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Tastes of Madrid: as told by a local

Nearly a week ago, I was exploring the streets of Madrid, mojito in hand, with two of my dearest and longest childhood best friends-- one who now lives in Puerta del Sol, Madrid.

Madrid is a narrow-cobbled city oasis towered by the most exquisite 18th century sandstone architecture mixed with a vibrant cosmopolitan feel. Overwhelmed by an abundance of youthful energy and an unfathomable amount of world-class cuisine, there is no question why Madrid is one of Spain’s top tourist destinations.

With our friend living in the dead center of Madrid city, we for sure had the upper hand in location and really had the opportunity to experience this Spanish wonderland like a true, genuine local. And what's even better than that? Getting to EAT your way through a new city like a local... and folks that is exactly what we did.

This comprehensive Madrid city food story as told by a local is not only dedicated to, but straight from the everyday life of our dear friend and personal European tour guide, Sammy-- who gave us the very best run down of Madrid’s most delicious, local restaurants around her city. So, if you travel like me and let your stomach do the guiding, go give her a follow at @tour_de_sammy to see all of her amazing food stops from around the world!

Now without wasting any time, here is your one-stop guide to eating your way through Spain’s breathtaking capital of Madrid.

1. TAKOS Al Pastor

Let me first start off by saying this place is definitely worth TAKOBOUTING. The people here are warm and welcoming and the tacos are €1- €1,5 a piece, all day, everyday (except Monday’s), 6-days a week and are the most magically delicious tacos I have ever tasted… So good, that despite our mission to try a new restaurant every day, we went back two separate times (waited an hour in line) to experience this little piece of heaven all over again. Their homemade quesadillas are equally as mouthwatering and the frozen margaritas and beer are just as reasonably priced. If you have only one opportunity to eat out in Madrid, this place is a top contender.

2. Mercado de San Miguel

(Photo belongs to Domingo Leiva)

This market is a foodie’s paradise and has everything you could wish for and more. From tapas to wine bars, to permanent stalls selling fresh fruit, seafood and meat this market is your one stop shop to Madrid’s finest goods. But above all, start your adventure through the Mercado with a quick buzz and try the most amazing freshly-made mojitos! This mojito cart gives you the choice between a mix of fresh strawberries, lime, mixed berries and kiwi mixed with a little love and goodness! Not only are these fruity beverages cute and colorful, they will absolutely rock your world.

3. Calamari Sandwhiches at La Campana

A cure-all, end–all hangover cure… this Madrid staple is one you just can't pass up. Bocadillo de calamares or calamari sandwhich is a Madrid classic, and surprisingly not at all as odd as it sounds. Located near the Plaza Mayor, try the famous squid sandwich from La Campana. Or even better, take it to go and head over to the plaza where you can enjoy your meal with stellar views and some serious people watchin’!

4. Mercado San Ildefonso

We thought it would be a fun idea to see the city in a new fashion, so we decided to develop our own tapas tour which would include a beverage and a small appetizer to share per every new restaurant or market we came across. The Mercado San Ildefonso prompted our very first stop for possibly one of our very favorite days throughout our Spanish adventure. Letting our nose be the guide, we couldn’t help but feel drawn to this little stand on the second floor with fresh-made Croquettas.

Croquettas are little fried breaded balls or rolls that contain variations of potato, cheese, meat or fish which are absolutely to die for. We asked the Mercado worker to surprise us with 6 different rolls so that we could try them all. This accidentally turned into a game of what should have been called Croquetta Roulette... (a game i'd never get sick of playing).

5. Restaurant Inclan Brutal

Upon arriving to Madrid, Sammy told us there was one place we absolutely had to try and she was nothing short of right. Last on our Tapas tour we indulged in some of the most mouthwatering, contemporary tapas we had tried all day. From more croquettas to a mozzarella cheese ball INJECTED with pesto via syringe, to mushroom parmesan risotto and the tastiest home-made lemonade you've ever tasted, this place is a must try for your next Madrid visit.

6. Mad Waffle

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful??? I'll keep this one short and sweet. Mad Waffle aka fresh made waffles with a belly ache that never felt so good.

7. Chocolatería San Ginés

And lastly, make sure to end your trip with a sweet goodbye at the Chocolatería San Ginés. It is the cutest little churro hub and a must see before you go. Open since 1894 and decorated with deep green wood panels, green seats and marbled tables, the ambiance of the place is worth visiting even if you aren't a huge sweets fan. Their homemade churros with a deep, creamy chocolate dipping sauce goes a little something like this:

While there are so many amazing places not listed here, I hope this inclusive list compiled by @tour_de_sammy herself, helps you enjoy your next Spanish adventure just as much we did.

Stay tuned for more about the best Madrid views, and get ready for a quick guide involving everything you need to know before your next weekend trip to Prague and Budapest!