No one who visits the Spanish capital should leave without sampling its incredible cuisine—solo travelers included. Check out our guide to eating alone in Madrid, and make the most of every meal!
In Spain, meals are a social affair. There’s nothing like sitting down for lunch with a big group of friends or family, and enjoying a feast in good company. But not everyone who visits Madrid brings their social circle with them—and that’s okay. Eating alone in Madrid can be just as delicious and rewarding as dining with other people, if you do it right.
Top 5 tips for solo dining in Madrid
Here’s our best advice for solo travelers in Madrid who don’t want to miss out on a single bite. Read on for everything from restaurant recommendations to secrets for feeling a little less lonely—based on plenty of personal experience!
1. Bars aren’t just for drinking
Spain is famous for having the most bars per square meter than any other country—and bars here offer much more than just alcohol. In fact, they can be some of the best places to eat, especially on your own. Walk into any neighborhood place, ideally populated with plenty of elderly locals, and grab a seat at the bar.
Order a coffee and a croissant or a tostada con tomate y aceite for breakfast, or maybe a bocadillo for lunch. The casual, social atmosphere of Madrid’s traditional bars means that no one will look twice at a solo diner. In fact, you’ll probably be in the company of plenty of others like you. Let yourself blend into the background and enjoy this authentic aspect of Spanish culture.
2. Lunch for one, please
During the week, many restaurants in Spain offer a fixed-price menu for lunch, known as the menú del día. You’ll usually get two courses, dessert or coffee, bread and a drink for €10 to €15. This is a popular option for people on their lunch break, and enjoying it alone isn’t out of the ordinary. It’s also a nice alternative to tapas culture, which is sometimes better suited to sharing.
Lunch in Madrid is a long and lazy affair—take your time, relax and take in your surroundings. Plus, it’s the perfect chance to people watch; try to find a spot on a terrace or by a window so you can watch the world go by as you eat.
3. Markets are your new best friends
In Spain, markets aren’t just for grocery shopping. These meccas of culinary culture are also the perfect places to explore the many facets of Spanish cuisine, and to enjoy a makeshift meal on your own. There are many different kinds of Spanish food markets, from trendy upscale options to authentic local spots.
Our advice? Pick any market, spend some time wandering around and then order something small from a few different places. You can eat at the stalls, standing up or while you walk—no need to ask for a table for one.
Alternatively, grab some supplies (cured meats, cheese, homemade bread, fresh produce, etc.) and head outside for a picnic in the park.
Where to Go: Mercado de San Miguel is the prettiest and most popular market for tourists. Mercado de San Fernando and Mercado de Antón Martín have a chiller vibe, while Mercado de San Antón is more modern and trendy. Try Mercado de la Cebada for fresh seafood!
4. Treat yourself!
If you’ve ever fallen into the trap of thinking that a fancy meal requires a special occasion—and someone to celebrate it with—think again. One of the best ways to make the most of solo dining is to treat yourself to a meal at an upscale restaurant, a fancy cocktail or dessert just for you.
Don’t be afraid to book a table for yourself, wear the nicest outfit in your suitcase and order whatever your heart desires. Solo travel is all about you: wherever you want to go and whatever you feel like eating. And Madrid offers plenty of opportunities to indulge!
Where to Go: For a fancy lunch or dinner, try Fismuler (and don’t miss dessert). Get the city’s coolest cocktails at 1862 Dry Bar and Salmon Guru, gourmet ice cream at Mistura and classic churros and hot chocolate at Chocolatería San Ginés.
5. Join other solo travelers on a food tour
If you’re ready to meet some other travelers who appreciate food as much as you do, this is the perfect choice. Here at Devour Tours, we offer some of the best food tours in Madrid, taking you to all the top spots for tapas, wine and even flamenco. You’ll get exclusive insider tips and visit all our favorite local places!
Sometimes there’s nothing like enjoying great food in good company, and getting to know the people behind the counter or in the kitchen. Even solo travelers can experience this with Devour Madrid and the new friends you’ll meet along the way, elevating typical tourist activities to something truly unique.
We can’t wait to meet you—book your foodie experience today!
Melissa first moved to Madrid to explore her interests in linguistics and communication, and quickly fell in love with the city’s culture and cuisine. She’s particularly passionate about Spanish vermouth and canned seafood, and makes it a point to drench absolutely everything in olive oil.