Calle Ibiza, 38, Retiro
Eating at Taberna Pedraza is a little bit like going over to a good friend's house for dinner (albeit a friend that's a ridiculously good chef). The colorful, mismatched tiled floors create a casual vibe that's furthered by an eclectic bunch of disparate chairs, flower arrangements, and the friendly nature of the service. What's more, the small kitchen is open and visible from behind the bar, so you can see Chef Santiago Pedraza working his magic in real time. The straightforward menu here offers up simple tapas: Go for the classics, like croquettes, tortilla, or the steak, and definitely don't skip dessert.
Calle Dr. Castelo, 30, Retiro
Taberna Laredo is our pick for authentic Spanish food that's modern and up-to-date without being overly fussy. In typical Spanish style, the upstairs space offers a full meal (and impressive wine list), while the downstairs is a tapas-only bar. Madrid is a city of night owls, so it doesn't really start to heat up downstairs until around 11pm, when locals belly up to the bar for well-executed cocktails and small dishes.
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