in this book and you might feel inspired to try them all by the time lockdown is over!
They are also doing gift cards for future tours and online experiences if you are really craving a taste of one of the 8 European cities they have built a presence in. It’s priced per screen so the experience -as it should be- can be shared with others!
(Keep in mind: the schedule changes weekly and time slots favor Americans in located in all US Standard Time Zones but anyone is welcome to sign up and participate)
Ayres de Blends (Premium Loose Leaf Teas & Luxury Gifts)
Madrid-based luxury and gourmet tea shop, Ayres de Blends was born from Beatriz Gallego’s (founder) passion for tea. She prepares quality loose leaf tea blends for events and gatherings but also sells her combinations online. And she has even provided gourmet blends for the Spanish Royal family and other important public figures in the country. You can also find classy, delicate teapots and cups and luxury gift packs for yourself, for family or for someone special. Talk about fancy, eh?
My friend’s landlady knows this woman personally and recommended her shop to me. In April I was able to snag a 20% off discount and free shipping (the location was surprisingly in my old Madrid zip code). However, in May you can receive a 10% discount but 3-day shipping (10€) is extra.
Offering: Online shop with delivery around Spain
Violet Tea (Loose Leaf Teas and Gifts)
As stated on their Instagram and Link Tree, Violet Tea is not open right now and is currently working on the final touches of their online store. They plan to open whenever Madrid enters Phase II of Deescalation but are keeping everyone up-to-date on their Facebook page and Instagram.
Their teas are also fresh and loose leaf with an average shelf life of 5-12 months, depending on the type. I really liked their green and Pu erm teas when I needed a nice early afternoon pick-me-up. One tea I have yet to try is Ensueños de la Alhambra, which is a mix of black and green teas plus jasmine and rose petals.
The anticipated opening date is June 8th but they are working hard to have their online store up and running before then.
Offering: (in the meantime) orders through Instagram DMs and WhatsApp
Enjabonarte (Handmade Soaps with Natural Ingredients)
Enjabonarte is located in the heart of Madrid on Calle Mayor. I had actually passed by their shop a number of times while on many daily trips or new adventures but never realized it was a local, handmade soap shop until last spring. It was a good thing I figured out what type of shop it was because this time last year I was focusing on establishing a good summer skincare routine for my wedding (and beyond).
I can personally vouch for their Barros de Mar Muerta soap (Dead Sea Clay) for a deep clean and their Moroccan Argan oil soap which helps stop signs of aging. Both smell heavenly and provide you with such a deep clean that will leave you amazed.
They have a special discount going on right now during the State of Alarm (until June 7th currently). 10% off all orders placed while the state of alarm is in effect.
I haven’t ordered from them yet because I surprisingly still have some soap left. But when I do order, I plan to try their lavender and perhaps their violet and calendula soaps.
June 2020 Update
Offering: 10% off on all orders placed during the State of Alarm via their online shop. They also have a newsletter you can sign up for and receive a 15% off discount code valid for 2 months for either an in-store or online purchase.
Fill in Good (Refillable Bulk Soap Shop)
Having just set up shop in Spring 2019, this was one very new Madrid business I was actually concerned about. In an attempt to reduce a lot of my everyday plastic use, this store was a godsend for me and I didn’t want the city to lose it.
I have personally used their antibacterial hand soap, pink laundry detergent for hand wash items only, active charcoal handmade soap (for face and body), solid shampoo (for dry scalp) and their own hand sanitizer. I bought the last item on her last day being open (March 13th) and the 250ml (about 8oz) was free as long as you brought your own bottle.
Their website is merely a place holder for Fill in Good but their Instagram account is where they publish the latest news and updates to their brick and mortar shop.
Just yesterday on May 19th, they announced that they are going to be open by appointment only. For more updates check out their Instagram.
Offering: By appointment shop visits only
Location: Calle de Valverde, 31 28004 Madrid
Hours: Monday – Friday 11 am – 3 pm; 5:30 pm. – 8:30 pm, Saturday 11 am – 3 pm.
To Good To Go
This is a fairly established app in Madrid now but it’s one we just tried this week. Over 45,000 establishments around Europe have partnered with them. Their main goal is to reduce food waste from major restaurant chains in the city. An estimated 40% of the food around the world goes into the trash and with world hunger still a major problem in the 21st century, organizations are working hard to put a stop to this.
One way that you can do this in Madrid (or other Spanish cities) is through this Copenhagen-based app. After getting the app and creating an account, simply browse their selection of restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and cafés near you for leftovers.
You then select which establishment you want, pay and then visit the chosen location in the scheduled time frame to pick up your goods!
Offering: Pay on the app but pick-up is from select stores directly
City-led Initiative for Madrid small businesses
Around the city, digital announcements and ads have been popping up. Just last week I became aware of this new initiative brought to you by the Ayuntamiento de Madrid as a way to garner support for local small businesses and markets when they re-open. Volveremos Si Tú Vuelves is new but the city is still looking for partners in sectors like shopping, gastronomy, health and beauty, art, sports, professional services, tourism, and more.
In fact, the initiative extends to the outskirts of Madrid in Tres Cantos and in provinces such as Valladolid, Soria, Zaragoza and Teruel.
Discounts and vouchers range from a certain percentage off a business’s services, a free cocktail with dinner or a discount on a hotel stay.
Simply click the me apunto button underneath the offer and a window will pop up, prompting you to save the coupon in PDF format.
As you can see, there are lots of Madrid small businesses that you can support in this trying time. As a freelance service based business owner myself, I can definitely vouch for the phrase “every euro (dollar) helps,” when it comes to weathering a financial slump. However, I believe with lots of support from the community and spreading the news about small businesses by name will make a great impact for these owners and their livelihoods.
Please share this post far and wide across the Madrid and wider Spain community. You never know how much of an impact it will make!