There are always endless cheap eats when it comes to dining and drinking in Madrid.
The entire country of Spain is renowned for its food culture consisting of bite-sized tapas and pinchos, and there is nothing more beautiful than being handed a plate of food every time you order a drink. Thus, cheap eats in Spain already tend to be very accessible if you sit in at bars and order a couple of drinks whenever you want a bite to eat. Even more amazing is that for those on a budget, there are quite a few places in Madrid where you can get drinks and lots of food for a very low price. The food isn’t necessarily gourmet, but it’s delicious and fun to eat in lively atmospheres perfect for gathering and socializing with as many friends as you like.
I personally deem Cien Montaditos chain food franchise as Spain’s version of McDonalds. Their menu provides 100 bite-sized sandwich options with combinations of common Spanish bocadillo ingredients such as jamon, chorizo, queso fresco, tomato and tortilla. On Wednesdays and Sundays their entire menu, including drinks, are one euro, which makes it a popular destination among students and adults alike. Despite its ordinary, fast food restaurant appearance, everybody should experience eating at a Cien Montaditos while in Spain because having a jarra of tinto de verano with a few yummy sandwiches never fails to put a smile on my face.
La Sureña is also a cheap eats chain with multiple locations around the city. The restaurant has a nautical, ocean theme thus there are lots of seafood plates such as mussels, octopus and fried fish on the menu. Big rations are 6 euros, smalls ones are 3 and there are buckets of 5-8 beers that cost 4-10 euros each. The best part is that there are lots of discount days throughout the week with two for one 6 euro ration deals on Thursdays and Sundays as well as 50 cent 3 euro rations if you buy a bucket of beer on Tuesdays. The croquetas at La Sureña are seriously some of the best I’ve ever had in Spain and the blue nautical décor inside is fun to hang out in as well.
Calle de las Infantas, 30, 28004 Madrid, Spain (map)
El Tigre is a local favorite and words cannot express how much I adore coming here. There are three locations all in close proximity spread around Chueca near Gran Vía, one on Calle Hortaleza and two on Calle Infanta. Every person who orders a drink receives a full plate of food which consists of Spanish staples such as jamon, chorizo, patatas bravas, croquetas, tortilla and sometimes paella. It’s perfect for those who want to experience an authentic Spanish tapa bar for an incredibly low price.
Just off the street from Puerta de Sol on Calle San Jeronomio is a spacious, fun tapa bar that feels more like a party than a restaurant. It’s popular among college students, which is why it’s so loud all the time. La Risueña is the perfect place to pregame and grab a bite—or a few—to eat before hitting the club. There are deals on food nearly every day, most notably the two for one 6 euro ration deals on Thursdays and Sundays as well as a bucket with 5 botellines for 4 euros each. This place is always cracking for those looking for a lively atmosphere and a good time.