Monday, December 27, 2010

Madrid: Breakfast, a Meal On Your Feet

Madrid has a lot to offer in the way of food, but sometimes it can be hard to tell. Early in the morning is not a good time for gourmet eating. Basically, breakfast here amounts to getting enough in your system to get the day going, and no more than that.

One thing to remember about Spain is that the eating hours are unlike other countries, and strict. From the early morning until about 11 a.m., you can get breakfast. Spain is not England or the United States, and breakfast is not an important meal here. Most people eat breakfast in a bar, standing at the counter. The most important part of breakfast in Spain is coffee. Every bar you stop into will have a first class espresso machine. The coffee itself may vary in quality, but they will have a great machine. Usually, the coffee is a good experience. People drink cafe con leche for breakfast. You can order cafe solo, which is a simple espresso in a tiny cup, and it will not raise eyebrows at breakfast.

As a side note, you cannot order coffee with lunch or dinner. You can get it after the meal, but not with the food. It simply is not done. Also, you do not order cafe con leche after a meal. You can order cafe solo or cafe cortado, which is a cafe solo with a splash of warm milk. This practice actually goes against my own personal coffee drinking habits, which include coffee during meals (always black) and coffee after dinner with milk. I've tried to get coffee during a meal, but I've never been able to. The waiters have agreed to my order, and then added that they will bring the coffee after the meal. It's an uphill battle.

Most bars will offer some sort of inexpensive breakfast menu, which consists of coffee and a croissant for 2 euros, or coffee with toast and jam. There is also the barrita con tomate, which is a toasted roll with some grated tomato and olive oil. Eggs are not eaten for breakfast, at all. The only way to get eggs for breakfast is to order tortilla, which is more potato than egg.


  1. Nothing wrong with more potato than egg, right? :)

  2. Esa manera de desayunar y las costumbres acerca del cafe son en España como en Argentina... yo creo que los norteamericanos son los raros. ja,ja

  3. Anita, tenes razon, en España se desayuna poco, como en Argentina! Aunque aca no hay facturas (a menos que vayas a alguna panaderia argentina). Besos!

  4. Yo es que estoy acostumbrada a esto y no me parece tan raro!!
    y lo del café con leche después de las comidas no creo que esté mal visto, yo no tomo nuncá café pero he visto a gente pedir café con leche y todo ok! (aunque es verdad que es más de desayuno)..
    La dieta meditarranea es genial! :)
    un beso

  5. I totally agree with you. Never thought about the fact that we (Spaniards) never order coffee with milk after the meal, but somehow it is true. Once you try English breakfast you miss it in the morning, believe me. GRASAZAAAA!!!!!

  6. Yes the mediterranean diet is much better for your health!! it´s light years away from English breakfast!

  7. Eggs for breakfast really hit the spot somehow, although I prefer to have just one egg. If you have just one, it does not feel heavy or greasy. A great breakfast: an egg sandwich, made out of two pieces of toasted whole grain bread, one fried egg, one slice of cheese, a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, some ketchup. Cut sandwich in half and eat.