I would guarantee that the most recent edition of your guidebook would recommend that when in Madrid, if you want to see locals sipping cava and munching tapas, you should get to Mercado San Miguel. While for many this is a must see, and architecturally it is beautiful, you will be ahead of the crowds and with some elbow room to spare if you save your appetite for the aperitivo (12pm-2pm, the nibbling before lunch) and head for the Mercado San Antón in the barrio of Chueca.
The market has a long history in the neighborhood of Justicia. In the 19th century it was populated with immigrants coming from the countryside. While the market and the barrio suffered tremendously through certain periods of Spanish history, in 2002 the government of Madrid included the renovation of the market on its fiscal plan. Since its opening almost a year ago, the market has seen a boost of tourism and new vendors, laying more bricks for a chic and gentrified area behind Madrid's popular Gran Via, as it's nestled within the safe and eye-candy district of Chueca, otherwise known for its gay scene. As of late the neighborhood so to speak has gotten a face lift and calf injections. While others criticize for the unnecessary investment, it has brought more attention to the zone and does serve as a nice and relaxing afternoon or evening tapas crawl, wherein one can enjoy a blissful environment on the terrace, well past the late summer sunset, as the upper level is typically open to at least midnight.
Entrance and map of the floors of Mercado de San Antón in Chueca, Madrid.
Baked goods, sweets, croissants and fresh daily baked bread at Vienna La Baguette which carries over 120 years of history.
Will it be a merluza o marisco? Fresh Spanish shellfish, fish and shrimps.
Also not to be missed on the lower level, within the traditional market, Carnicería La Finca de Jiménez Barbero, providing beef cuts from their farm within the mountains of the community of Madrid. As well as Carnicería Lalo, out of Segovia and specializing in lamb from their own production. I have even heard that you can purchase directly from these vendors, package the product and bring it upstairs to the 3rd floor for them to prepare it for you then and there! Ask on your day of purchase and let me know if you had success.
At La Charcutería de Octavio you'll find jamónes, other cured meats and Spanish butcher specialities. Cheese lovers like me will drool at the sight of so many raw cheese varieties, as well as local and international selections.
A huge perk, especially for those traveling from California under the recent foie gras ban, the Puturrú kiosk. Fresh goose and duck foie paired with their respective wine suggestions, such as that of the white wines of Navarra and the muscats of Andalusia. Recommended is the foie a la plancha seared foie with sea salt.
View from the second level of Mercado de San Antón
Mercado de San Antón
Calle Agusto Figueroa 24
28004 Madrid, Spain
Metro: Chueca or Gran Via
Bus 147 or 15
First Floor - Traditional Market
Monday - Saturday 10H to 22H, closed Sundays
Second Floor - Bar stools and foods to take away, Exposition Room "Trapézio"
Monday - Sunday 10H to 24H
Monday - Thursday 11H to 21HFridays and Saturdays 11H to 23H
Third Floor - Restaurant Terrace
Sunday to Thursday 10H to 24H
Fridays and Saturdays 10H to 1:30am
Phone: +34 91 330 07 30
For restaurant reservations on the terrace at "La Cocina de San Antón"
Spanish cuisine featuring Cinco Jotas jamón, gazpacho, white asparagus and cheeses.
Phone: +34 91 330 02 94
More tips on Madrid markets, restaurants and other Spanish cities at Sobremesa In Spain's Facebook page. I'm happy to help in your trip planning, just ask!