Best breakfast and Brunch spots in Madrid
“The Hidden Patio” at La Tita Rivera
Located in the hip Chueca district, this brunch spot is one for those in the know (though the secret is most definitely out). Enter the unassuming Tita Rivera, walk to the end of the bar and out into the (usually packed) courtyard for a hipster garden party vibe under a lush green canopy. A perfectly sheltered sun trap ideal for catching Winter rays and year-round al fresco dining. Brunch here is best eaten late, in true Madrileño fashion (think “the afternoon after the night before..).
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Decked out like a 1920s cruise ship (complete with Art Deco tiling and shiny portholes), El Ferry is the city’s much-loved vintage style brunch hotspot. This lively establishment hosts fantastic live jazz by musician Pepe Nieto (who doubles up as the highly skilled chef – a clarinet in one hand, an egg poacher in the other!), bringing a cool sea breeze to the super-hot district of Chamberí.
Their dedicated “JAZZ Brunch” menu, perfectly marries traditional Spanish cuisine with classic American favourites including a potent house cocktail (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere).
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This cosy nook filled with repurposed wood and over-stuffed leather banquettes brings Paris straight to the heart of Madrid. Usually packed, it is well worth the wait for one of their absolutely delicious pastries (which they take very seriously indeed). In a city where pastry reigns supreme (almost every major fiesta comes with a dedicated sweet treat), 27-year old pastry chef Alejandro Montes (and winner of best young pastry chef in Spain) is out-baking everyone!
If you can, bag a window seat to experience the holy grail of leisurely morning coffee breaks. Frothy artisan blends are served in delicate mismatched china, alongside glistening tartes aux fraises and jewel-like macaroons. You won’t find a dedicated brunch menu here, but with treats on tap, you won’t be disappointed! Swap your fluffy short-stack pancakes for their more refined French cousin, with a delectable range of savoury crepes. Oui, s’il vous plait!
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* For a speedy breakfast on the go, pick up a buttery croissant from pastry rivals Pomme Sucre – dubbed the best croissant in all of Spain by El Pais in 2012 (we recommend undertaking your own field research to verify this). Who knew that the great croissant rivalry of 2016 would take place in Madrid?!
One of the most affordable and acclaimed brunches in el capital. Carmencita Bar may be nestled down an unassuming lane in Malasaña, yet it is fiendishly challenging to get a reservation for the same week (we recommend at least calling pre-Tuesday for a weekend brunch). Hosting dedicated “Brunch feast” sessions with a prix-fixe menu from Friday-Sunday (12-5.30pm), portions are generous and the coffee is strong.
Carmencita is also one of a handful of places serving real hash browns in Madrid (we never thought we’d miss them – “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”)! Their 1€ mimosas are legendary, and a surprisingly delicious hair of the dog treat that’s friendly for your wallet, if not your waistline.
Carmencita is also popular international hangout, hosting a laid-back language exchange on Tuesday evenings (9pm) – if the prospect of perfecting your Dutch/French/English doesn’t tempt you, their “Tuesday special” bellinis might.
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Martinez Gin Bar
Don’t let Martinez Gin Bar moniker put you off pre-midday – at weekends they are all about NYC style brunch and its sacred cornerstone, the humble bagel. For less than a tenner, enjoy yours any-which-way with a freshly squeezed OJ (entertainingly pressed by one of those huge omnipresent Zumo juicers reminiscent of an invention from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where the oranges roll down a metal tube to meet their juicy fate), a cuppa and obligatory wedge of cake (one would never refuse cake)!
With another tantalising prix-fixe brunch menu, Salamanca-based Beker6 is one of our top picks for an upmarket eatery with style and personality. With electric hues and eclectic touches including retro posters reminiscent of La Cote d’Azur, Beker6 is the epitome of brightening up a lacklustre Winter’s day.
Just in case you need another reason to look forward to Springtime, from April-September, they host a lavish Sunday brunch party on their beautifully appointed terrace (so colourful and exotic, Frida Kahlo wouldn’t look out of place sipping on one of their carefully selected craft beers).
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For a no-nonsense, classic Madrileño breakfast, pop in to La Mallorquina. Founded in 1894, this infamous establishment in the heart of the city whips up exquisite pastries with black-as-midnight coffee. The assortment of confectionary wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson film – and is as scrumptious as it looks (which we can verify following extensive taste-testing).
Definitely one for the early birds, get there while the Chocolate napolitanos remain warm from the gigantic ovens! Sit in the upstairs “salón” for (“efficient” ergo, brisk) table service, or politely shimmy (+ elbow) your way to the counter for a tantalizing take-away treat.
At the forefront of Madrid’s burgeoning coffee industry scene and hailed by many a coffee connoisseur as the best in all the land (high praise indeed!), Toma Café’s skilled team rightfully revere coffee-making as an art form.
With none of the hipster haughtiness that dominates much of the third-wave coffee movement, Toma’s baristas are friendly and will happily talk one through their selection of beans or chat latte art. Toma even welcomes dogs, so you can pop-in with your faithful canine (who is sure to revel in attention & greeting other pooches).
For those busy folks who like to skip brunch altogether in favour of a cardboard-clad flat white and a nibble on the go (who are we to judge?), make a beeline for Toma! They even offer a mouth-watering array of gluten-free treats (a rare phenomenon in this here town).
Cocktail-gastro bar Le Cabrera is best known for its after-work soirees and dreamy interior (put together by Argentinian designer Luis Galliusi). Lesser known is the establishment’s delicious French-inspired Sunday brunch! The indulgent Croque Madame hits every spot, and the bloody Mary’s widely reputed. Grab a perch around the ten-seat communal table upstairs and get chatting to your neighbour.
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The Little Big Café
With less than 10 tables, the supremely cosy Little Big Café certainly does what it says on the tin (their motto very accurately boasts of “a little café with a big heart”)! The counter is inevitably adorned with an irresistible cacophony of baked goods, peeping flirtatiously from their respective bell jars (the carrot cake is invariably moist and iced to perfection).
They serve up a fantastic set brunch menu, which includes a hearty duo of savoury and sweet dishes and (the piece de resistance) any dessert of your choosing (*cough*, carrot cake).
The space is simple, stylish and flooded with natural light – a real city-centre haven.
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Around the corner from The Little Big Café is the delightfully instagram-able (don’t just take my word for it: https://www.instagram.com/thetoastcafe/ ) “The Toast”. A buzzy brunching hotspot serving up a two-course spread that changes with the seasons.
The aesthetic is homely and kitsch (think filament bulbs hanging in mason jars), the perfect place to while away a chilly afternoon with pals or a good book. As they say, “Toast Sweet Toast”.
Another beautiful al fresco brunch spot, Marieta’s divine terrace offers escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Designed by ex Norman Foster protégé Jorge Lozano, in collaboration with the achingly cool Proyecto Singular, Marieta’s interior feels like the home of a seasoned traveller with exquisite taste, amalgamating exotic influences in a style dubbed “colonial-chic”.
The background music is always on point and the menu rotates monthly (including more adventurous dishes like calamari sushi…), to reflect the global travels of the elusive “Marieta”. One for impressing your loved ones, or simply treating yourself.
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Rub shoulders with the city’s most beautiful people over brunch in Iroco’s private garden. One of the chic Salamanca neighbourhood’s most fashionable establishments (famous for its experimental “nouvelle cuisine”, their weekly à la carte brunch menu is ideal for al fresco brunching in style.
Chic French pastry appears to be having a moment in the Spanish capital, with yet another contender for the city’s best croissant to be found at Fonty.
This cosmopolitan bakery is set right next to the Parque del Retiro, handy for a quick pit-stop during a bracing winter stroll, or a leisurely brunch watching the wrath of the elements unfold.
With pretty blue tiling, exposed brickwork and a lovely hanging light installation, Fonty is a tranquil haven. They make a particularly mean millefeuille (the fascinating construction of which you can watch through the vast window overlooking the “workshop”). Their eggs benedict are some of the best in Madrid – add a refreshing Kir Royale and you won’t want to leave.
The softly lit space feels like entering a shabby-chic cavern, “bijou” at first glance, but deceptively spacious, with variously styled areas dividing up the restaurant nicely. Think mismatched vintage chairs, flickering candlelight bouncing off exposed brickwork and repurposed wooden shelves, for a stylish feel and nooks that bed to be snuggled into, draped in cashmere.
Championing the prix-fixe brunch menu, Maricastaña offers a sensational selection of courses for just €20, every Sunday from 11-4. Highlights include the ribbons of salty Serrano ham served with creamy brie and drizzled with sharp cranberry sauce, or the stack of fluffy pancakes. Feeling brave? Knock back the zingy Bloody Mary shot, added spring in your step guaranteed!
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This Aussie-founded venue embodies the spirit of a small town with big dreams in New South Wales, with their website urging patrons to sip a freshly brewed coffee in the garden and “imagine they’re on the Binna Burra Road”.
The group’s Madrid outpost is “easy like a Sunday morning” (if you don’t mind waiting for a table that is – they have an at times frustrating “no reservations” policy that is testament to their popularity).
Thoroughly worth the wait, they make a mean flat white (with soy and almond milk options for the frustrated lactose intolerant folks of Madrid) and serve arguably one of the top 3 brunches in the city (with gluten free dishes too – sending them up up up in our esteem). Federal is the ultimate hipster hangout, with a leafy Zen-inducing garden for Madrid’s regular sunny Winter days, and cosy rocking chairs for the not so cosy ones.
Their incredible popularity and regular queues down the street for the tiniest of corner spaces at their communal table did mean they got a little big for their boots. However, service has recently been very friendly, with glowing reports once again!
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P.S. For the busy inter-city commuters among you, Café Federal now claims two equally lovely outposts in beautiful Barcelona, with a Valencia-based cousin breaking ground as I type!
The Glass Bar at The Urban Hotel
Hotel brunches can tend to be a soulless affair, but The Glass Bar turns the traditionally predictable, stale genre on its head with its sumptuous champagne brunch. The buzzword is ‘bubbly’ at this ultra-minimalist establishment, where a stylish crowd of models and media-types indulge in a Philippe Starck wonderland, where (you guessed it) glass reigns supreme. Perhaps the loveliest way to while away a dreary Sunday this Winter.
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Picnic Brunch in Retiro Park with Magasand
If the sun is shining and the weather is sweet, order a beautifully packaged picnic, conjured up by the team at Magasand, and set up camp in Retiro Park (thus avoiding the hassle of sticky post-picnic tupperware). Make like you’re in an Enid Blyton novel and order a basket of goodies (complete with a pretty red table cloth – they are picnic experts after all), including an array of sandwiches, tasty piadina, salads and marvellous cakes. Absolutely spiffing, ginger beer optional!
Other special mentions go to Kitchen Stories (close to Plaza Mayor, with all English speaking staff and a la carte Brunch menu), Café Oliver (with acclaimed chefs Frédéric Fétiveau and Karim Chauvin whipping up brunch every day from 11.30-3.30) and La Candelita (delicious Latin American style brunch in a trendy Chueca setting).