Ten con Ten
Calle de Ayala 6, Salamanca
Ten Con Ten, the opposite of a dive-y drop-in, is a lively, totally modern sit-down spot that serves classic tapas with a modern edge (and interestingly, some pasta dishes). No need to reserve, plenty of tables are left open for walk-ins which contributes to the convivial vibe that is never stuffy
Calle de José Ortega y Gasset, 75, Salamanca
Opened in 1975, El Pescador has a similar trajectory to nearby O'Pazo—both old-guard restaurants that pioneered the idea of serving fish so fresh that it didn't even need sauce, they've each stayed relevant with frequent renovations. At El Pescador, in particular, the interior has the potential to fool visitors that don't know the restaurant's historic pedigree—a clean concrete bar with stainless steel stools marks the entry to the restaurant, which is separated from the rest of the airy, modern restaurant by sheer chainlink curtains. As for the menu, you'll find minimally-treated fish and shellfish, served fresh and typically caught that morning. The shareable seafood platters are perfect for a big group.
Calle de Goya, 5-7, Salamanca
Guidebooks often describe Platea Madrid as a food hall, but that description doesn't even begin to cover the experience, which brings together six Michelin-starred eateries in the same place. The first thing you'll notice is the space—a movie theater that's been completely renovated to create mezzanine-style platforms littered with tables and chairs (all within view of the stage itself, which remains intact and often hosts live musical performances). Each mezzanine offers several dining options, from tapas to pizza to seafood, supplemented by bars offering cocktails and wines for pairing. This is a popular spot, so finding seating can be a little tricky, but the food's so good that standing room isn't necessarily a bad option.