Calle de Fernando El Santo, 26, Chamberí
Bar Tomate's location in the convenient, business-focused Salamanca neighborhood means it's usually pretty crowded at lunchtime—though there's always standing room at the bar if you forget to make a reservation. Astonishingly, the operation is open from 8:30 in the morning, serving tapas, light breakfast, and excellent coffee, until midnight, when a DJ and an excellent cocktail menu make it one of the neighborhoods more well-attended bars. While the classic tapas are always a good bet, menu-wise, they're also known for perfectly dough-ey wood-fired pizzas.
Calle Ponzano, 6, Chamberí
This modern little spot in the Chamberí district is famous for its excellent cocktails (locals go for the gin and tonics in particular), which are best enjoyed in the bar near the back of the restaurant. If you're stopping in for a full dinner, request a seat on the open-air patio, which is surrounded by exposed brick walls. The stunning décor—think wicker basket chandeliers, graphic printed wallpaper, a mirrored bar, and colorful tile—is reason enough to make a reservation.
Sala de Despiece
Calle de Ponzano, 11, Chamberi
You can spot Sala de Despiece from a block away thanks to its stark, painted corrugated metal exterior. You also might hear it from a block away, since the impossibly tiny (it's bar seating only) restaurant is almost always packed with people: After all, the tapas menu is one of the most memorable in the city. If you manage to squeeze your way in, don't miss the beef tartare, the octopus, or the opportunity to mingle with some locals.
Calle de Caracas, 1, Chamberí
Madrid isn't exactly known for its Japanese food, but the fresh-as-it-comes sushi and sashimi at Tsunami really hits the spot when you need a break from tapas and sangria. The menu offers everything from the classics, like salmon, tuna, and a really solid unagi, to more inventive dishes like Spanish-inflected ceviche and an undeniably fun Doritos roll. The sake selection is just as refreshing as the rest of the menu.
Calle del Cardenal Cisneros, 6, Chamberí
Owned by two ex-pats, Tuk Tuk serves Asian street food that draws inspiration primarily from Bangkok, Saigon, and Hong Kong. It's the kind of place where we'd be happy with anything on the menu, but regulars report that the green curry, coconut rice, and chicken skewers are all standbys. It's an excellent option for takeout (even the most committed drinkers will crave a quiet night in after too many hours in all-night Spanish bars), and vegetarians will appreciate the variety of options, too. There's a second location in the Chueca district.
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