By Diane Hollands
We just happened to book our Airbnb right beside this wonderful Mercado. We had no idea what was in store and that in our three days in Madrid we would eat there at least once a day.
Checking into the Airbnb, we asked for a Mercado to pick up some food to cook. After all, that’s why we get an Airbnb. Our young host said, “there’s one close, but it’s expensive. Try Mercado San Miguel.” We were tired and didn’t want to go far, and so, our love affair began with Mercado San Miguel.
The lovely iron building was originally built in 1916. In 2000 it was designated a world heritage site. In 2003 investors bought it, renovated it, and reopened it in 2009.
The building takes up a city block. It is iron and glass. The light feels old world. Inside is a delightful array of food booths, tapas booths, numerous places to get a drink and stand up counters for eating. This is not just a tourist place. It’s where everyone seems to go for a bite, a drink, and a chat.
Prices start around 1.50 euro. The food is stunning. Olives stacked up, stuffed, on a stick; a cornet of chorizo; salmon toasts, and salmon rolled on a toothpick; chocolates to die for; jambon, or ham from the cheap to the expensive acorn-eating pigs. Drinks were lovely.
One evening after 9 pm, and after a food tour, we were still hungry. We stopped at the Mercado, got tapas and a drink and sat on the curb outside and watched the crowd go by and the gypsies beg for money. To us, this was the reason we travel. To experience what life is like in another place. Totally enjoyable.
Mercado San Miguel – Plaza de San Miguel – Madrid Spain. Open 10 am to 12 am Sunday to Thursday Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 1 am.
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