When people ask why we’re in Spain, I often tell them that it’s for the food — and I’m only half joking. Spain has a well-deserved culinary reputation, and every region, city, and tiny town has its specialty. Madrid, being the capital, is packed with bars and restaurants spanning all price and quality ranges, which is why it makes sense to do a food tour when you’re there — someone else has already done the work of finding the best places to eat, and you can relax and let your tastebuds enjoy the evening.
Our friend Lauren started Madrid Food Tour about two years ago, and the quality of the guides and the well-chosen locations has meant that the company has grown steadily and now enjoys a great reputation.
We joined the Tapas, Taverns & History tour on a chilly Saturday night in late November, and found ourselves in the middle of a group of temporary friends for the evening.
The first stop was a stone’s throw from the meeting point; inside, our guide Luke commandeered a space for us before giving us our first drink of the evening and handing around the first of many plates of delicious morsels… in this case, Iberian ham.
At each of the five stops, we enjoyed a glass of wine and between one and six different types of food, both savoury and sweet. Unlike other food tours I’ve done, which left me uncomfortably full, the quantity of food on this tour was perfect. Also, the fact that we could choose our own drink at the last stop meant that those who wanted to limit their alcohol intake could have a soft drink instead.
The food was great, but a good tour isn’t built on food alone. Luke’s friendly attitude and great rapport with the business owners made us feel like friends he was showing around his favourite bars, while the historical information he shared was interesting and all new to me.
At €95 per person, this tour isn’t for those on the tightest of budgets. However, it certainly isn’t overpriced — the quality and quantity of food and knowledgeable guide meant that everyone in our group was satisfied with it. The tour lasted four hours, but the time flew by — when we finally said goodbye to our newfound friends and ran to catch the final train of the night, I felt like only an hour or so had passed.
Start time: 7.30pm
Duration: around 4.5 hours
Price: €95 per adult