In the heart of Plaza Mayor and a stone’s throw away from Puerta del Sol, is the famous Mercado de San Miguel. The edifice itself, unusual for a market since it is made of iron and glass, is a major attraction of the city.
You see the instance you enter the market and make a quick round how diverse the food offerings at San Miguel is. In fact, the mercado has long been recognized as one of Madrid’s center for great food and Spanish gastronomy.
Day after day, whether it is a week day or the end of the week, the establishment attracts huge throngs of tourists, both local and foreign, many raring to buy all kinds of food stuff – wet or dry. Others troop to the place to relish some delicious tapa, drink a chilled copa of beer or wine while enjoying some animated conversation in some corner with friends.
Immediately after my first visit of Mercado de San Miguel, I place it high on my radar for places to have quick paella (two other favorite joints are Museo de Jamon and that take-away resto that sells some mean “para lleva” paella for only 2,70 euros).
Hungry people walk through the main middle isle of the market. There must be more than a hundred of these kiosks, selling all kinds of tapa delicacies you can think ofThe wide pan in the foreground is almost empty of paellaSeafood paella at San Miguel – this small yet filling plate got me going thru the rest of my night at Puerta del SolA tapa of pescado fritos (squid) is generously portioned and placed in a paper cone, but at 14 euros, I passed up on buying one. Luckily, a friend bought an order and shared it with the group. Tastes great, especially after we sprinkled it with a bit of lemonCompared to the squid, chicharones sells much less at 5.50, yet the serving is generous. I decided to have it with my paella, and thought the two paired wellThis crab burger is such a fine delicacy, and best of all, it doesn’t cost much (3.50 euros apiece)One of the best tapas you must taste at Mercado de San Miguel – olives tapas, which you can easily pop in your mouth. At 1 euro a piece, you can have several of these delightful goodies.
More tapas to relish at Mercado de San Miguel
Brandada bacalao con caviar de lumpo, 1 euroGambas y huevos con caviar lumpo, 2.50 eurosEnsalada de pato (duck salad), 2.50 euros
After you’ve had your fill, you might want to wash everything down by heading to the nearest cerveceria to buy yourself a copa or two of chilled wine or ice cold beerA bit of advice: If you do fancy some delicious tapas and would love to try as many as possible, the best time is from 10AM to 12PM and 5 to 7 PM, or hours before lunch and dinner. These are the best hours to roam around conveniently and hop from one food kiosk to another.
Prices: Generally affordable in spite of its touristy location. Tapas cost as low as 1 to 1.50 euros.
Horarios: Open to customers starting 10 AM, closes at 12 on weekdays and as late as 2AM on weekends