There is no better place than a food market if you want to experience and taste the food culture of a city, and there is no better city than Madrid for doing it.
By food market we consider all the gourmet shops where can be found a large variety of products to eat at a stand, or to take-away. We also consider all those classical markets that produce raw foodstuffs like vegetables, milk or meat.
In recent years a great enthusiasm has been registered for specialists, one-product producers, as well as stands that sell ready-cooked meals. This has quickly changed the structure of city markets from 100% producer oriented markets to agglomerates of small, mini restaurants that can mobilize at a minutes notice.
1) San Miguel
Madrid has developed this “new market era” in a very special way, and the best example in the city is definitely San Miguel. Here can be found dozens of little stands that are hyper specialized, offering a single product offer. (80% of them specializing in tapas.) You have the crab stand, the burrito stand, the jamon stand and so on.
A special mention to all the new entries in the market from Michelin starred restaurants like the Rodrigo de la Calle paella, the Javi Estevez mini sandwiches and last but not least the crazy icecreams from the genius Jordi Roca.
The space is great, just behind the famous Plaza Major. The glass architecture is striking and considered a cultural heritage within the city.
2) San Antòn
The second most important and public market is San Antòn, in the Chueca area. Similar to Saint Miguel with its tapas stands, but with a large terrace where you can better enjoy your pinchos. The delicatessen market is the heart of San Antòn. Here can be found fresh, high quality food that you won’t find anywhere else. There is also a restaurant called, La Cocina de San Antòn, which is a classical restaurant where you can share the huge table with other guests. We are mentioning this market especially for the nice terrace at the last floor of the building.
The third one, which is a completely different experience, is Platea. In this market you probably won’t just go for a quick tapa, but for a night out. This venue is very similar to gourmet stores such as, Eataly, where you have the best of both worlds, a market and various restaurants, in a multi-floor setup, and available at the same location. You can also pick-up an entertainment calendar featuring the selecting of theatre and music shows available, at the Information Centre on the ground level.
4) Mercado de la Cebada
The fourth one is the Madrilenos, people from Madrid, choice, an authentic market that you don’t usually find in the “Top 10 markets in Madrid” charts, but look at the picture, this structure is amazing, and it’s in one of the most beautiful block of Madrid: Latina. This is a very residential area, great for a lovely walk when you want to enjoy the real Spanish architecture, because it is the oldest part of the city. It’s the Mercadode la Cebada, a real producers market where you find the best meat and fish of Madrid. This venue was built in the XVIII century in order to have the highest hygiene level for food conservation. Now it’s also a cultural stage for music and performing arts due to the huge stage in the backyards.
Few other markets that worth a visit are the San Fernando, Anton Martin and Tirso de Molina markets, all of them are extremely authentic places, where people from the neighborhood usually hang out for a beer after work or just doing the groceries shopping.
Also for the most famous tortilla queue (Casa Dani) worth the mention of Mercado de la Paz in the Salamanca district, definitely the chicest and most expensive food market (after Platea which is super close). It also has an Amazon Now area dedicated to the shipment of the groceries shop.
Madrid is definitely a market city, but the best markets are the food markets, no clothes, no antiques or furniture, the only market product is food, either if you want to cook something home, or to consume it inside the market. The Spanish capital is a great foodporn destination, with probably the lowest prices of Europe where you can so many different cultures, tapas after tapas.