5 Tips for Eating Alone in Madrid: How to Enjoy the Best Spanish Food on Your Own

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.

Eating alone in Madrid can seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Check out this guide for tips on solo dining in Spain's capital.

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.

Where to Go: Try Bar Benteveo for breakfast, Bodega de la Ardosa for tapas and Bar Santurce for amazing sardines.

Toast with fresh tomato and olive oil
One of the most classic Spanish breakfasts there is: the humble tostada topped with fresh tomato and high-quality olive oil.

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.

Where to Go: We recommend the menús del día at Taberna El Sur de Huertas, La Musa Latina and Restaurante Badila.

A bowl of tomato salmorejo
The first course of a menú del día is usually a seafood or veggie-based dish, like salmorejo, while the second course is often a meat option.

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!

Not super comfortable eating alone in Madrid? A local market is a great place to ease yourself into solo dining.
You’ll never feel lonely when you’re surrounded by the lively buzz of the market.

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.

Dipping churros into hot chocolate
The best part of eating churros solo: no need to share.

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!

2 Comment

  1. March 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    I love the idea of meeting new friends along the way because it would be interesting to see all the different kinds of people. Tourists come from everywhere so it would be cool to learn more about those cultures. All the while, I could try new foods!

    1. Devour Tours says
      March 19, 2020 at 7:14 am

      Couldn’t agree more, Rita—that’s the best way to travel!

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