If you love churros with hot chocolate, make sure to visit the emblematic Chocolatería San Ginés
One of the foods most associated with Spain, along with paella and tapas are the famous churros and hot chocolate. A stick of sweet fried dough served with a steaming cup of thick hot chocolate as a kind of decadent dipping sauce. This delicious snack can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a late afternoon treat or in the wee hours of the morning after a night on the town. In Madrid, one of the most emblematic places to enjoy churros is the Chocolatería San Ginés.
The Chocolatería San Ginés dates back to the year 1894 and is well known due to its history and delicious hot chocolate. Located on a tiny little street called the Pasadizo de San Ginés, you might actually miss this chocolatería. In fact, during the Second Republic of Spain, some people called it “La escondida” (the hidden one) due to its location. I first learned about the famous churros when I read Luces de Bohemia, the famous play by Spanish author Valle-Inclán. While this might be the most famous literary reference to San Ginés, it is by no means the only one. If you go downstairs, you can see the “Salón de Tertulias” which functioned as a meeting place for literary personalities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Nowadays the chocolatería is just as busy as ever. When you first walk inside you will be greeted by a delicious aroma of chocolate and fried dough, as well as the classic style cafeteria from another era. The décor is classic: white marble with thick forest green leather seats and gold letters spelling out the name San Ginés. When you walk inside, you must order the churros. They will give you a number at the register and then find yourself an empty seat. This can be complicated, as the place is always bustling with tourists and locals alike. In fact, they take reservations for big groups!
I have gone various times, however, and I´ve always been able to squeeze around one of the little tables with my friends. (A tip: when ordering your churros remember that two people can easily share a serving (6 churros) and a cup of the thick chocolate.) When the waiter comes by your table, give him your ticket. This takes a bit of patience, especially as you are inhaling the good smells, but it gives you a chance to observe the surroundings, listen to the clinking of plates and the chatter of different groups. I can only imagine what amazing conversations were to be had among literary folk on the lower level filled with booths, a low ceiling and iron cast lamps.
Your churros will be served up warm with piping hot chocolate to dunk them in…and I wouldn´t waste any time getting down to business, as this treat is meant to be eaten warm and I would ruskommend you do the same. We ruskommend Chocolatería San Ginés with 4 boquerones (5 if you don´t mind tourists). I insist that this is one of the most famous places in Madrid to enjoy churros and chocolate. It is true that you can order churros in other places, but due to its proximity to the Puerta del Sol (the Times Square of Madrid) you can imagine the tourist traffic that passes through. Overall, however, it is as authentic an experience as you can find in regards to taste and of course, historically it cannot be beat. Worth a stop, especially if you are a chocolate lover like Rusko!