A Slice of the Basque Country in Madrid Restaurants

Though politics sometimes puts Madrid and the Basque Country at odds, food is another matter entirely. Basque cuisine is appreciated in the Spanish capital, where there are many great restaurants in which to enjoy it.

Basque food is known for its use of seafood from the Cantabrian Sea, like cod, hake and baby cuttlefish, as well as more inland ingredients such as hams, sausages and vegetables like asparagus and peppers. Most Basque restaurants in Madrid serve the well-known Basque specialty cod with pil-pil sauce, so be sure to look for it.

Basque cuisine is also particularly famous for its tapas, referred to as pintxos. As pintxos in the Basque Country are often served in tavern-like tapas bars, a number of Basque restaurants in Madrid incorporate the Basque tavern theme and are quite enjoyable to visit with friends. Dantxari is one such traditional-leaning restaurant. For a complete, more modern Basque tapas experience, however, check out the creative scene at Txirimiri or even the Basque inspired masquepintxos.

If you want to put on your good shoes, though, you can enjoy relaxed, upscale Basque dining at Taberna Gaztelupe and Taberna del Alabardero. Or for something a tad trendier, Arce is also a good choice.

José Luis


This restaurant features a casual dining experience that is conducive to conversation and long meals. The tapas and pinchos are the main draw, and diners have the option of just picking out the tapas they want in a buffet style fashion. Don't...  Read More



Founded in 1963, this is traditional food Basque at its best. Great cream of crab soup, grilled shrimp and brill in a green sauce are just a few of the specialties Alkalde has been serving for decades. Diners can choose to sit and snack at the...  Read More



Modern interpretations of Basque country food are what Arce does best. Some of the freshest ingredients around are used to enhance each dish's natural flavors. Vegetarians should opt to eat elsewhere, but meat eaters will delight in the range of...  Read More



Pintxos are small snacks speared with a toothpick on a piece of bread. Good ones usually require attendance at a noisy eatery with overbright lights, screwed up napkins on the floor and a four-deep scrum at the bar. Although this has its charms,...  Read More



This simple but inviting tavern and restaurant is very popular for a gathering of friends. Dantxari serves up simple Basque cooking such as grilled meats, simple and flavorful stews, as well as the house specialty of cod seasoned with garlic and...  Read More



Al Paseo features classic Basque and Spanish cuisine from all over the Peninsula, including roasted delicacies. The ambiance at Al Paseo is bright, cozy and upscale, though in an easygoing way. In warm weather the terrace is a good choice,...  Read More



El Pimiento Verde (a name which means "The Green Pepper" in Spanish) is a favorite in the Arguelles neighborhood. Located a stone's throw from busy Princesa street, the restaurant-tavern serves up quality Basque-inspired cuisine like cod, lamb...  Read More



Located next to the Royal Palace and owned by an ex-priest, the Taberna del Alabardero is known for its tasty food and fresh ingredients. Diners can choose to eat at the bar or in the cheery dining room. The décor is classic and very charming....  Read More



Whether or not you've heard of creative Basque cuisine before, Txirimiri is where you can take it for a test drive in the Spanish capital. The combination restaurant-tavern-bar prepares gourmet, Basque style tapas and pintxos like codfish...  Read More



Taberna Gaztelupe brings traditional, upscale Basque dining to the Spanish capital. Here you'll find classics of northern Spanish cuisine such as cod, hake, squid and artichokes as well as some more local meat dishes like Madrid-style tripe. For...  Read More


Meet Sarah Rogers

Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had...  More About Sarah