Where to Find The Best Churros in Spain - Madrid, Barcelona

Spain is almost synonymous with churros. These fried dough shaped in a prism originate from there and has spread to other countries. In Singapore particularly, there has been a churros wave towards the end of 2015 till now, with the opening of numerous churros places such as Churro 101 and Mr. Churros.

In Spain, they do their churros differently, as I came to discover very soon upon landing. Unlike the sugar-coated, sprinkled-with-cinnamon ones that we often see in theme parks or those sold in other countries, churros in Spain are traditionally served plain. It is a breakfast or la merienda (afternoon snack) item, particularly in winter where the hot drinking chocolate you can opt to have it with warms you up. The drinking chocolate is also the thicker variation, nearer to the consistency of melted chocolate than the typical thin hot drinking chocolate. A typical churreria also serves porras, which is similar to churros but much thicker. Having the porras reminded me of the Asian fried dough fritter or you tiao. Being on exchange for nearly 6 months, naturally, I made it a mission to find Spain's best churros con chocolate.

Chocolateria San Gines (3.90 for a set of 6 churros with chocolate)

San Gines is the oldest and most famous churreria in Spain. So iconic, that tourists make it a point to stop by and try the churros.
San Gines Menu

Despite the fame though, the churros only fared average for me, and many others whom I brought shared the same feedback. The churros itself were a little too greasy and the texture, while crisp, had no aroma within the dough itself. The accompanying drinking chocolate was too thick and sweet for drinking, but some people (in particular locals) who have a greater sweet tooth just lap it up anyway. It is the way to eat - drinking the rest of the chocolate after finishing your churros dipped in it.
Circle of Porras

As the place is open 24 hours and it almost has a constant flow of customers, you are almost assured that the churros are freshly made. Just be aware that you can get the waiter to change your churros if it comes cold, as it happened to us one time. However, because of its fame, it's one of those you just have to try, but once will do.

Chocolateria San Gines
Pasadizo San Ginés, 5, 
28013 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 913 65 65 46
Open 24 hours Mon-Sun

Chocolat (3.50 for a set of 5 churros and drinking chocolate)

Another contender for the top churro title. The drinking chocolate here was thick enough to dip churros into, but not too thick such that it renders it undrinkable. This was perhaps the best drinking chocolate we came across in Madrid, but the churros left a little more to be desired in texture and flavour. It felt like plain dough with little crispness on the exterior.
Funnily, it costed us more to order 3 churros and one hot chocolate than to take the breakfast set of 5 churros and chocolate ($3.50). The staff could have told us that they were counting it this way and advise us to take the more value-for-money breakfast set instead. Apart from that issue though, the service was good and they even offer up a cookie or two on the house before you start.
Chocolat Menu
Chocolat also serves the typical Spanish breakfast items such as toasts and also sandwiches.

Chocolat Madrid
Calle de Santa María, 30, 
28014 Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 914 29 45 65
Open daily from 7.30am - 9pm

Restaurante Peyma (2.70 for drinking chocolate  and 3 churros)

Their version of drinking chocolate was on the dilute and bland side, though that makes it easier to drink compared to the thicker ones. The churros here were perhaps the closest to San Roman in Barcelona, and likely the best I have had in Madrid. 
They were piping hot, with a slight crispness on the outside and fluffiness on the inside. 
What edges it over all the other Madrid versions is that the dough itself had an aroma and savouriness. 

It still lost out a little though in flavour compared to San Roman, and a pity about the unimpressive chocolate dip.

Calle de Embajadores, 39, 
28012 Madrid, Community of Madrid, Spain
Tel: 34 968 61 48 22

Xurreria Manuel San Roman / Xurreria Dels Banys Nou [Barcelona]

Still not convinced that those were all there were to churros in Spain, I continued the hunt to Barcelona. This little shop looks inconspicuous, but it was worth the search. Apart from the plain churros, they offered chocolate-coated ones too, which have had rave reviews online. But, as those didn't look piping hot, I went instead for the original churros. Those were freshly fried on the spot in front of me and they will ask if you want sugar sprinkled on top (YES!!).

The churros were hands down, the best I have had in Spain thus far. It looked simple, with just sugar sprinkled, but the hot fried dough had a plain fragrance to it. The texture, was just the right crispness on the exterior yet remaining fluffy in the interior. Crunch-alicious. 100g (the minimum order) at 1.20 was enough for 3 of us to split as a very light snack. But, buy more if you have slightly more space. They are worth it and addictive.

Carrer dels Banys Nous, 8
08002 Barcelona
Tel: +34 934 53 25 82
Open Mon - Sat: 9am – 8.30pm. Closed Sun

*There was last one on this list is what I didn't manage to cover.
Chocolateria Valor.