Faro Vallecano: a beautiful, no-frills diner in Vallecas

Closed summer 2019

The sun pours through the smokey windows of this upstairs diner and is intercepted by half a dozen coconut palms, casting exotic shadows on the terrazzo floor. Everything – and I mean everything – is a shade of brown, as it has been since its last refurb a few decades ago.

Bar Faro Vallecano’s 70-something-year-old dining room is perfectly placed for the morning sun, sitting just behind the single-storey Mercado Puente de Vallecas– a thriving local market built in 1950.

As you tuck into your menú del día here, enjoy a view of that mid-century, toy-like market where some of the food you’re eating was bought earlier that day.

Head back downstairs and admire the hand-painted mural of a waterside village on the stairwell…

It’s a cold day but the sun is creating a greenhouse effect, so the door to the bar is propped open and it already feels like spring again.

Back on the ground floor, there’s plenty propping-up-the-bar space here. It’s a full U-shape with a Gothic flick at one end, where the newspapers are laid out.

I’m in here for an elevenses breakfast: coffee, a deliciously oily pincho de tortilla and an orange juice, all for €3.  In between reading 20 minutos and subtly (or so I think) taking photos, I’m doing my usual eavesdropping on conversations nearby.

I’m quite taken with the two elderly ladies to my right, who are on their second glass of wine by the time I’m done. It seems it’s never too early to get on it in Spain, especially if you’ve already been to the market and got your food shopping done for the day.

Faro Vallecano is a daytime bar and restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and early evening drinks/coffee and porras, but if you’re after an early dinner, then this is a perfect place to grab a drink before heading to one of our favourite Moroccan restaurants, just a couple of doors up.

It’s no coincidence that Faro Vallecano rhymes with Rayo Vallecano – the neighbourhood’s salt-of-the-earth football team. This no-frills bar is an archetypal community hub, positioned perfectly in the heart of Madrid’s rebel town, Vallecas.


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