By Cynthia Kane in Madrid—
Madrid has no shortage of restaurants specializing in tapas, traditionally a small meal or snack. While technically a lighter plate, these dishes are supposed to deliver big on taste. For Cheapos in Madrid, here are my picks for three tasty tapas spots that won’t strip your wallet or leave your appetite unsatisfied.
Calle Ruiz, 20
The outside looks like any taberna in the city, but inside the decor is a mix of cultures. Paintings by a Russian artist, hand-carved Mexican furniture, painted tables flown in from India, and the list goes on. Besides stopping in to see what this place looks like, you should also take a seat in the gorgeous dining area and order some Galician style pintxos (tapas). The dishes here start at €1.80. To wash the Boquerones en Vinagre down, try one of dozens of types of wines. There’s also a good beer selection and the bartender here makes excellent cocktails.
Calle Torrecilla del Leal, 12
For Spanish film buffs out there, this tapas joint has got the goods. If you’re up on your movie trivia, you might try naming the director of each movie poster plastered to the wall. Walk to the back where there are wooden tables, large enough for groups, and browse through the savory menu. At El Sur you’ll find a mix of Raciones: spinach quiche with raisons (a larger plate at only €2.50), scrambled eggs with mushrooms, chorizo, and Jamón Serrano, the Tortilla Española, plus a a bunch of daily specials.
Calle de Argumosa, 17
Posters and old framed photographs adorn the light blue walls of this popular bar-cum-restaurant. The vibe here is 50s chic mixed with a local Lavapiés-neighborhood flavor. During warmer months, Automåtico is the place for sipping Tinto de Verano and other refreshing concoctions outdoors. All year long, though, this place is chock-a-block full of patrons. Put simply, the tapas some of the best in the ‘hood. The Salmorejo is rich and fresh, croquetas pack a punch, and the prices are reasonable.