Let's talk about hot food spots in Madrid, since we've already hit the highlights of the sightseeing.
I previously mentioned the Mercado de San Miguel in the sightseeing spot, but it is first and foremost a spot for wonderful eats. From sangria to oysters to baked goods, it hits all the hot spots of Spanish cuisine and beyond. Highly recommended for lunch, when its less busy, or tapas, if you don't mind a bit of a crowd.
La Mallorquina, one of the oldest bakeries in Madrid right on Puerta del Sol, has a number of delectable pastries, and it always seems to be jam-packed (pun intended). The pastries in the window are gorgeous, but the napolitana con chocolate typically comes as the highest recommended item (so we obviously tried it--it was excellent!).
We stopped off at Ruda Café for un flat white while we were wandering around El Rastro. Third wave coffee in Madrid happening here. Insert perfect emoji here. (My love for Spaniards Anglicizing certain words "el wifi", "un flat white" lives here, too).
Of course, churros con chocolate are one of Spain's practically eponymous dishes, and Chocolatería San Ginés has been serving them up since 1894. Their thick, rich, and dark chocolate is perfect for dunking those crispy, golden churros, and it is a must-eat in Spain. We were, of course, lead to this chic spot by one of those epic Rick Steves Walks.
El Pimiento Verde, which is located directly across from the Mercado de San Miguel, offered up some amazing chuletón de vaca maduro a la parrilla (basically: grilled steak) that I will never forget. Tapas aren't the only thing you need to eat in Spain!
In our second AirBnb in Madrid, there was a list of local restaurants, and it suggested Maceiras; of course, we promptly headed there for some excellent pulpo (octopus) that we (ahem: that I) got bullied into ordering. We came at an off time, when they were closing one half of the restaurant, and we got scurried over to the other half of the restaurant, where we got some amazing seafood paella as our main dish (of course, all without Nick understanding a word of what was being said).
We ended up eating at El Brillante for some bocadillos de calamares (squid sandwiches) because we got stuck in the rain near La Reina Sofia: even though it was Rick-recommended (the man is more trustworthy for sightseeing than for off-the-beaten path foodie experiences), it was just a fun atmosphere. We ate at the bar, and we did indeed see some little, old señoras enjoying their sandwiches along with us (though, food-wise, the sandwich is a little bland).
With Nick always on the hunt for third wave coffe, we also stopped at Bianchi Kiosko Caffé. A cute little place, with a lot of atmosphere.
One of the other places we did end up eating as at a burger bar named Goiko Grill, which was probably one of the more authentic places at which we ate, since nobody else there was speaking any English (and to flatter myself, I'd like to point out that the server wanted to know where I was from in Spain). To be honest: the burgers were amazing, although definitely not authentically American.