The Best Food Markets in Madrid

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One of my favourite things to do when I travel is to check out the local food markets.  I love just wandering around, seeing what the locals eat and buy, trying a few things, maybe buying some lunch for a picnic and just generally enjoying the atmosphere.  I’m in heaven in Madrid as there’s so many different food markets and they’re all a little bit different so I’ve done the research for you (tough work sampling all that food!) and here are my recommendations for the Best Food Markets in Madrid:

Mercado San Miguel

This is a stone’s throw from Plaza Mayor in Plaza San Miguel and is possibly the most famous of all the food markets in Madrid.

It’s a tapas lover’s dream – an indoor market with stalls selling every kind of food imaginable.  There are 33 stalls selling cheese, jamon, sushi, fruit & veg, ice cream, tapas, tortillas, croquetas, smoothies, olives, nuts, oysters, seafood, wines, sherry and so much more.  You can read about my last trip there when I was in Madrid with my Mum, here.

What I like most is that everything is tapas (bite) sized so you can wander around picking one or two things from a few stands to make up your lunch.  You can buy it to take away but most people eat there, either standing at one of the stalls or by getting lucky and managing to nab one of the few tables that are dotted around.  This time I made myself up a cheese plate, bought  some jamon and a glass of Cava and was all set until I saw a new-to-me stand…the burrata stall!  Needless to say it was the highlight of my gastronomic lunchtime experience.  I ordered the burrata topped with pesto (palming the bread bit off on Dan) and it was absolutely amazing, the best burrata I’ve ever eaten, so creamy and light and just so incredible that I went back for a second one topped with smoked salmon!

I have been known to go for the oysters and champagne on occasion or even the caviar bar (when I’m feeling pretentious) but not even I could stomach the gulas (imitation baby eels made from surimi) although they seemed incredibly popular!

It’s always buzzing and full of people and the atmosphere is amazing.  Open from 10am-12am weekdays and 10am-2am on weekends, it’s also the perfect after-dinner stop for a plate of cheese and a glass of red wine!  Or even blue wine if that’s your thing – I didn’t try it but I’m told that it tastes like white wine and has no artificial colours in it…Hmmm, jury is definitely out on that one!

Open from 10am-12am Sun-Weds and 10am-2am on Thurs-Sat

Mercado San Anton

This market is in the Chueca district (Calle Augusto Figueroa 24) and is slightly different in that there are a few tapas type stalls but many of the market’s 22 stalls are for purchasing your shopping.  There is a cheese stall and a meat stall but it’s like heading to the butcher or the cheesemonger and people come here to buy something special to take away and have later rather than eat there.  There are however a few bars and stalls that serve you food at the market but I like to use this market to buy provisions for a picnic and then head to the Retiro Park nearby to eat it.

 

You can read about the last time I was there and the food that I bought here.  We decided to buy ourselves some meat, cheese, fruit and salad (and a lovely bottle of wine) and head to the Retiro Park to sit in the sunshine and eat our picnic.The Best Food Markets In Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores

There is a lovely terrace bar where I’ve enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) having made my purchases, and (also a rooftop  bar that I’ve not been to as it was closed for a private function last time we were there – it’s rumoured to have a stunning view over the city and is famed for its large ‘gin tonics’)!

The Mercado San Anton is open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm; restaurant open Sun-Thurs 10am-midnight, Fri-Sat-10am-1.30am

Mercado de San Ildefonso

This is in the Malasaña District of Madrid on the famous Fuencarral St (Calle Fuencarral 57) – here the food is more of a cook-to-order thing and is hot rather than tapas style nibbles.  You can have paella, steak, tacos, pasta etc.  It has a much younger vibe here and everyone seemed to be out eating before a night on the town although it is open earlier in the day too.

The three-storey building has a very industrial feeling with lots of exposed pipes and brickwork and has a very urban look to it.  The best thing about this market is that they provide lots of opportunities to try the food before you buy it.  I walked round munching on steak and cheese before settling on a grilled vegetable omelette (I was craving some greens at this point – the Spanish don’t seem to do any vegetables with their meals and there are very few tapas options with anything green on them!)

There are 18 stalls and three bars across three floors so plenty of choice for dinner and also lots of tables to prop yourself up at as it’s harder to eat a plate of food standing up than it is tapas.  There’s also an outdoor patio and a prettily lit terrace for warmer nights.

Open daily 10am-1am

Platea

New to the food markets in Madrid scene, at only a year old, my last recommendation is again, extremely different.  Found in the smart, Salamanca district, (Calle Goya 5-7) this food market is in an old theatre and each tier (stalls, circle, dress circle) etc has been converted to house different stands.Best Food Markets In Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores - Platea

On the ground floor there’s even a restaurant where you can sit and order from any of the food stalls and have the food brought to you.  This means that if you all want something different for dinner, someone can have sushi, while someone else is eating steak, while another is having pizza – it’s great if everyone has a different idea on what they’d like for dinner.  We ate here after spending the day in Segovia and I ate a salad while Dan had a burger and our friend Guillermo had Huevos Rotos – everyone was happy!

There’s always some form of entertainment on, from jazz bands to soul singers, meaning that Platea is definitely a buzzy venue and the fact that it’s a theatre means that there is no natural light.  This makes it feel like more of an evening venue rather than somewhere you might go for lunch although its open everyday from 12!

There are also a few smarter restaurants (where the food is cooked by Michelin star chefs) within the building but these are separate from the main area and usually need a reservation.  There are great cocktails, plenty of tables and although not the cheapest of the food markets, it’s not too expensive (and you get free entertainment!.)

Platea is open Sun-Wed noon-12.30am, Thurs-Sat noon-2.30am

So whether for lunch or dinner, there are plenty of options here.  I’m sure you could even last the whole trip just eating at the different Food Markets in Madrid, but I would recommend visiting some of the traditional restaurants too!  Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world is fabulous and one of the most famous and if you’re a steak lover then you should definitely try Casa Paco. Whatever you decide, I’m sure you’ll agree that Madrid is definitely a Foodie Paradise!

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Best Food Markets In Madrid by Emma Eats & Explores

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45 Comments Add yours

  1. bitesofflavor says:

    This visit looks amazing!!! I’m dying to go to Madrid. Food Markets are such a great way to try all the traditional foods of a country. Great post!

  2. Hetal says:

    I haven’t been to Madrid yet – but clearly I need to make my way over there! I love hte idea of the small bites so I can havea taste of everything!

  3. khenricks says:

    Oh my goodness … Madrid sounds wonderful! I am a huge foodie so this post is right up my alley … I hope I can get there soon!

  4. Thanks for sharing this list! Madrid is really high on my list of places to visit and I will definitely be saving this link for when I schedule my trip!

  5. featherflint says:

    Ahhh this looks so great! I love food markets too – they’re the perfect way to (literally) get a sense of the local flavor. Even better when they’re pretty… and when they have TAPAS! I need to go to Spain!

  6. momknowsbest15 says:

    I love the 3 story place. It would be so fun to eat there

  7. Amber says:

    Awesome! I also enjoy going to food markets since I love to eat.

  8. My sister studied abroad in Madrid. She came back with all sorts of stories about the delicious food. I hope to visit one day!

  9. I also love visiting food market. This is one of my weakness.
    Love to try traditional dish of every places that o visited.Too bad I’m not into photography that time and the only thing in mybmind is tontey all the yummy good that I saw.

  10. Sarah Bailey says:

    Plaza San Miguel was an awesome place, it is like name all you want and you can find it there. The variety of food was splendid from their dairy products to fruit, seafood, wine and much more. Same with Mercado San Anton, Mercado de San Ildefonso, and Platea where we can have some fine dining and see some live performance from the bands.

  11. Erica Price says:

    That market looks wonderful. I have visited the market in Barcelona so I can imagine what it is like. So much lovely food and drink on offer.

  12. Only By Land says:

    I’m not a Tapas lover but the more I visit Spain and the more I have to eat Tapas, the more I like it! Next time I’m in Madrid I’ll try the Mercado San Miguel and like you, I’ll be taking my mum. She keeps telling me that’s the fashionable thing to do!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Your mum sounds like a very wise woman! Travelling with the mama is definitely the way to go! 🙂

  13. Lisa Sell says:

    Reading this and looking at your photos has made me hungry! I love exploring cultural cuisine. Tapas is a particular favourite.

  14. Candace says:

    I’m feeling rather hungry looking at these photos! I’m a big fan of mediteranian food and I’m sure I’d love Madrid

  15. Karlyn Cruz says:

    This is so tempting and I wanna grab it from my screen but nah, I’m on my diet lol.

  16. Victoria Heckstall says:

    oh my goodness! This one is looks really good and I want a piece! Those photos are breathtaking.

  17. Emma white says:

    The food looks amazing! So many different meals to choose from. Would love to go one day!

  18. This looks amazing! Madrid is on my travel wish list!

  19. Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie says:

    Oh wow! This is a foodie’s heaven! Yum!

  20. These all look like amazing food markets!!! I would love to visit Madrid!

  21. I love food so much. I wish I could travel just to eat different foods! madrid food market sounds amazing!

  22. bonvoyageluv says:

    Love love love all those photos!! Know where I’m going next..

  23. Abby says:

    Food markets are one of my favorite ways to explore a city. And food markets in Madrid? I’ve always been fascinated about Spanish food, so this would be a must-try in my list should I visit Madrid.

  24. Heather says:

    Wow! What an experience both visually and in all the exotic tastes. I’m not sure my palate is sophisticated enough, but I love hearing about it.

  25. The buzz of food markets is such a treat for the senses. Not only do you get to sample the authentic foods of the country, but also experience everyday life in all its glory. Lovely post.

  26. We love to explore the city we travel like a local and what best way could be than to do try out some local food markets. The Mercado San Miguel with 33 stalls loaded with colorful tempting fruits and desserts sounds amazing. And loved the concept of Platea to try out different stalls right from where you are being seated.

  27. Wow – looks like you need a whole week in Madrid just to eat! I’d be straight to the cheese stalls. Food markets are a great way to see local culture too.

  28. I’m the same as you, I absolutely love food markets – whether I’m here in the UK (I love Camden Market in London) or abroad. I didn’t even realise Madrid had so many of them! I was actually tempted to visit Madrid – just for a long weekend – in 2016, but I didn’t happen. After reading your post, I think I’ll need to fit it in this year 😀 Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Me too – Borough Market is my fave in London!

  29. Oh my goodnessssss… this looks delightful. I love tapas so much because I’m a super indecisive person when it comes to food – I want to try EVERYTHING. This is perfect for me. So I guess a one way ticket to Spain is in order?!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Definitely – the food is so incredible over there!

  30. Emma says:

    I’ve never been to Madrid, but it looks amazing. The food looks divine!

  31. I love the picture of cheese and wine on the grass…it makes me want to go on a picnic right now 🙂
    How expensive are these markets? Are there any specific dishes that you would recommend for vegetarians?

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      The markets are really reasonably priced- most tapas are around €2 and the bigger dishes are €6-8 euros. I used to be vegetarian so I know how you feel. The patatas braves are always amazing (fried potatoes with a tomato salsa on top and sometimes an egg) or manchego cheese is a must-eat when in Spain! Padron peppers are a traditional dish and are small capsicums (a tiny bit spicy but hardly at all) that have been grilled over a flame- delicious! And the olives, and the cakes and pastries…the list goes on!

  32. ChelseaMamma says:

    We have relatives in Madrid but have yet to vsiit. Hopefully we will get to go this year

  33. valisesetgourmandises says:

    I didn’t know there were so many markets to choose from in Madrid!
    I love visiting markets too! Even though it’s not quite as exciting now that we no longer eat meat or cheese.. haha
    But we did do a sampling of truffle products in Florence that got me hook to the fancy mushroom!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Oooh I love truffles too – where was that tasting? I’ll have to put it on my foodie travel list!

      1. valisesetgourmandises says:

        Mercato Centrale if I remember the name well. The tasting was part of a cooking class we took while in Florence. There’s a blog post about it if you’re interested! 🙂

  34. Omg food markets are my favorite places to stroll when traveling!!!! I would love to go to Madrid one day

  35. Wow! What a large variety. Everything looks amazing! I would love to visit Madrid one day.

  36. Elizabeth O. says:

    I absolutely love food markets! I think this is awesome, Madrid has one of the best markets and they really feature their local fare!

  37. i love food markets. they are so much fun and exciting. there are always something new to find

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