How is Madrid if you don't eat meat?
Dear CHs, I survive on vegetables, fish, fruit and cheese - no meat, except for the occasional rabbit, pigeon or quail. Where shall I go in Madrid? I have one full week.
Just to help you understand: where is that sandwich with stewed squid, with juices running from your hands, ruining your shirt... I want that.
Hmm, I'm going to disagree. The vegetables here in Spain are excellent, regional, seasonal and quite fetichized (so much so that at least 25 have their own D.O.): calçots, artichokes, asparagus, pimientos de Padrón, pimientos del piquillo, ñora peppers, eggplant, grelos, Galician potatoes, Ebro onions, green beans, fava beans, avocados, chard, thistles, watercress, pamplinas, borrajas, etc. We eat a lot of vegetables here.
Then there are all of the beans/legumes: judiones, fabes, pochas, alubias, judías, mongetes, a mulitude of different types of lentils, garbanzos (Fuentesaúco or Pedrosillo), white beans, red beans, etc. While tourists might not eat this food--it's a huge part of the daily diet.
And all of the mountains mean we have a wide variety of mushrooms like boletus, níscalos/rovellons, chanterelles, morels, black trumpet, blue foot, yellow foot...
In total agreement about the sandwiches, though. A sandwich is considered a snack here, not a real meal.
Madrid is home to the second biggest fish market in the world, second only to the enormous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.
Touring a bit of everthing:
Bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) at La Campana on Calle Bordadores next to Plaza Mayor.
Calamares en su tinta (squid cooked in its ink) at Restaurante La Puebla on Calle Ventura de la Vega 32 (nearby Plaza de Santa Ana).
Gambas a la plancha (grilled shrimp) and oysters at La Paloma on Calle Toledo 85 (La Latina).
Gambas al ajillo (shrimp fried in garlic and olive oil) at La Casa del Abuelo on Calle Victoria (nearby Puerta del Sol).
Bacalao rebozado (battered cod) at Revuelta on Calle Latoneros 3 (nearby Plaza Mayor).
Boquerones en vinagre (anchovies marinated in vinegar) at Bodegas Ricla on Calle Cuchilleros 6 (nearby Plaza Mayor).
Anchoas (salt anchovies) at La Anchoíta on Calle Jesús 4 (nearby Paseo del Prado).
Mejillones (mussels) at El Rocío on Pasaje Matheu 2 (nearby Puerta del Sol).
Pulpo a la gallega (slices of boiled octopus dressed with paprika and olive oil) and almejas a la marinera (clams in sauce) at O'Pulpo on Calle Cañizares 8 (nearby Plaza de Santa Ana).
Navajas (razor clams) and pimientos de Padrón (fried peppers) at Cruz on Calle Maldonadas corner with Plaza de Cascorro (La Latina).
Sardines at Santurce on Plaza Genaral Vara del Rey 14 (La Latina).
Pescaíto frito (fried fish Andalusian style) at El Tinterillo de Málaga on Carrera de San Jerónimo 32 (nearby Puerta del Sol).
Atún en escabeche (marinated tuna) and croquetas de bacalao at Casa Labra on Calle Tetuán, next to Puerta del Sol.
Dry sherry and mojama (dried cured tuna) at La Venencia on Calle Echegaray 7 (nearby Plaza de Santa Ana).
Affordable seafood at Ribeira do Miño on Calle Santa Brígida 1 (nearby Chueca).
Chipirones encebollados (baby squid with onions), txangurro (minced spider crab meat with sauce, baked in the crab shell), bacalao al pil-pil (cod in sauce), merluza rellena de txangurro (fried hake stuffed with crab).
I don't know about a stewed squid sandwich. but Madrid is famous for its bocadillo de calamares, a fried squid sandwich. I've tried the ones at El Brillante and La Campana and the latter was my favourite. It's also a much better value. There are also a couple other places in and around Plaza Mayor that are known for their bocadillo de calamares. JuanDoe would be the one to ask about this.
As for finding pescetarian eats, you'll have no problem. Madrid has good fish and seafood and you can always find vegetable dishes. Quail a la plancha is a traditional dish you might enjoy and the Spanish eat a fair bit of rabbit.