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Visiting Madrid 11/18 - 11/24

What restaurants must I go to and (pardon my naivete) how exactly does a tapas restaurant operate? Do I simply choose and they start a tab? I'm going by myself too, so is there any bias toward single diners?

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  1. When you walk up to the bar just order a drink. A lot of places will then give you a free tapita. Then ask to see the menu, read the board (if there is one) or take a look at what is out on the bar. If you see a big portion of something (a ración) on the menu and want to try just a little, it's always worth asking whether you can get a smaller portion (media ración or a tapa).

    Whether or not you have a tab depends on the place. Most don't charge you until you leave, but some charge you for each round if it is a really busy time. You won't have any problems at all going by yourself.

    If you are interested in meeting up to go to a few spots in La Latina one night, let me know (m at-sign alpha60 dot com).

    1 Reply
    1. re: butterfly

      This is great - thank you so much! I would love to take you up on your offer too... I'll email you in a bit...

    2. I'll be in Madrid around then, too!

      I went to Spain by myself in 2005 and didn't experience any bias at all when I went to tapas restaurants by myself. I ended up meeting a lot of locals and tourists at almost every tapas place I went to, so it ended up being a lot of fun!!!

      5 Replies
      1. re: aloha_pineapple

        Excellent - I usually do just fine on my own but it's always nice to have a little heads up on how to behave as it were... i'm really looking forward to just wandering around the city and eating and hitting museums etc... need a break... do you have any specific recco's?

        1. re: foodie08

          I'd also love to hear some specific recommendations for good tapas bars for solo diners. I''ll be in Madrid alone 11/17-11/19, and though I've been to Madrid before, it was with a friend and I found the social buzz of the tapas bars a little intimidating.

          Mariposa, would you be up for leading a group outing?

          1. re: AppleSister

            Great idea - and Apple Sister, I just read your blog - it's excellent; great photos. Sounds like you are having a great trip!

            1. re: foodie08

              Looks like the only night that I have free next week is Monday, the 19th. That's the most sedate night of the week, but we could still find some places that are open in La Latina. Maybe eulaliax could come, too...

              1. re: butterfly

                I'm up for it and I sent Eulaliax an email last night...thx...and if it doesn't work out, that's ok too, I've been to over 40 countries and I'm not shy... y tambien yo hablo sufficiente por eso me defende....

      2. hi all.

        as butterfly says, la latina is probably a good area for tapas dining, though it is certainly a major center for social buzz, so if that's intimidating (and i understand that it can be)... then probably the way to go is either a) getting together with others (i live in madrid and would be happy to meet one evening) or b) go to an area where the feeding regime is more sitting-at-tables and less crowding-around-bars. this inevitably means that things are more expensive, but definately requires less prowess with the elbows. suggestions in this regard: in huertas around pza. santa ana (touristy but pleasant), in chueca between pza.chueca and gran via (c/libertad and the surrounding maze of streets).

        i can't believe i'm recommending that you go to a more touristy area - its sort of against my nature - but i understand that for solo diners the tapas crowd can be a bit much.

        if you're interested in meeting write me at mangui at sindominio dot net.

        1 Reply
        1. re: eulaliax

          Too bad, I´m leaving the afternoon of Monday! But I can share a few tips from the perspective a non-native, rather shy girl who´s been eating a lot of pintxos and tapas alone throughout Spain (and being Asian-American, I stick out a lot). This might not be the most hip thing to do, but one of the best strategies I´ve come up with to feel less awkward is not to go when things are really buzzing, or to go when things are buzzing but during the day, when the vibe is more families, friends, and random people coming in for a bite on the go. I was in La Latina last month on a Sunday afternoon, which had a lot of energy, but the pintxos bar I was in wasn´t totally packed the way it had been on Thursday night. I´m right now in San Sebastian and if I go around lunchtime or around 6-7 pm, the bartenders aren´t as overwhelmed and there are other people eating solo occasionally and I don´t feel quite so out-of-place. Of course, it may be different in Madrid as I wasn´t alone in Madrid.

          If anyone feels like going out for a drink and tapas Sunday Nov. 18, you can email me at applesister330 at gmail dot com. I really like the vibe in La Latina after El Rastro. (Incidentally, madrilenos, do you know a bar where I can watch the Spain-Sweden game on Saturday night?)