Instead of the spanish three-course meal,  you can eat one or two raciones - dishes for sharing among 2 or 3 people, served at the counter, not in the dining room (usually reserved for three-course meals only).  

Some inexpensive restaurants to eat raciones:

Plaza de Santa Ana

Moncho at calle Principe, 3. Nearby metro: Sevilla or Sol. Saturday closed. Raciones: Bacalao a la riojana (stewed cod with sweet red pepper and tomato sauce), albondigas (meatballs) and more.

Plaza Mayor

Refra at calle Santiago,4. Nearby metro: Opera or Sol. Pavement tables for raciones available. Raciones: Chopitos (battered baby squid), patatas bravas (fried diced potato with cayenne sauce) and more.


Chano at calle Hileras, 12. Nearby metro: Opera. Sunday closed. Raciones: Pimientos de Padron (green chili peppers), Sepia (grilled cuttle fish with garlic mayonnaise) and more.

Plaza de la Cebada

Lorena at plaza de la Cebada, 3. Nearby metro: La Latina.  Raciones: Pincho de escabeche (a dice of tuna marinated in vinegar), ensaladilla (boiled potato and vegetables with mayonnaise) and more.