Mercado de San Miguel

Food Chronicles

One of Madrid’s liveliest culinary destinations

In the center of Madrid next to Plaza Mayor lies one of the liveliest culinary destinations in the city, Mercado de San Miguel.

 

Mercado de San Miguel

The mercado was once a 13th-century church named Iglesia de San Miguel de los Octoes. In 1790, the church was destroyed by a fire. Almost 20 years later in 1809, Napolean I’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, ordered the demolition of the remaining structure.

The open area of the demolition was then used as a makeshift fish market. After 80 years of construction, Mercado de San Miguel opened as a covered food market in 1916, making it one of the oldest markets in the capital.

 

Restoration and Renovation

In 2009, Mercado de San Miguel reopened again after six years of restoration.

The renovation incorporated modernism with the use of glass against the existing cast-iron architecture. Today, the mercado is the last iron market hall in Madrid.

 

Food and Drink Vendors

Over 30 food and drink vendors offer products to take away or consume on the premises. They include the highest quality of fresh fruits, seafood and meats brought in each morning, and the highlight of the market – the tapas and drinks!

There is something for everyone, from caviar to chocolate.

You can enjoy bites of olives, classic pintxos on sliced bread, cones of jamón, fried croquetas, plates of paella, cheeses from around the country, all the way to dessert. Yes, definitely something for every appetite.

Best of all, you can pair all that food with local drinks from your choice of beers, wines, cocktails, sherry, and my favorite, the Spanish vermouth at La Hora del Vermut, which can be as cheap as 1.50€.

 

Tourists and Locals

During peak hours for lunch and dinner, crowds of both locals and tourists pack the market. From an outsider’s perspective, the mercado may seem like a tourist trap. But once you really observe and eat your way around the market, you truly get the sense of genuine flavors which are reasonably priced.

Mercado de San Miguel is a must visit for everyone in Madrid, whether you are a tourist or a local and whether you are a food lover or a fan of historical landmarks.

Modern markets in Madrid
Mercado de San Miguel, originally built in 1916 and renovated in 2009 to bring the food market into the 21st century
IMG_5990
The architecture retains the wrought iron fixtures from the original market, making it the last iron market hall in Madrid
IMG_5991
The glass entrance. The glass contrasts the iron which brings together the past and today. There are multiple entrances on all sides of the market building
IMG_5993
Inside the market. Over 30 vendors fill the food hall selling fresh fruits, seafood, meats, snacks, ready-to-eat tapas, and local drinks. The is something tasty with every step you take around the market
IMG_6007
Fresh local fruits from all parts of the country are sold at reasonable prices, including this local melon from Valencia. These Spanish melons can be as sweet as Japan’s prized melons
IMG_5996
Local seafood. This impressively massive monkfish is a landmark on its own within the market and frequently photographed for its size, but not necessarily for its prettiness…
IMG_5992
Cones of charcuterie. There are also cones of crackers which are typically paired with the delis. These cones are great to nibble on while walking around the market or to share with your group of eaters with drinks
IMG_5999
Cones of roasted nuts. Another great nibbling snack with drinks for a mid-day break or to start a meal. If cones are too much, you can also create your own portions
IMG_6002
Dried fruits, fried pork skins, and potato chips. Enjoy sweet bites along with your savory snack. And you can’t go wrong with chicharones and patatas fritas – classic snacks to pair with drinks, especially vermouth
IMG_5994
High counter-top tables for the serious eaters. If you want to leisurely enjoy your snacks and dishes, choose a seat in the designated table area
IMG_5998
Olives with a variety of other pickled pairings, like peppers, quail eggs, etc. These are perfect to start a meal with a glass of vermouth, as the pairing opens up your appetite
IMG_6006
There are standout stalls offering beautifully presented dishes, like this hot dog stall with creative, colorful toppings
IMG_6003
A standard at markets. Here the paellas are offered from massive pans with an option of two sizes: tapas (small plate) or racion (a large, shareable plate)
IMG_5997
Local and international cheeses, perfectly for pairing with your glasses of wine. The cheeses are presented over sliced bread, in chunks, or to be sliced according to your preferred number of grams
IMG_6005
There are a number of bar stations around the market. The variety of drinks features on vermouth (La Hora del Vermut – my favorite drink stall), sherry, local wines, beers, or cocktails
IMG_6004
Coffee stall. There is also stalls for a sweet, caffeinated break or end to your meal, which can be paired with the cheeses or selection of desserts around the market

 

Click here for TripAdvisor reviews and photos of Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel
List of current vendors
Plaza de San Miguel
Madrid, Spain
+34-915-424-936
Sunday to Wednesday, 10am to 12am
Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 2am

 


Sign up to my newsletter for blog updates and my monthly travel insider tips!