I firmly believe in the (slightly rephrased) saying “When in Rome, eat as the Romans do.” So, the first thing I ordered in Madrid was hot chocolate and churros. It was just as delish as I knew it would be.
Imagine my surprise afterwards when I discovered that what I had eaten was not really churros but… porras!
I was not aware of the difference between churros and porras. It turns out that what Madrileños call churros are thin, crunchy, and knotted pastries, whereas porras are much thicker, softer, and are not knotted. Given the difference in size, porras tend to cost (almost) twice as much as churros.
Here is a review of four centrally located cafés in Madrid where I had either churros or porras. The overall rating is based on the quality of the food, the service, and the overall atmosphere (e.g. interiors).
Ratings: Outstanding / Very good / Mediocre / Bad / Terrible
Las Delicias is a small bakery and café close to the Reina Sofia Museum. It is a place for locals rather than tourists. One can order a serving of three churros or a serving of two porras, but not individual pieces. I went for the porras, which tasted good, though not exceptional.
Price: Breakfast combination, incl. a cappuccino and two porras, 2 €
Address: Paseo de las Delicias 14, 28045 Madrid
Nebraska is a chain of cafés with several branches in the city center. The atmosphere is quite laid-back and the prices very convenient. I had a serving of four churros, which were thinner and crunchier than the other churros I had in Madrid. The churros tasted good, but I did not like the powdered sugar dusting.
Order: Breakfast menu, incl. a latte macchiato, orange juice, and four churros, 2,40 €
Address: Calle Alcala 18, 28014 Madrid
Uvepan is a chain of bakeries & cafés. The branch on Plaza de Canalejas has elegant interiors. It is here that I ordered my first churro… which actually turned out to be a porra! Anyway, the porra tasted great and I returned on my last day in Madrid for more.
Order: Hot chocolate and one porra, 4,30 €
Address: Plaza de Canalejas – Carrera de San Jerónimo 9, 28014 Madrid
Vertical Caffè is located right next to the Caixa Forum and a short walk away from the Prado Museum. It has modern interiors and a young clientele. I ordered a serving of churros, which consisted of three pieces. The churros tasted very good – so, too, did the large latte macchiato.
Rating: Very good
Order: Latte macchiato and three churros, 4,70 €
Address: Calle Almaden 26, 28045 Madrid