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  • Writer's pictureCathy Pendleton

Fabulous Food Finds in Madrid, Spain

Walking through the historical downtown of Spain’s capital will prove to be anything but boring. Grand buildings, some topped with statues of horses pulling chariots, line the boulevards, keeping your gaze in constant motion. Everywhere there are people out strolling, in the plazas, through the parks, in and out of shops and boutiques, cathedrals, you get the idea. And, where there are people, there is always the opportunity to discover new foods and ways other cultures do food differently.

In a span of twenty-four hours (why I only planned one night in this amazing city, I’ll never know), here are three fabulous food finds and how I happened upon them in Madrid.


Traveling from Barcelona to Madrid in the fall of 2021, we arrived at the hotel from the train station, dropped our luggage off in the lobby, and asked for a lunch recommendation. Then my favorite travel and life partner Rick and I headed out to El Mercado de la Reina, a local spot close by.

After finding seats at the bar and reading over the menu, I came across my first food find, a soup I’d never heard of before ― Salmorejo topped with Iberian ham & egg shavings. It just took one taste and I knew this was something special.

The ingredients are simple enough, tomatoes, olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, sherry vinegar, and hard boiled eggs, but whipped together into a silky smooth texture, the sum proves greater that the parts. The soup was an unexpected treat, so much so, that I ordered it again for dinner at a different restaurant that night.

Mercado de San Miguel

The next day we were up early to do some exploring before leaving Madrid for Sevilla that afternoon. We wandered through Plaza Mayor, the central plaza of Madrid, and nearby, I spotted my second food find, the Market of San Miguel, located in a beautiful iron structure originally built in 1916. Even though we had upcoming lunch reservations, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample a few of the amazing dishes available from the food stands in elegant market.

The displays of food and the building itself are a feast for the senses and I left there wishing I could have stayed longer. But, reservations for lunch had already been made, so, begrudgingly, I found my way out of the market.

Wine Offered by the Half Glass

Any remorse I felt leaving the Market of San Miguel quickly vanished once I was seated at the Angelita restaurant for lunch. Here was Spanish dining at its finest. As exceptional as our meal was (and it was), my third food find actually came in a glass, several glasses to be exact.

Wines are offered by the half glass at Angelita’s and the server paired each of our courses with a different wine recommendation. Different stemware, designed specifically for each wine selection, was even used with each course. The concept of half pours gave us the opportunity to sample an array of Spain’s finest wines while still remaining sober enough to catch the train later that afternoon. Brilliant!

Since returning from my travels in Spain, I’ve thought back on my food finds in Madrid. I’ve even tried my hand at making the salmorejo soup, visited a few food markets and poured myself more than a few half glasses of wine, but, alas, it’s just not the same as being there.

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