Tapas are just the thing for girls’ night — everyone can eat as much or as little as she wants. If you can all indulge in some fancy cocktails meanwhile, maybe finishing up with a classic dessert, so much the better. One place you can do all this in Madrid is Taberna del Chato.
Chato is the Spanish name for a small, wide glass often used in bars, and at this tavern named after it, it also serves as a dish for food. (This leads to portions too small to be acceptable to some online reviewers — just so you know what to expect.) If you’d rather just have one larger dish, a small selection of platos (full meals) is available too. So are raciones, or single servings.
The menu is a blend of classic Spanish (ham croquetas, a form of gazpacho called salmorejo, and smoked cod) and global influences (chicken curry, steak teriyaki, and . . . sliders). The smallest items, Pinchos y Montaditos (snacks and sandwiches) are all just € 2. Next up in size, portions served in chatos are € 2 to € 4. Not surprisingly, given the place’s name, the widest selection comes here. Raciones are all € 8 and include chicken fingers, shrimp omelet, and Ibérico ham. The platos, as I’ve mentioned, are fairly few and include grilled octopus and steak tartare (in other words, raw beef), which are not exactly mainstream in North America. You’re probably better off building a meal little by little. There’s a display case with samples, so you can get by with pointing to what you want.
Drinks include quite a few classic cocktails (Margarita, Old Fashioned, Grasshopper — all helpfully listed under their English names), a modest selection of wines and beers, non-alcoholic drinks, and coffee. You will have to pay for water, € 1.75 or € 2.75 depending on the size. Desserts are very basic (brownies, ice cream, chocolate mousse) and all cost € 3.
Taberna del Chato, established in 2012 — in Spain, that means it’s still brand new — is in the Barrio de las Letras, at Calle de la Cruz 25. The building is recognizable by its large windows decorated with the business name in elaborate script. It’s open Monday through Thursday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM (yes, the siesta still exists); Friday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM to 2:30 AM; Saturdays, noon to 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM to 2:30 AM; holidays (and there are lots), noon to 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM. Reservations are preferred but not required. You can do this by email (email@example.com).
Editor’s Note: For some suggestions for fun activities to enjoy while on a girls’ trip to Madrid, be sure to check out this article.