This nocturnal city beats to a different food clock. The locals usually don’t have breakfast until around 10am, lunch is between 2pm and 4pm and dinner isn’t until after 9pm. For me, a part of diving into the Spanish culture is working to this schedule and having a few strategic snacks so that I can last until 9pm for dinner. That being said, many cafes and restaurants in the tourist areas are extending their hours to cater to the travellers, so you will find you have a smorgasbord of options. The best part is, you don’t have to go to a Michelin starred restaurant to find the best food in Madrid. Wandering the back streets of La Latina, the food halls and the small family run restaurants are the best places to be. Here are a few of foodie highlights from Madrid.

Built inside a beautiful old cinema, previously known as Carlos III, Platea is probably best described as a high-end food hall that combines food and entertainment under one roof. A vast space, the restaurants are spread over 6,000 square metres through two floors, three galleries and the patisserie area. There are six main restaurants and lots of smaller food vendors serving food from a diverse range of cuisines. For our lunch, we enjoy a mix of Italian from one vender and Argentinian from another – all delivered to our one table. Up on the stage where the cinema screen would have once been live bands and musical acts play while you eat and drink, which adds a great atmosphere to the whole venue.
Address: Calle de Goya, 5-7, 28001 Madrid, Spain

A favourite with locals and travellers alike, we loved adventuring through the Mercado De San Miguel for a full gastronomic feast. Located next to Plaza Mayor, this famous food market hosts a large variety of food stalls with everything your heart could desire including tapas, pastries, cheeses, seafood, meats and chocolate. Enjoy having a big walk through the beautiful building and pick and choose the bits you want to try along the way. Keep an eye out for the stuffed olives, they were my favourite.
Address: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n, 28005 Madrid, Spai

Walking through La Latina is a lot of fun in itself. The Sunday we were there street parties were alive, with all of the bars bringing temporary bars and kegs onto the street and djs playing to the crowd. One section also had food stalls and carnival games (we didn’t win anything). La Rosa is tucked in a little back street and was a recommendation from a Spanish friend who had recently been in town. A quirky little restaurant, we were very lucky a group of three didn’t turn up to their booking so we were able to be slipped in. We sampled a good portion of the tapas menu and the food was delicious. Learning from our lesson, we pre-booked for another night as we enjoyed ourselves so much.
Address: Calle de Cádiz, 4, 28012 Madrid, Spai

For a truly European (almost Parisian) vibe head to Harina, right next to Retiro Park. This bakery and café was the perfect stop off for breakfast or lunch, one day we even stopped by for a quick smoothie before heading into the park. Soak up the Provençal style décor and beautiful views of the Puerta Alcalá gate while sitting in the much-needed shade from the sun. If you’re feeling like a little treat, don’t miss their pastries.
Address: Plaza de la Independencia, 10, 28001 Madrid, Spai

After walking past this restaurant every day as it was quite close to our hotel, I was determined to stop in. Great for a fun afternoon pit stop, the entire restaurant is fitted out with a 1950’s Americana theme. I couldn’t resist having a milkshake, which also comes in a version with a doughnut in the top for a little something extra. A bit of fun for an afternoon treat.
Address: Gran Vía, 53, 28013 Madrid, Spain