I must say mercados in Madrid are worth my time. It is sheer joy whenever i wander thru any of these city markets because I always get a great deal from every experience — and I am not talking about the usual produce and food items that you would love to fill your kitchen countertop with. When we talk about Madrid markets, it’s a given that the freshest bounties are on sale. Quality meats and poultry, fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and grains of every shape and hue, every traditional goodie that you can think of — all are yours for the taking.
Needless to say, Madrid mercados offer more. On top of the list are delectable served-within-minutes and ready-to-eat Spanish comidas like bocadillos and tapas sold by food kiosks integrated within. Typically found on the establishments’ upper levels, the kiosks are often patronized by customers who decide to take a quick snack after a tiring hour or two of wandering around, scouring every nook and cranny of the market to buy their daily needs. It’s apparent that many prefer them over bars and cafes, owing to the former’s less formal setting.
Rich history — this is what city markets have accumulated, having been around for ages. An example is Mercado San Miguel, which was built in the early 1900’s.
Interesting architecture — others are popular to tourists mainly because of the uniquely-designed edifices that house them. If only for this reason, Madrid markets are easily considered as Madrid attractions.
Place for chat — food markets of Madrid have their food kiosks complete with tables and chairs, allowing for diners to spend half of their time dining, and the rest, engaging in some animated, seemingly endless conversation.
Here are six Madrid food markets where you can enjoy great tapas and comidas, apart from getting some great buys to fill your kitchen counter and fridge:
Mercado San Anton
This mercado in hip Barrio Chueca is a favorite hangout among tapa lovers — there is a great number of kiosks from all three floors for everyone to choose from. Of course, you may opt for the usual Spanish tapas and bocadillos, but likewise, there are foods from European and Asian countries. On top of the establishment is a sit-down restaurant, La Cocino de San Anton, that features a terrace that affords diners with a spectacular view of the surrounding vicinity below. By the way, the hamburguesa (photo above) served by Asador La Manuela sells for 6 euros — a filling treat you must try at San Anton.
Location: 28004 Calle de Augusto Figueroa 24B
Business hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00AM to 10:00PM (market area); Monday to Sunday: 10:00AM to 12:00MN (Tapas area, 2nd level)
Official Website: San Anton Market
Mercado de Maravillas
This market is known for its fresh and cheaply priced chicken and seafood, which is why I prefer going there whenever I have the chance. Everytime I drop by Maravilla, I never fail to have my fill of two of my favorite Spanish comidas — empanadas and paellas. While there are a number of food stalls that sell empanadas, one particular kiosk at the back of the market really stands out because of its ultra-hot chilli-based sauce. Every time is a burning hot, tear-inducing and lip-numbing gastronomic experience even with just a piece of this meat filled empanada.
My craving for paella makes me pass by at Raypi, located near the entrance. More like a restaurant than a food kiosk since it has a dining area, Raypi boasts of really delectable paellas — never mind if they are served as tapas. Other popular food fare served at the restaurant are boquerones, orillas planchas, and many others.
Location: Calle de Bravo Murillo 122 Madrid 28020
Time Open: Monday to Friday: 9:00–14:00, 17:30–20:30; Saturday: 9:00-3:00
Official Website: Mercado de Maravillas
Mercado de San Miguel
Especially if you are a first-timer in Madrid, everyone’s advice must be for you to see Puerto del Sol, perhaps the most touristic spot of Madrid. Near this famous Spanish square is the Mercado de San Miguel, wnich is the perfect place to stave off your hunger. The market is well-known for its structure made of iron and glass; its spectacular facade always leave me to awe whenever I set my eyes on it. Imagine being able to enjoy a plate of Paella for only 4 euros — this is one reason why I often pass by this market whenever I am at Sol or Plaza Mayor.
Location:Plaza de San Miguel 28005
Operational Hours: Sunday to Wednesday: 10AM to 12MN; Thursday to Saturday: 10AM to 2:00AM
Official Website: Mercado San Miguel
Mercado de San Ildefonso
You will find San Ildefonso Mercado in the same league as San Miguel as far as popularity is concerned. This food market is the most visited among all other similar establishments within Madrid Centro, and probably the whole of the capital. Like San Miguel, you can find Spanish tapas and comidas of every kind, and what’s more, they are affordably priced. I visit this market from time to time if I want a fill of its paella tapa. Opens beyond 12 AM during weekends.
Location: Calle 57 Fuencarral 28004 Madrid
Hours Open: Sunday to Wednesday-12PM to 12AM; Thursday to Saturday-12:00PM to 1:00AM
Official Website: Mercado San Ildefonso
Mercado de la Cebada
A stone’s throw away to the La Latina Metro Station is the Mercado de la Cebada, one of Madrid’s largest street food markets. Cebada is popular not only because it is found within a boisterous, highly populated barrio, but also it is just beside Campo de la Cebada, where major activities of the neighborhood are held. While much of the space inside is occupied by sellers of raw food stuff like meats, poultry, and fish, it also offers a good number of options in food kiosks that sell great food, especially if you’re looking for a place to enjoy some affordable, quick eats on a weekend. My first time at the market found me in awe of its sheer size, which is a good thing because I enjoyed wandering through this labyrinth filled with stores offering goodies of every kind.
Location: Plaza de la Cebada 28005 Madrid
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00AM-2:00PM, 5:00PM to 10:30PM; Saturdays: 9:00AM to 6:00PM; First Sunday of the Month: 11:00AM to 5:00PM
Official Website: Mercado Cebada
Mercado de San Fernando
While San Fernando operates as a food market, it is more of a non-traditional one, since here you can stumble upon shops selling unique stuff other than food, like craftsman items, clothes, books, and vintage pieces. Of course, like the typical market in Madrid, it also has food kiosks selling Spanish comidas and tapas, as well as gastronomic delights from other countries. If you are a beer lover or want to have a taste of some quality brew, under its roof are brewery bars serving beers, great-tasting ones that give you all the reasons to keep coming back.
Its book shop by the way sells items that are priced according to its weight — the name is La Casquería.
Location: 41 Calle de Embajadores 28012
Time Open to the Public: Monday: 9:00AM to 2:00PM, 5:00PM to 9:00PM; Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00AM to 9:00PM; Friday to Saturday: 9:00AM to 11:00PM; Sunday: 11:00AM to 5:00PM
Website: San Fernando Market