With a fresh makeover in the past 15 years, the Mercado de San Antón in the Chueca neighborhood of Madrid is a hot spot for fresh ingredients, regional and international specialties and a great place for locals, expats and tourists to hang out and socialize over drinks.
Check out this quick tour through the market today:
First Floor: The Market Stalls at the Mercado de San Antón
At the bottom floor of the Mercado de San Antón you will find your average supermarket chain Supercor. The magic happens, however, when you venture up to the first floor, where there are market stalls, selling raw ingredients such as fresh produce, meats, cheeses, fish, and baked goods as well as some prepared foods and drinks such as handmade hamburgers or a wine bar.
Many of these stations, such as La Charcutería de Octavio, (roughly Octavio’s Butcher Shop) have been around since the beginnings of the market over 50 years ago. With the renovations in the early 2000s, they have adapted to modern tastes while still providing the traditional favorites such as Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham).
The raw ingredients from the market are a bit more expensive than you would find in the typical supermarket chains, but the few times I did buy things there, I could definitely tell the difference in terms of quality and freshness. Definitely worth the extra costs if you can afford it!
Second Floor: Restaurant and Bar Stands
On the second floor of the Mercado de San Antón (restaurant zone) you will find many more prepared food options in a huge variety- anything from traditional Spanish to Japanese to Italian to ice cream. Each stand has their own seating area, typically high bar stools. The upstairs area is usually very crowded during the after work and weekend hours, but I never had to wait to find a place to sit. Most food options come in tapas form, which is perfect for socializing (something the Spanish are absolute experts at!).
Top Floor: Rooftop Restaurant “La Cocina de San Anton”
For a splurge, check out the rooftop restaurant entitled La Cocina de San Antón (The Cuisine of San Antón). This is the perfect place to showcase the delicious, fresh and seasonal ingredients you can purchase on the lower floor, which is exactly what they do! There is an indoor dining area, where you can taste a variety of dishes from cheese plates to salads to meat plates served in both a traditional Madrileño and international style.
You can also bring products purchased at the market below and they will cook it to your liking! What a cool concept!!
As well, you can venture to the rooftop during a nice day (Madrid has over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year) for a refreshing drink (popular is the gin tonic) with a great view of the neighborhood below. This area is especially busy in the evenings, so get there early if you want a good spot!