Whenever I am bound for Gran Via or Puerta del Sol, I always insist on using the Calle Fuencarral route, as I enjoy walking through one of the most touristy streets of Centro Madrid. In the middle of this road by the corner of Calle Santa Barbara, with boutiques of famous clothing and shoe brands dominating its length, is the food market called the Mercado San Ildefonso.
Where numerous food stalls are found under one roof, San Idefonso is in the same league as the Mercado San Miguel of Plaza Mayor and Mercado San Anton of Chueca. Here you can find and enjoy a wide variety of foods, not only Spanish but all types of cuisine — American, Mediterranean, Latin American, and even Asian (mainly Chines and Japanese).
Hence, if you happen to drop by at Malasaña, satisfy your hunger by dining at Mercado San Ildefonso. It is the perfect place to have some quick (and often necessary) chow that will energize you for your day-long shopping at Fuencarral or surrounding areas, or chat with friends while enjoying some rounds of drinks.
The place boasts of three levels, although the 2nd floor is where you can find the most number of food stalls. The picture above reveals a vinos bar on the top floorThe specialty of this stall are savory paellas and other arroz-based dishes. They are served as tapas, which I thought is rare as paella is available in restaurants as raciones (bigger servings) to ensure the quality of the dish)This plate of paella of sticky rice of saffron and shrimps sells for 4 euros, one of the dishes I always try whenever I visit San Ildefonso. I’m just surprised that they serve it with a slice panMadrid is known to be home to delicious tapas — they’re everywhere, especially in Mercado San Ildefonso. No doubt the chorizo tapa with pan above is inviting. You will certainly have a good fill to last for a day with this tapa. 3.50 euros a plateSan Ildefonso will never run out of jamon tapas. Jamon dishes costs from 3 to 15 euros, depending on the type of jamon, and quantity of your order (tapa or racion).
What to expect at San Ildefonso:
Venue: The market has three floors, with the second floor hosting most of the food stalls
What to Eat: All varieties, paella, bocadillos, all types of jamon, seafoods, brochetas, even crepe
Wine: There are bars to be found on every floor of the mercado, perfect for those who want to while their time away with family and friends.
Horario: From Sunday to Wednesday, the establishment is open for business at around 10AM and closes past 12AM. The rest of the week, it stays open until 1AM.
How to go: Take Autobus number 149 and get off at the last stop, Tribunal Station. Proceed to the nearby Calle de Fuencarral and take the portion going towards Gran Via until you reach Santa Barbara.