The Mercados , Markets of Madrid!

So now we got a reprive some quick showers to cool off the heat wave coming thru Europe these last few days. We are still lucky to be mild, spots in my beloved Spain had gone to 45C! 113F! yikes! Oh well , it is Spain, everything under the Sun! Here we got the breezes of the Atlantic ocean!

Talking about markets (mercados or mercadillos) here, arise out of a conversation with an old friend from travel forums VT and we are still very much in contact, even been visited in my house! Now, the person is traveling in Spain and took some pictures of markets. Well it gave me an idea not written much on them, just bits and pieces in previous blog posts.

I needed to say, my dear late wife Martine got me to come to all of them, well most of them, she loves them. Hopefully, this will stay with me for the memories. I like to tell you about some of my favorites and yours too, and my family there too. And of course, Madrid because once lived, and many times visited, my(ours) main piece of Spain always will be.

Let me tell you about the most famous market of Madrid, especially from the tourist point of view but , also from the locals ! And the one I actually have a few photos!

Over the aisles, we marvel at the Spanish specialties (hams, olives, fruits and vegetables, etc). The stands offer for some a counter to taste on the spot. Perfect to take the time to discover Madrid gastronomy in an elegant and lively place. High place of life and going out  of the Spanish capital, the Mercado de San Miguel (St Michael market)  is an essential monument for the visitors but also for the locals who meet with friends around a glass and tapas. A few blocks from the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace, the Mercado de San Miguel  is located with its glass, iron and ceramic structure dating from the last century. It’s some 1200 square meters are home to producers and sellers of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and local specialties; Bars and other restaurateurs.

Madrid

In the Middle Ages already the place was known as an open air market. Many small shops dedicated to crafts are also located in the periphery of the square. A few centuries later, it is the Church of San Miguel de los Octoes (where was baptized Lope de Vega!) that stands at this location. But following a fire which ravaged it in 1790 and the inability to renovate it despite the attempts, Joseph Bonaparte, the invading king of the time, ordered its demolition in 1809. It is then decided to keep this space open in a spirit of development and aeration of the public space. Later It was decided to restore its primary function to the market.  Therefore, from 1809 , the locals take advantage of the new market  which then specializes in the products of the sea. The covered market is finally built between 1913 and 1916.

Madrid

The commercial activity of the market declines little by little since its facilities cannot be competitive in the face of modern supermarkets and shopping malls. After renovations to restore its original appearance, the market reopens its doors in  2009 with traditional products, quality and seasonal products. A company is created to market and support this new idea, the El Gastrónomo de San Miguel, which becomes the majority shareholder of the market with the aim to revive its traditional activity.

This high place of gastronomy offers colorful stalls but also corners with tables and chairs to allow the most gourmets to taste on the spot. Tapas, Iberian ham, paella and other rice dishes, seafood, cheeses and fresh fruit but also local wines and beers find their place on the 33 stalls all more appetizing than the others. Shows are organized regularly to give more life to the Mercado de San Miguel, this place which brings together the cultural, gastronomic and historical aspects of the city. Today the market has made its place among the monuments of Madrid to see is a must.

The market is open every day from 10h to midnight and until 02h  from Thursday to Saturday. The Opera metro station is the closest to the San Miguel market. It is served by lines 2, 5 and R. Bus lines 3, 31, 50 and 65 brings you closer too.

More information can be obtained on the official page in English here: Mercado de San Miguel

And the tourist office of Madrid: Tourist office of Madrid on San Miguel

However, there are others, and some of better value and with history too. The decade of the 1870’s when the city Council began to build covered markets, of which at the end of the century there were already four, all with iron structure. These were the markets of the Mostenses (built in 1875), Cebada (1875), Chamberí (1876) and La Paz (1882). Despite the construction of these new markets, there was still not enough to meet the demand for a growing city, so there continued to be open-air markets in public squares. Madrid has a total of 46 municipal markets and others of private ownership.  Of course, I am not in my wildest dream going to tell you all, too many and long….but will tell you briefly the ones my family and my relatives now living there do go often over the years.

As said, some of my favorites are:

The Mercado de la Cebada. It is one of the largest supply markets in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de la Cebada (Barley) at no 15, in the neighborhood of La Latina. Works began in the year 1868, and ended in 1875, later it was renewed in 1958 and again in the 2009. The current market has two commercial-use levels with an area of more than 6000 square meters. The two levels are added another level  that makes for a warehouse and  parking underground (392spaces).  More here: Mercado de la Cebada

Madrid

The Mercado de San Antón. It is a supply market located in the neighborhood of Chueca in Madrid. The first building was built in 1945. In the first decade of the 21C the renovation takes place, for this the old building is demolished in 2007, and one is built with new market and restauration services five years later. The name is given due to the Parroquia de San Antón (parish Church). The building is divided into three main floors and completes its offer with a small supermarket Supercor and two basements of automated  parking.  The first floor is dedicated to the sale of perishable products and is divided into twelve traditional market stalls. The second one allows the tasting in its eleven stands and also, cultural activity, since it enjoys a large multifunctional space. On the third floor is located the restaurant and the big terrace of the market, with a view of  the roofstops of the district of Chueca. More here: Mercado de San Anton

The Mercado de Antón Martín (officially, Mercado Municipal de Antón Martín). It is a supply market located in the center of Madrid,  between  Calle Atocha  (next to the parish of San Salvador and San Nicolás) and the Calle de Santa Isabel (next to the cinema Doré). Close to the Plaza de Antón Martín. The market became a covered supply square, which includes a passage between Calle Atocha and Calle de Santa Isabel (Pasaje Doré, by the cinema Doré today linked to the Spanish film library). The project was executed after the Spanish Civil War and was inaugurated in 1941. The 1950s,it was remodeled  the area to built the building that is currently shown. The building has three floors, in the first two are dealt almost half a hundred different sales posts: fishmongers, bakeries, butchers, etc. Being the third dedicated to private activities, the exits of the building goes into the Calle de  Santa Isabel and the Doré passageway. Some of the market stalls are distributed along Calle de Santa Isabel. More here: Mercado de Anton Martin

The Mercado Municipal de Chamberí is located in the district of Chamberí. The market dates from 1876, but after a deep reform was inaugurated in 1943. It has a rectangular plant in a single dimension, in which fifty food stands are distributed. During the celebrations of the Virgin of Carmen celebrated in the neighborhood, the market carries out days of open doors with tasting of typical products of the region.  Smaller but quaint and part of the history of the neighborhood. More here: Mercado de Chamberi

The Mercado de Maravillas.  It is a market located in Calle Bravo Murillo,122. In 1942 the market is inaugurated. It was intended to be in the 1950s one of the largest in the city. It was built on the site that left the school of Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of the Wonders) after the fire that suffered in 1931 in the neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos. The market finished  in the post civil-war period has an area of 8700 square meters and more than 250 stands. It is done in the  Rationalist architectural style. At the beginning of the 21C it is one of Tetuan’s district largest markets. It is a building built on two floors; the ground floor dedicated to the collection and service inside the market, while the second is dedicated to the commercial area. The commercial plant is located at 2 meters of elevation on the main entrance in the Calle Bravo Murillo. The main facade in the Calle Bravo Murillo is of brick seen placed with barebone no cement, with an important canopy in cantilever of reinforced concrete, and the ground floor arcaded with pillars veneered with crystal grey granite. It stands out the large built area of the building of approximately 20,000 m2, of which almost half, 8.800 m2, are dedicated to commercial use and on a single floor.  On the first floor the pillars are steel.  The Sierra tooth-shaped roof, with glazed windows facing north, is highlighted, so that the zenith light gives a unique atmosphere to the interior of the big commercial building. More here: Mercado de Maravillas

The Mercado de San Ildefonso . It is a favorite among residents and frequenters of Malasaña and Chueca district, due to its location on Calle de Fuencarral, right between the two neighborhoods. The market is situated just a few meters from the site of the first covered wholesale food market in Madrid, which was demolished in 1970. The stalls mainly offer ready-made dishes, although they also sell raw ingredients which you can take home or ask to be cooked for you there and then. The food can be eaten at the stalls themselves or, if you fancy a stroll in the sun, you can take it with you.  A strategic stop for neighbors, tourists and regulars between Malasaña, Chueca and Tribunal. The Mercado de San Ildefonso distributes its spaces in three differentiated levels where we find different provisions and possibilities. Complementing the gastronomic stands with three bars, one for each floor, the market also has two terraces, both half covered and perfect to enjoy the outdoor facilities. More here: Mercado de San Ildefonso

The Mercado de Las Ventas (we lived not far but it was not built yet!, we came as visitors!) . It was built in 1995 to replace the old Canillas (quill) Market, founded in the 1940s. Located in front of the bullring of Monumental de Las Ventas. The market has a renowned reputation for the excellent value for money offered to the buyer. A special highlight is the wide range of fresh products of high demand, mainly fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Among the novelties that it presents with respect to other markets is a gastronomic project through which one will be able to taste the most recognized dishes of all the kitchens of the world thanks to several stands specialized in international cuisine, healthy food and a wine bar with numerous wines with denomination of origin.  Currently has 100 commercial stands spread over two floors of more than 2,000 m2, and the market is equipped with underground parking, banks ATMs and total accessibility (impaired mobility folks) to its facilities. All this, completely refurbished and adapted to its two major projects. One of them, a gymnasium  DreamFit of 4,500 m2 facilities, and a supermarket Ahorramas, opened in December 2016. More here: Mercado de Las Ventas

There you go, wonderful places, should see as much as you can. It will give you not only the thrill of Spanish foods and drinks but the real feel of the local people and their colorful ways of mingling with the crowds even if there is a language barrier. We do appreciate a Hola, or Vale or Muy Bueno ::) or Buen Provecho = bon appétit.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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3 Comments to “The Mercados , Markets of Madrid!”

  1. There is a very special feeling about going to a market, far more enjoyable than supermarkets. I never went to the ones in Madrid, but I loved the ones in La Coruña and Palamós and, of course, all over France, the best ones being St-Rémy-de-Provence and Aix-en-Provence. I did go the the Rastro, though: fascinating!


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