A far cry from the establishments listed above, this Madrid institution with entrances opposite the Reina Sofía and Atocha station is always busy and always scruffy. Its waiters are gruff at best. But it’s brilliant. The 4-inch finger-roll bocadillos make a good snack, while the 10-inch bocatas are lunch. There is a wide range of generous raciones, but El Brillante is best known for its bocadillo de calamares (fried squid rolls). There’s a certain raffish style to standing at the long, stainless-steel bar, letting your napkins float to the floor like everyone else. Or, if you can get an afternoon table outside facing the Reina Sofía, order a sandwich and a beer—served in large, tall glasses—and watch Spanish free runners attempting to scale its steps. Late at night, the output switches to chocolate and churros for revelers on their way home. Given all that, the stainless-steel bathrooms are surprisingly, well, stainless.
Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, 8
Our Rating Neighborhood Arts District and Paseos Hours Daily 7am–midnight or later Transportation Metro: Atocha Phone 91-528-69-66 Prices Sandwiches 3€–9€ Cuisine Type Spanish Web site El Brillante
MapPlaza del Emperador Carlos V, 8 Madrid
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.