Spain is not known as a big breakfast country like other European cities like Great Britain or Germany. Nevertheless, there are nearly at any corner good restaurants, cafeterías, chocolaterías, and pastelerías, where you can get good and cheap breakfast. What is different is the time when people usually eat in the morning. Most shops are closed until 9 a.m. So, while many people start working around that time, others have to start much earlier in the morning to escape the great heat around noon. So, there are kind of two different busy times for having a break in the morning. Some prefer to have their breakfast around 7/8 a.m. before they start working. Others, especially those with a labour intensive job grab their snack –called desayuno de media mañana– between 9:30 and 11 a.m. What`s also interesting is the fact that most restaurants, cafés and chocolaterías which offer breakfast are almost opened throughout the day. For those who get out of the bed early never forget that lunchtime is usually between 14.00 and 15.00 p.m.
Undoubtedly, churros are by far the most famous food when it comes to breakfast. Churros are a must-have while you are on vacation here in Madrid. They are kind of long deep-fried dough sticks, which you can have in a sweet flavor but also in a more spicy one. You can have them stuffed with chocolate or what`s more common is a cup of hot chocolate to dip it into. But Spanish people prefer having this sweet dish at the afternoon after lunch. Another typical breakfast meal are tostada con tomate y aceite. Served on different breads they are coated with olive oil and often with crushed tomatoes.
Café con leche (coffee and milk) is very admired by Spanish people. In Spain, the breakfast is the smallest meal of the day. Many people just drink their coffee, containing a small amount of strong espresso and hot milk.
La Antigua Churreria, a classic Spanish breakfast
There are many vintage photographs on the walls of the restaurant. This coffee shop serves churros in many different kinds: covered in chocolate, honey sprinkled churros, with hot chocolate… Tasty but also high in sugar. Perfect for everybody with a sweet tongue.
What could be difficult for all non-Spanish speaking people is the fact that hardly no waiter or waitress in Madrid speaks English fluently. Many of them are not even able to understand simple words like taking away. Anna has been living in Madrid since birth. She often comes to this place and seemed familiar with the staff. She usually eats the bread with tomatoes if she stayed at the chocolatería or she takes away the churros. It depends on her daily plans.
La Martina Cocina, everything is worth trying
It`s Sunday and many people are heading to el Rastro market in calle de la Ribera de Curtidores. Once they get there they will see a lovely small restaurant which is called Martina Cocina. When you step in the first thing you see is a huge table on which many strangers sit next to each other having their breakfast. Others sit alone or face to face with their partner. The furniture looks a bit like a living-dinning room with lots of small paintings on the wall, fancy lamps that make the small room look even brighter than it is. The only thing that reminds you that you are actually not sitting in your dinning room are the black signboards on the walls with menus on it and of course there is a bar with three waitresses behind it looking like they are cooking dinner for their families with their apron.
We sit down next to a young Australian couple. They are talking English. They have already tried churros but not in Madrid. Today they are sharing a croissant with melted cheese and ham on it, a delicious mixture of a sweet dough croissant with a spicy toping on it. Another meal on the cart is yoghurt with cereals and fresh fruits in it. That will wake you up. If you are a cereal lover you should visit Cereal Hunters coffee in Calle de Mejía.
La Churrería, take away, yes or no?
“I usually just have a coffee or churros, every tourist has to try them!”. Juan has a stall on the market and he knows a hidden churrería in a side street next to the market. What an empty store with nothing else then a bar inside. The man behind seems a bit lost. Juan orders a pair of churros they are really huge – they are called “porras” and thicker than ordinary churros. They only cost one euro and they taste awesome. In a gloomy attitude the shop keeper talks about the situation of his small shop – all locals are on vacation at the moment and hardly no one wants to buy his plain porras. A hidden jewel near Plaza de Cascorro.
La Antigua Churreria, a classic Spanish breakfast; Conde de Peñalver 32; 07:00–21:30; Metro Lista.
La Martina Cocina, everything is worth trying; Plaza de Cascorro, 11; 09:00–00:00; Metro La Latina.
La Churrería, take away, yes or no?; Plaza de Cascorro; 05:00–12:00; Metro La Latina.