From the shadows of the oldest chocolatería in Madrid to the bright lights at night, we bring you the best churros in Spain's capital. Out of a sense of duty, obviously.
THE BEST CHURROS IN MADRID
Churros y chocolate, you either love it or you hate it as the marmite ad says. But (as I suspect is the case for marmite too) if you hate it, it's probably because you're doing it wrong.
Bad churros is flaccid and stodgy. Good churros, served fresh and piped out piping hot, is crisp, light and almost crunchy. It comes with chocolate near thick enough to hold a standing spoon and finally (though this may just be me) it deserves to be consumed somewhere beautiful. And when it comes to atmospheric locations, Madrid is in no short supply.
If you only have time for one spot, make it the oldest chocolatería in Madrid.
San Ginés: Madrid's Oldest Chocolatería
Tucked away between the two iconic squares of Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol lives Madrid's oldest churrería, the green and gold lettered San Ginés.
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The Chocolateria Opened in 1894
Opened in 1894, it harks back to Spain's sparse days, to the dark and dull monobrown interiors that populate paintings across Madrid's galleries. But the atmosphere inside defies dull: waiters dart and dive between the crowds with a wedding cake of white cups wobbling with wild abandon as the Sunday morning chatter bounces left and right and up and down and in and out and back again from mirrored walls and ceramic tiles.
In this, the chocolatería encapsulates the essence of modern Castilian Spain: to eat, to drink, to talk, to laugh, and to do nothing, absolutely nothing, with quiet restraint and moderation.
Yet the reality is, that while the service and sustenance are genuine, the dining companions are not. Not genuine madrileños that is.
Can you expect authenticity at Madrid's oldest chocolateria?
Yes and no. Fame and fortune have attracted friends to little old San Ginés and crowds of tourists queue at the door (that being the giveaway of tourists, you see, the idea of forming a queue.)
Still, the churros is crisp, the chocolate stiff and sweet and how can my ears and eyes grumble when my stomach and soul are so content?
Just come early, or even late, to try to beat the crowds - and enjoy crunching away at the oldest chocolatería in Madrid.
The Best Churros in Madrid Beyond San Gines
History aside, where else can you find the best churros in Madrid? Here are the top recommendations for a hot and crispy, sweet fix.
La Antigua Churrería
While not the oldest churrería in Madrid, a heritage that dates back to 1913 isn't doing too badly in the old, cultural sense of things. La Antigua Churrería translates to mean the old churros shop and it's a 4th generation family business. After all the change the world has seen, there's comfort to find in a traditional recipe of flour, olive oil, sugar and a dash of love.
Not to be outdone, enter a fifth generation family business with the Los Artesanos chocolatería. Starting just that little bit earlier in 1902, their chocolate comes from three South American blends, and along with churros, they offer purras.
Purras is an even broader, chunkier kind of churros. All made on site. All delicious.
Part of Spain's beloved chocolate brand, you'll find a few chocolatería Valors across Madrid. The chocolate menu extends a little further here but the churros remains crispily good.