It’s safe to say that most visitors to Madrid will find themselves at or near Atocha, the main train station, at some point.
You might be arriving in town via train, or about to catch the Cercanías commuter rail line to the airport. Or maybe you’re already enjoying your time in Madrid by visiting the Reina Sofia Museum or exploring the Palos de la Frontera neighborhood.
No matter what you’re doing in this neck of the woods, you’ll probably get hungry at some point. And when you do, this guide to where to eat near Atocha in Madrid will be your best friend.
As far as train stations go, Atocha is one of the most interesting ones out there. The original terminal building dates back to 1892, and was designed by architect Alberto Palacio, who worked closely with Gustave Eiffel (yep, that Eiffel). That space is today a bustling modern concourse housing shops, restaurants, and—most notably—a stunning indoor tropical garden.
As Spain’s biggest and busiest railway station, Atocha itself—as well as the surrounding area—is packed with places to eat and drink. Many of them are fast food joints and chains—not the end of the world if you’re really in a pinch, but nothing special or memorable.
This guide to where to eat near Atocha in Madrid will help you discover the area’s culinary gems. From Madrid-style street food to international fare, you’ll find it all in this happening part of town.
1. O Pazo de Lugo
Lush, green Galicia in northwestern Spain is famous for its excellent cuisine, especially its seafood. However, you don’t need to travel quite so far to enjoy fabulous Galician food in Madrid!
O Pazo de Lugo proudly serves traditional Galician dishes made using the finest ingredients. Here, you can enjoy everything from typical empanadas to Galicia’s iconic octopus dish, pulpo a feira. This is one of the best restaurants near Atocha if you’re looking for high quality, authentic food from one of Spain’s best gastronomic regions.
2. Bodegas Rosell
Just around the corner from the station, Bodegas Rosell prides itself on its excellent wine selection and fabulous Spanish home cooking. (This is where to eat near Atocha in Madrid if you want to experience one of the city’s best wine bars!)
The place has been going strong for nearly a century, and not much has changed in that time. The old-world decor and classic recipes will transport you back to the glamorous Madrid of days gone by. Just don’t forget to order extra croquetas!
3. Rio Grande
This lively and colorful Central American spot is easily one of the best foodie hidden gems in Madrid, as well as one of the best restaurants near Atocha. Pupusas are the specialty of the house, each one bursting with fresh, flavorful ingredients that will transport your tastebuds straight to El Salvador.
4. Pui’s Thai Tapas
Craving Thai? This spot (founded and run by a Thai chef) is a must. The portion sizes are generous and fairly priced, and there’s plenty of variety to choose from—curries, noodle dishes, tapas, and so much more, making it one of the best restaurants near Atocha.
5. La Caníbal
It used to be hard to find great craft beer in Madrid. Luckily, that’s getting much easier today thanks to spots like La Caníbal.
A sister restaurant to O Pazo de Lugo, La Caníbal offers a fun, modern take on Spanish food and drink while honoring its roots. In addition to craft beer, they also offer excellent natural wines, cheese plates, and juicy grilled meats.
6. El Brillante
One of the most significantly madrileño things you’ll eat in the Spanish capital isn’t a dish of paella, or even a slice of tortilla de patatas. It’s a fried calamari sandwich.
The bocadillo de calamares is intrinsically tied to Madrid. And it just so happens that one of the best places in town to eat one is El Brillante right across the street from Atocha. This is no-frills Spanish dining at its best, and practically a Madrid rite of passage in itself.
Travel time between the station and the airport is 15–20 minutes by car, 30 minutes by commuter train and metro, 40 minutes by commuter train only, and 30–40 minutes via the Airport Express bus.
Yes! Several AVE (Spain’s high-speed train system) lines connect Atocha to cities throughout Spain and even into France.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on June 19, 2018 and was updated with new text and photos on March 26, 2021.