After a long night of walking in the cold, I think I found my first favorite experience in Madrid. Going for tapas at Mercado de San Miguel. After walking through Plaza de Sol, Tisha and I headed straight to the Mercado de San Miguel and it is basically an experience right out of a movie, almost practically ‘food porn’.
Set in an historic 1916 market with ironwork in the style of Les Halles in Paris, the market was renovated and reopened in 2009 with a new lease on life as a foodie destination in central Madrid, for the Torontonians, it’s like an upscale St Lawrence Market but with wine and tapas, and maybe a bit of a better smell.
This market is practically hidden in plain sight, since people asked Tisha for directions even though it was around the corner. This place has something for everyone, fresh cheeses, olives, herbs, bread, and cakes.
Want to buy fresh fish and have some Serrano Ham tapas with a glass of vino while you’re at it… well here is the place. Feel like just doing an impromptu wine tasting without pretension, again while having various tapas … well here is the place.
The Mercado de San Miguel is defintiely a boutique market, since it is located downtown. Walking around, I saw a fresh pasta shop, a shop only selling bacalao (salt cod) – I even saw a smoked salmon at 45 € a kilo (that better be the greatest smoked salmon ever), an oyster and champagne bar, patisserie (which also had gelato). There was also a fruit and vegetable stall, a cookbook store, and an olive and vermouth bar which served Spanish sherry and martinis. There is also a gourmet butcher, a fresh seafood stall and a cheese shop (where they make up tasting plates for €6-7). And it’s open from 10am til 10pm 7 days a week (and til 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), which is more convenient than most traditional mercados, which still close for a siesta in the afternoon.
Some good links: