The menu del dia - ‘menu of the day’ - concept was first started in Spain as a way to ensure low-paid workers were able to afford a meal a lunchtime. Restaurants were initially forced by law to provide a fixed price option, and although it’s no longer a legal requirement, restaurants across the country have carry on the popular tradition.
Today, menu del dia meals are essentially fixed-priced lunches and typically feature a starter, main course, and dessert, and most also include a side of fresh bread and a drink.
Recommendations for places to try Menu del Dia in Madrid
This unique Spanish/Asian fusion restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy fine dining without the price tag. The menu del dia costs a mere 14 euros and includes dishes which you would expect to pay three or four times the price for.
Reservations are a must, and the restaurant is frequently booked weeks in advance, so a bit of forward planning is required if you hope to eat there. Calle del Castillo, 16.
La Gloria de Montera
Enjoy contemporary Mediterranean cuisine and quick service at this centrally located restaurant. The menu del dia costs just 12 euros, which considering the restaurant is just off Gran Via, is excellent value. The restaurant is quite big so you’ll rarely have a problem getting a table.
Calle Caballero de Gracia, 10.
This cosy restaurant serves up classic Spanish cuisine served in an intimate setting. Its popularity with locals, combined with its small size does mean you may have to queue, but the food is well worth the wait. 14 euros.
Calle San Pedro Mártir, 6.
La casa dei Pazzi
The set menu here includes a salad starter, a whole pizza, and desert, and at 11 euros for lunch it is excellent value considering their a la carte pizzas start at 13 euros.
Calle Jose Abascal, 8.
I would recommend that you must avoid restaurants situated in Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol or Prado Museum especially those with a sign outside with the menu in several languages.
These restaurants will offer a “Paella” menu del dia for 10-12 euros. I can tell you that paella is slow-cooking meal with the best ingredients and you will have to pay for it. These restaurants use “Paella” as a catch phrase to attract tourists. I can tell you these kind of restaurants are not going to be serve good Spanish food and I would even dare to say that their Paella is Paella.
Better pick a smaller restaurants full of local employees, they know better and well. Anyway food in Madrid is good and tourist will not have problem in finding tasty meals.
Menu del dia is mandated in all Madrid restaurants
If you’re eating out every day it’d be impossible to escape the Menú del día. It is a mandatory option in all restaurants, so you’ll find it EVERYWHERE.
It ranges from 10 to 14 euros and should include first course, main course, bread, drink and coffee or dessert. All types of restaurants serving wide range of cuisine offer menu del dia. As a rule of thumb, if the place is crowded at 230pm during peak lunch time, then they serve excellent Menú del día.
La Sanabresa is my personal favorite
If you feel like eating a good Spanish menú del día until you explode, try La Sanabresa (Calle Amor de Dios 12). The first and main courses are huge, a little bottle of wine (or any other drink of your choice) is included, and desserts are massive.
Additional suggestions for Menu del Dia in Madrid
- Maricastaña – Maricastana in the heart of Malasaña has many OPTIONS with new daily dishes are constantly being churned out to satisfy the locals who make Maricastaña a part of their weekly routine.
- La Mucca (Malasaña) - My personal favorite, and a gourmet pizza dream, their “boletus con trufa” pizza is topped with mushroom and truffle. Everything in the store (including furniture) is for sale. The restaurant has several locations around Madrid, with the Plaza de Carlos branch terrazza being very popular.
- La Comporta – With a 12 Euro Menu (10 for nearby IE University students), La Comporta is the quintessential “Spanish Menu”. Located off the rich calle Serrano, try their pork tenderloin with a raisin cream sauce. Nearby is the Museo de Lázaro Galdiano.
- Vietnam 24 - Vietnam 24 combines bold, fresh flavors in a 15 euro Menu del Dia based on Vietnamese food.