Rustic, hearty and filling, Madrid’s most emblematic dish is a must-try whenever you’re in the city. Read on to discover where to find the best cocido in Madrid!
Forget paella—the most typical food in Madrid is the city’s signature stew, cocido madrileño.
All winter long, local families gather around the table for long weekend lunches starring this hearty multi-course event of a meal. The only hard-and-fast rules: come hungry, wash it all down with plenty of Spanish wine, and save time for a well-deserved siesta afterwards.
If you don’t have a Spanish family to join for cocido Sundays, never fear! We’ve narrowed down this list of where to find the best cocido in Madrid so you can indulge just like the locals.
What is Cocido Madrileño?
Cocido madrileño (often shortened to simply cocido) essentially translates to “Madrid stew.” It’s probably best to eat cocido after you’ve worked up quite an appetite. This delicious comfort food staple is a multi-course meal in itself.
Traditionally, the first course of the cocido-eating experience is always a simple soup made with tiny angel-hair noodles cooked in the broth of the stew. From there, there’s a bit of wiggle room.
The second course consists of chickpeas and vegetables, namely potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. The third and final course—the main event—is all about the meat, with pork belly, chorizo, morcilla, and beef being common additions. However, every family and every chef is different, so every cocido madrileño recipe is different, too.
If you want to make things a bit easier, the meal can be shortened to just two courses. In this case, the noodle soup would still come first, followed by the chickpeas, meat and vegetables all together as the second course.
No matter how you choose to enjoy it, cocido madrileño is a must-try winter dish that’s perfect for those long, leisurely lunches Spaniards enjoy so much. Here are our top picks for the best cocido in Madrid!
Where to Eat the Best Cocido in Madrid
1. La Bola
This tiny, family-run restaurant tucked away into the city center is famous for its hearty, traditional dishes. It should come as no surprise, then, that La Bola is home to the best cocido in Madrid!
What makes their cocido stand out is the fact that they still cook it the same way they did way back when the restaurant opened in 1870: in individual clay jars over oak charcoal. This old-world approach allows each portion to take on maximum flavor.
2. Casa Carola
Despite having just opened its doors in 1998, Casa Carola has quickly become famous as one of the best places to eat cocido in Madrid. They serve the hearty traditional dish every day for lunch as its own menú del día.
Can’t make it there at midday? No worries! The imaginative cooks use the leftovers of the day’s cocido to create unique tapas, such as cocido croquettes, available in the evening. Cocido madrileño isn’t just a dish here—it’s a way of life!
3. Los Arcos de Ponzano
Although they only serve it on Wednesdays throughout most of the year, the cocido at Los Arcos de Ponzano is not to be missed. Located on a lively street in the thoroughly authentic Chamberí neighborhood, this friendly restaurant will immediately make you feel at home.
What’s great about this spot is they allow unlimited refills of cocido broth, and the main chickpeas-and-meat course is comfort food like you’ve never experienced it before. Wash it all down with a glass of wine from their very own bodega!
4. La Gran Tasca
Ready to take on the challenge of “the most complete cocido in Madrid?” Head to La Gran Tasca, where their gigantic servings of cocido are not for the faint of heart.
After eating as much broth as your heart desires, it’s time to take on the monster of a second course: 15 ingredients total! It all comes with olives and homemade rustic bread (if you still have room for more food!). Despite its huge size, this wonderfully filling cocido madrileño in Madrid is just as delicious as it is big, making it well worth the attempt.
5. La Cruz Blanca de Vallecas
It’s a bit of a hike from the city center, but this unassuming little bar is the award-winning home of some of the best cocido in Madrid.
With 17,000 cocidos served each year (using 4,000 kilos of chickpeas!), they certainly know what they’re doing at La Cruz Blanca de Vallecas. Still don’t believe us? Ask former King of Spain Juan Carlos I, who visited the restaurant in 2017 to try what he had heard was “the best cocido in the world” (and it seems he agrees!).
Best Cocido in Madrid FAQs
When you dig in to a meal of cocido, you’ll first enjoy a simple noodle soup made with the stew’s broth. Next come the vegetables and chickpeas, and finally the meat. Some places serve the final two courses together to shorten the meal a bit.
A hearty, filling meal like cocido is strictly a lunchtime food in Spain. Madrileños wouldn’t dream of eating something so heavy at dinner right before going to bed!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on February 23, 2018 and was updated with new text and photos on September 30, 2021.