Madrid has a long history of excellent food markets and street stalls. The produce on offer at the city’s best markets, from the freshest fruit, vegetables and seafood to artisanal products, is always authentic and delicious.
The city cherishes its markets, as shown by its rescue of the previously dilapidated Mercado de San Antón, which has been extensively renovated; the city contributed 30% of the total €15m cost, and the new structure now attracts visitors from all over the world.
Other Madrid markets have also found innovative and clever ways of keeping up with the demands of the modern gourmet. While preserving culinary traditions, the city’s best markets now boast striking, contemporary designs and offer much more than just a place to stock up on groceries. They are places to not only discover authentic Spanish food and drink, but also enjoy a wide range of international delicacies, and are as popular with locals as with visitors.
Mercado de San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is one of the Spanish capital’s oldest and most picturesque markets. After extensive renovations, it reopened in 2009 with the aim of becoming a centre for culinary culture and celebrating local and seasonal produce. Inside the iron market hall’s charming façade, there’s a host of gourmet food and drink stalls, offering everything from authentic paella to handmade sushi, and even a whole cart dedicated to delicious deep-fried croquetas. If you’re seeking something to sip, try the well-stocked Pinkleton & Wine bar or the vermouth stall – if you’re keen to keep it local, the Sherry Corner offers guided tastings.
Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel, 28005 Madrid, +34 91 542 4936
Mercado de San Ildefonso
The recently opened Mercado de San Ildefonso in Madrid’s hip Malasaña neighbourhood is fast becoming one of the city’s top gourmet destinations. The market is inspired by both tradition and modernity; there was a 19th-century market of the same name and San Ildefonso also draws on the success of street food in cities such as London and New York. The food here is authentic and exciting; 19 food stalls proffer everything from Spanish specialities such as Iberian ham, cheese, seafood and croquetas to international bites like tacos and burgers. The space includes bars and two indoor terraces where visitors can sit down and tuck into delicious morsels from the market vendors.
Mercado de San Ildefonso, Calle de Fuencarral 57, 28004 Madrid, +34 91 559 1300
Mercado de San Antón
The San Antón market in Madrid’s Chueca neighbourhood originally opened in 1945 but is, surprisingly, one of the most modern in town. The space reopened in 2011 after a complete renovation and aims to provide a place to enjoy food and food culture, and to present a different version of the traditional and familiar market. On the first floor, food lovers can pick up the best fresh, artisanal produce, including meat, fish, delicatessen dishes and baked goods, from the finest local producers. Tapas is the theme of the second floor, which offers culinarily diverse stands. Hungry visitors can choose between Italian, Japanese and Greek bites in addition to smokehouse, rotisserie and seafood stands. The Espacio Trapezio serves as an art gallery and theatre, while on the top floor there is a restaurant which uses market produce and offers a lively outdoor terrace.
Mercado de San Antón, Calle de August Figueroa 24, 28004 Madrid, +34 91 330 0730
Imagine a concept store dedicated to food and restaurants and you might dream up something like Platea. The vast and striking space includes a tapas area, El Patio, where tasty titbits such seafood or bellota ham from acorn-fed pigs are available alongside fine wines and beer. The El Foso dining space showcases classic Mediterranean fare; there are great Mexican tortillas at Beso de Sal; pizza and Italian cuisine from Fortino; Peruvian specialities courtesy of Kinua Peru; and Shikku’s elegant Japanese dishes. For those who still aren’t satisfied, Platea is also home to the Arriba restaurant, run by Ramón Freixa, which holds two Michelin stars. Platea also offers a cocktail bar, bakery and patisserie, cooking demonstrations, masterclasses, guided tastings, pop-ups and children’s workshops. Finish the day at the Show theatre, which hosts aerial dance performances, video DJs, cabaret and live music.
Platea, Calle de Goya 5-7, 28001 Madrid, +34 91 577 0025