Phenomenal Food Tours in Madrid

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Prepare to Get Hungry….

Truly great food tours are rare. There are plenty of meh or ok experiences and then a few that are pretty good. Either the food is good but the tour not so much or the tour (and guide) is great but the food is just o.k. or the guide is nice but the tour is not put together professionally…….. there are a lot of components involved in providing a phenomenal food tour.

I’ve been on a lot of different food tours in Madrid and I want to share two of the best of the best with you. The tours that knocked my socks off and way over delivered.

If you come to Madrid and you want to have a truly fantastic food related experience keep reading!

I base my definition of ‘phenomenal food tours in Madrid’ on a few different criteria:

 

    1. Professionalism- was the communication before the tour good? Was the guide on time and did they greet everyone before launching into their speech? Did they make sure throughout the tour that everyone felt comfortable and adjust the pace as needed? Were all of the stops clearly planned out in advance and did everything work smoothly?  Were they able to accommodate allergies or special dietary needs (vegetarian, etc) without making guests feel like an inconvenience?

 

    1. Entertainment factor– was the guide charming, like-able, knowledgeable and entertaining?

 

    1. Learning/Interest factor– did I learn some valuable or really interesting information or experience something truly unique I couldn’t have done on my own?

 

    1. The food. The key to making people happy when it comes to food is choosing the places that are the best at what they do, and having a bit of variety. I may not like every food served on a food tour-but as long as they provide a few different options and choose places that offer high quality-I’m going to appreciate what I eat.

 

Though I’m starting this list with only two tours right now, I’ll keep adding to this list as I make new discoveries that are awesome enough to list here.

 

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Mercado and Brunch Tour with Madrid Tapas Trip 

If you want to seriously experience Madrid like a local-and eat extremely well while doing so this is the tour for you!

I don’t think I’ve ever had quite as much fun touring Mercados as with Pedro from Madrid Tapas trip. I’ve certainly never been able to convince the bars inside a Mercado to let me cook some of my meat or seafood or eat a bunch of my recently purchased fresh produce at their establishment. But I’m not Pedro.

As a third generation Madrileño and a serious foodie Pedro has worked his magic with the vendors, bars and cafes inside the Mercado Maravilla so he can offer literally the coolest market-to-table food tour around.

Visit one of the largest (though by no means the most popular or well known-I’ve been here a year and didn’t know about it) and best mercados in Madrid and shop for the season’s freshest produce, meats and seafood with Pedro, stopping along the way to enjoy different ‘courses’ with a refreshing cerveza, sidra or glass of vino.

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I don’t think I’ve ever had as much and as large a variety of seafood in Madrid as I did on Pedro’s tour. Crab, oysters & snails from Galicia. Prawns and tiger shrimp from down South in Andalucia. All still wriggling when we bought them but on our table an hour later having been cooked for us (after we selected the finest specimens) and put on ice.

And you won’t just taste seafood on this tour-there are many carniverous joys to be had as well (including a very choice part of Iberico pig that is tough to find) as cheeses and some sort of fresh (in season) produce.

Experience what it’s like to be a foodie in Madrid and shop at the mercado where some of the best chefs in Madrid come to shop for shellfish or the rare parts of the Iberico pig that aren’t available everywhere.

I guarantee you won’t leave hungry and you won’t feel like a tourist!

Tapas at Mercado San Miguel on our Madrid food tour
Tapas at Mercado San Miguel on our Madrid food tour-perfect pairing with a Vermouth cocktail!

note: The night tours for pretty much all Madrid food tour companies are the most popular but this Mercado tour is  a (necessarily) daytime tour.  I highly suggest considering day tours because you will be able to experience places without such insane crowds and will have a more VIP type experience.

Madrid Tapas Tour with Devour Spain

The guides are warm, friendly, engaging and knowledgeable. The day time food tour, though long (4 hours) never lags or feels boring. We moved from interesting place to interesting place (nine stops in total), eating and drinking at every stop  and getting the history behind each place and the people who run it as well as some key information about Madrid and its food history. The amount of food served at each stop was more than just a bite, in most cases it was at least a few bites and in some cases it was an appetizer size portion. Certainly more than you’d normally eat for lunch!

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The best hot chocolate in Madrid-served at the oldest continuously operated spots in the city

I was impressed with the professionalism and entertainment/education factors almost more than the food. I think this tour is perfect to introduce non-locals to Madrid and some really typical Spanish bites and historic places.  I learned a lot and found my new favorite hot chocolate spot….! Plus their gluten-free tweaks were fantastic and they never ever made me feel like I was on the spot-just seamlessly made sure that I had a different version of everything at every stop (5 stars for this! Very, very rare in Spain!).

Sizzling garlic shrimp with a glass of red wine

The cherry on the cake? They send you home with a little gift at the end of the tour. The true hallmark of hospitality professionals that go the extra mile to impress.

How to book tours with Devour Spain or Pedro @ Madrid Tapas Trip?

Devour’s websitehttps://devourtours.com/

Devour offers tours in different cities around Spain so check out their other options-I have heard nothing but excellent reviews on all of them. The tour I took was the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour.

Madrid Tapas Triphttp://www.madridtapastrip.com/

If you want to experience the utterly fantastic Mercado brunch tour go directly here

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35 Comments

  • I too looooove food tours – I think local food is a key reason why I travel actually. It’s so variable from place to place and the experience always stimulates all 5 senses. But damn – your first line was right! Luckily I read this as I was eating or else I’d be rummaging through my pantry right now looking for something to snack on.

    The first tour you mentioned with Pedro sounds like a perfect way to spend a day, and your reasoning for picking a day over an evening tour was quite right in my opinion. The tour sounds particularly enticing because of all the seafood! Here in Munich, good seafood (outside of the traditional fire-roasted lake trout from the region) is quite the rarity.

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been meaning to get back to Spain for some time, and Madrid was always one of my favorites. I’ll be sure to book a spot on the Madrid Tapas Tour!

    • Tom- I agree. Food is such a great (and fun and delicious) way to connect with a place and learn something really quickly about that culture and it does vary so much in Europe even from region to region especially in countries like Spain. What is something tradition from your region in Germany I should look out for if I’m there?

  • Siii, comida in Madrid is goood! I love this mediterranean custom of little bites with a nice drink, it’s such a celebration of life. And I wish I had these sizzling shrimps for lunch – not in this tiny bowl, though 😉

  • Yuuuuum! I’m definitely going to book one of these tours sometime! I need some inspiration for new foods in Madrid:) Thanks for the suggestions, the reviews are really helpful!

    • Helene- glad to help! 🙂 the mercado tour is definitely one that those living in Madrid would enjoy equally as those visiting (maybe even more since it’s such a non -touristy experience!). and omg yes you will see a lot of the seafood is still alive at Mercado Maravillas!

  • This food looks so amazing. i think it’s probably because of all of tit is so fresh, after all some of it was still wriggling! looks like a great food tour thanks for sharing.

  • That seafood spread on your tapas tour looks absolutely divine! I’m currently living in a land-locked location and we don’t have access to great seafood. I’m totally craving some crab now!

    • ah…. I know that feeling! I love seafood too much to survive without for long. Where are you at?

      Madrid is pretty landlocked as well but it’s the biggest hub in Spain for seafood to pass through fresh from the coast so it has a great constant supply of fresh seafood from all over Spain

  • My goodness what delicious food you had. I don’t know how I would hold up on a food tour. I feel I would eat way too much to quickly and have to take a nap in the middle of the tour. I think I would also enjoy the day time tour more as I like to snack during the day and would enjoy it more I feel.

  • That crab is huge, fat, and juicy! That is an amazing food trip. We are health buffs, but we would definitely give ourselves an excuse when we splurge on all that yummy food in Madrid.

  • I am not so much of a foodie but from the looks of this tour, maybe I should just try out one for the fun of it. This definitely gives you the flavor of the place. Though I am not sure how it would work for a vegetarian. Is there an option for just vegetarian stuff?

    • Ami-

      Spain, in general is not the best food country for vegetarians (comparitively) but on food tours like this-with very knowledgeable and professional guides you will always be able to have the food items adapted for you (just let them know when you make the reservation so they can plan ahead of course!)

  • You made me feel like going to Madrid immediately. The food is one of the most essential components that makes or breaks our travel experience at a place. And Madrid looks like it has a lot of food options to enjoy. Although I am a vegetarian, I can tell a sea food lover will have a wonderful time here.

  • I love to travel and I love to eat so this would be a dream come true to me. I remember that shrimp tapas dish all too well from my time in Mallorca back in May. I could’ve eaten it my entire time there. Thanks for sharing. I’m all about food tours so I’m definitely saving this one for later.

  • I agree! I think it is hard to find a good tour that balances the tour and food. Food is usually waaaay better. With that said though I’ll never pass up an opportunity for sea food – most of my friends & family hate it – so I either cook it myself or end up on a solo tour! That crab in your one picture looks delightfully monstrous!!

  • This looks like such a great tour Brooke! I love that you did a roundup on what a good tour entails. I personally really appreciate a dynamic personality together with a real knowledge on local food when it comes to food tours. One of the best ones I did was in Mexico City which I insist you try should you visit.

    ps. I need to visit you in Madrid!

    • ohhh I would LOVE to do a food tour in Mexico. We will be waiting to do any Mexico travel until we are living in the U.S again though since its so much closer from there (West Coast). By the time I get there I’ll be fluent in Spanish too! 🙂

      and yes indeed you must visit soon we might be gone by April! But we’ll still be in Europe so I can always go back and meet you there 🙂

  • Finding a food tour is the first thing I do when I visit a new city, especially if I’m travelling solo. At least I know I won’t be eating alone that day! I usually try and fit them in at the beginning of my stay so I can go back to my favourite places. I’ve not visited Madrid yet but when I do I’ll be sure to join one, if not both, of these tours.

    • Kathryn you are a woman after my own heart 🙂 It’s true that with solo travel it makes so much sense to take tours! you meet people, get to spend some meals in groups rather than sitting alone every meal at restaurants (I’m ok with this once a day but it gets old 2-3 times a day for weeks!) and gives you a ton of ideas to follow up on during the rest of your trip or to take friends back to. Hope to see you in Madrid (or England) soon!

  • Great and insightful reviews. I am glad you made it objective and that lets us also decide what factors were considered to pick the really good tours! I haven’t been to Madrid, but will certainly give a try to Devour Spain when I do make a trip there…thank you for the suggestions 🙂

  • Taking food tours when visiting a city is one of my favourite things, such a great way to get to grips with a new city, culture and cuisine. But you are right that some are completely meh, so it’s nice to see your recos for two great options in Madrid. I agree with your criteria too!

  • We love a good food tour and have found that a really good guide is as important as the food. We’ve been on a couple of food tours in Spain and have found some of the dishes to be really tasty and fresh and others to be ‘quite challenging’ but the whole experience is always fun.

    • hhaha yes sometimes you end up being give something like cocido (a fatty plate of meat, meat fat, chorizo and steamed cabbage and garbanzo beans) and while the locals certainly love it it’s just not all that delicious to many of us visiting. But with these tours you will LOVE the stuff they give you 🙂

  • I love food tours (and wine tours!), and I love Madrid – so these tours seem like a great idea for me! Glad to see that they cater to the gluten free issue and allergies in general – that certainly adds a level of appeal for my family. I like the sound of Pedro the tour guide – gift of the gab is a great quality in a tour guide!

  • I live in the south of Spain and Madrid is just a short train ride away. I haven’t been there yet but it’s definitely a place I want to visit either this year or definitely then next year. Discovering a country through its food is always the way to go, so joining a food tour like you did where you get guidance and background info is a fantastic way to experience a destination. I will bookmark your page so that when I get to Madrid I have two companies to look into. Thanks!

    • you’re welcome! yes definitely give Pedro or Devour a call or visit their sites there are a lot of different tour options (depending on your tastes) 🙂

  • The best part about travel is the opportunity to try the local food and experience different tastes and flavors. Looks like you had a great time eating all those yummy seafood. I was surprised to see such a huge crab.

  • Garlic and wine are a never fail combination that I totally love especially if it’s sizzling! This post instantly made me drool! Food tours are always so awesome, right? But you’re great because you have fine criteria. A guide is one biggest factor as it will also liven up your tour, plus if you get more information about the cuisine. I like to grab that big crab! Madrid has so many mouth-watering foods!

  • I agree – I’ve been on a couple of ok food tours, and some that were really good, but I don’t know if I’ve been on one yet which have been great. Obviously I haven’t been to Madrid! I love that the guides at Madrid Tapas trip are passionate foodies – and I’m a big fan of seafood so it sounds like my perfect trip. I actually like that their tours are run in the day, I would much rather enjoy the experience without crowd intensity.

    Devour Spain sounds like a great company too though – Madrid seems to have it covered when it comes to their food tours!

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