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Chocolatería San Ginés

San Ginés: Madrid's 24-7 Chocolateria
Founded in 1894 and set in the center of Madrid, not far from Puerta del Sol, San Ginés is a local favorite and a don’t-miss stop during any visit to the capital. No excuses; it never closes. Pasadizo de San Ginés 5, Madrid, 34/91-365- 6546

This appeared in the June/July 2014 issue.

Learn more about Spain's chocolate and churro culture.

The Best Churros con Chocolate in Madrid
The staff of Madrid's Chocolatería San Ginés might be a bit brisk, but they more than make up for it in taste and atmosphere. Over a century old, take a few turns off the main "calle" and follow the pink neon sign to the small elegant interior. You'll be rewarded with a steaming cup of drinking/dipping chocolate and perfectly crisp-yet-delicate churros.

Drinking a Chocolate Bar
We stumbled across this place while looking at a book stall, and the word 'chocolate' inevitably caught my daughter's eye. We ordered a hot chocolate but, to her dismay, no churros since we had just eaten.

Dating back to 1894, it's a classy looking place perfect for us both. To my surprise the hot chocolate was sooooo thick! Perhaps a churro would have gone well with it after all.

If you're in Madrid listen to your kids and stop by Chocolateria San Gines.

Merienda? Madrugada? Simply "mmm" in Madrid's Chocolatería San Ginés
A brief language lesson about food and time of day is in order before heading off to this mythic Madrid institution, where the Spanish sweet tooth has been indulged and nurtured for a hundred and twenty years: decadent yet delicate churros along with your-spoon-will-stand-up-in-this hot chocolate.

"Merienda"--an afternoon snack, as in, "churros con chocolate are a perfect late afternoon pick-me-up!" Sí, sí-: sugar + caffeine = a winning combination, especially after siesta.

"Madrugada"--the 'wee hours,' between midnight and sunrise, when Madrileños flock here after late (read: "normal") dinners and even later parties to dip churros into their steaming cups of thick chocolate before heading home just before sunrise.

"Mañana" doesn't just mean 'tomorrow,' it also means 'morning'...and these fried pastries make for a tasty breakfast, too. (San Ginés is open 24 hours a day.)

Friday and Saturday nights, 'late' takes on a different meaning here--show up around 1 a.m. or so, and it'll be quiet--it's early yet--a grandfather with his grandkids will be sitting at one of the marble tables. The hip crowd, on their way to or from dancing, doesn't arrive until 4:00 or 5:00. By then, the kids have finally gone to bed.

You can get churros con chocolate at countless places throughout Spain, but it's worth seeking out the venerable San Ginés. The challenge is staying up late enough to soak up true Madrileño flavor.

When Hot Chocolate Becomes Something Else
CATCH (drink): Any culinary adventuring in Spain wouldn't be complete with dunking churros in hot chocolate. We made a necessary stop at Madrid's Chocolateria San Gines, with its line out the door, old-fashioned, upscale interior and chaotic energy.

The hot chocolate itself? More literal in title than as a beverage. It may be served in a mug, but its thickness and density makes it more readily consumed with a spoon than by sipping. But it's definitely hot, and chocolate, and so, so good.

Chocolate con Churros in Madrid
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year San Ginés is hands down the best place to indulge in chocolate con churros in Madrid. Often blurring the line between a nightcap and breakfast for locals, thick pudding-like hot chocolate is served with a half dozen warm churros for you to dip, enjoy and repeat.

Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain
+34 913 65 65 46