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Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 | 65 comments

Mercado San Miguel in Madrid

I am back from a 17 days trip to Spain.  That is why I have been really quiet during the past weeks.  The good thing is that I have tons of stories to share now.  Thanks for your patience!


I knew I was going to like Spain but I was not expecting to be blown away only a few hours after landing in Madrid.

Since we were staying in the Centro, we started our exploration of the city around this neighborhood. After checking out Plaza Sol and the Plaza Mayor, we stumbled upon the Mercado San Miguel.

This particular place was on my “do not miss” list.  The place was packed when we arrived since, without knowing it, we arrived in Madrid during a holiday weekend.

Well, we weren’t deterred by the amount of people and ended up entering.  It didn’t take long to be enchanted by the hanging ham legs, the fresh seafood, the colorful tapas and the mouth watering pastries.  Plus, everybody was having a blast.  We had to join in one way or another.

This is the only iron market that has survived till these days.  It started as an open air market but coverage was commissioned in 1911 and finished in 1916.

Nowadays, it is full of entrepreneurs aiming to provide only the finest offerings to the public.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Here are some reasons why this place holds a quite large place in our hearts.

Carrasco Guijuelo

This stall is run by a family that had been in the Iberic ham business for more than 120 years.  Expect to get high quality hams, sausages and cold meats from them.  They sell bellota Iberic ham (where the pigs are feed only acorns) by the kilo (in a paper cone).  In addition, they sell a wide assortment of bocadillos (sandwiches made with crusty bread, ham and other cold meats).


Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

La Casa del Bacalao (Codfish House)

You cannot imagine how exhilarated I was about this.  In Puerto Rico (and in other places in the Caribbean), codfish plays a big role on the cuisine.  I have not tried a proper codfish dish in years. In this stall, they serve stewed codfish, pickled herring, smoked salmon, octopus, bonito (tuna) and other seafood over a toasted piece of bread.  Each little tapa costs only one Euro.  We ate here every time we visited the Mercado.  My favorite tapa was the cod topped with honey.  My husband preferred the herring with dill mustard.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

La Hora del Vermut

This business specializes in vermut (or vermouth, a fortified wine flavored with various botanicals).  This type of wine is very popular in Spain and people tend to drink it in a social environment.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

But, to be honest, that is not the reason why this place impressed me.  They also own an olive stall in the market.  Now, this is not your typical stall where different variations of olives are sold by the kilo.  In here, they combine the olives with tons of other ingredients. There are so many variations that you cannot keep count of all they have.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

They prepare little skewers (banderillas) of olives with ham, cheese, octopus, sundried tomatoes, cocktails onions, red peppers, chilies, anchovies, quail eggs and more.  In addition, you can get stuffed artichoke hearts, dates filled with blue cheese and olives marinated in different sauces.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Looks like La Hora del Vermut also owns the dried fruits and nuts stall in the market.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Galician Seafood

I can’t believe I forgot the name of my favorite stall in the market!  All I know is that this place has a huge array of seafood and shells brought to the capital from the Cantabrian Sea.  The signs hanging over the fridges full of colorful delicacies said everything was prepared Galician style.



This is another place we hit every time we stopped by the market. We tried to taste something different (or new) during each visit.

We had the boquerones (white anchovies in vinegar and oil).

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

… and the razor clams

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

…  and Pulpo Gallego (Galician style octopus)


Oh! And how to miss the Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shimp).  All was a pure delight!

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Ostras Daniel Sorlut

This business specializes in high quality oysters.  They also serve caviar and champagne.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

El Senor Martin

This is another surprising stall (at least for me).  The variety of crustaceans and fish is outstanding. In here, I saw things I have never seen before: carabineros (big prawns with red shells), cigalas (Dublin Bay or Norway prawns), rape (monkfish), percebes (barnacles) and others.  In addition, they have available fresh octopus, sea urchin, tuna and razor clams.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

If you want to taste something , they serve fried boquerones, squid rings, squid legs or prawns in a cone.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mya Valdalos

This is the cheese stall of the market.  It offers the visitor national and international cheeses from big and artisan producers.  Pick something from the different tapas available or create your own cheese plate.  We asked the lady attending the stall to select for us a plate consisting of Spanish cheeses.  You can ask for the same, chose cheeses from another country or mix cheeses from different countries.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Que Bonito es Panama

This big business with ample counter space serves all sorts of drinks and cold tapas.  We were attracted to it because of the hot plates that are prepared at the moment.  We ordered the grilled sepia (cuttlefish) and we cannot stop dreaming about the dish.  It was perfect because of its simplicity!

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain


To me, this was one of the most creative stalls in the Mercado. All their tapas are made with burrata, ricotta or mozzarella.  They use milk from Spanish cows to create their products.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Alevin Cocina Creativa

This stall specializes in gulas, which for what I have read, are an imitation of angulas (baby eels).  Turns out real angulas can be really expensive.  That is why certain business recreate the product using white fish and the surimi technique (same technique used to obtain imitation crab).

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

The gulas are seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic or olive oil and served over bread or on a plate.

Horno San Onofre

This bakery is a sweet’s lover paradise.  It is impossible to describe everything they offer but I will say they have a big selection of cookies, tarts, meringues, pastries, macarons, éclairs and traditional Spanish sweets. Honestly, I wouldn’t leave the Mercado without trying something from here!

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Café del Art

This is the coffee shop of the market.  They serve traditional drinks as well as innovative coffee related products.  In the stall, you can also find pastries and the famous pasteis de nata.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

La Flor de San Miguel

Here you can find fresh produce.  Look out for the exotic fruits, juices and cup filled with fruit pieces.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

Carro de Caviar

This little cart serves caviar or fish roe over bread (tapas style) or blinis.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain


This stall is a spin off a restaurant with a history of over 170 years (one of the oldest in Madrid).  In here, you will find dishes native to Madrid and other places in Spain. Their selection is wide and varied.  Therefore, it presents a good opportunity to taste Spain in one place.


Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain

The Sherry Corner

Offer an opportunity to taste different types of sherry.  They served the tastings on a tray (easy to move around the market).

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain


This establishment offers a selection or gourmet ingredients and ready-to-eat offerings.

In here you can find, pastas, truffles, capers, pancetta, oil, spices and parmesan cheese.  If you are hungry, you can select between pizza, turnovers, bocadillos or soup.  They can heat your selection if you want.

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid, Spain


  • The Mercado San Miguel is located at the Plaza San Miguel (next to the Plaza Mayor).
  • What I have presented here is only a sample of the stalls located in the market.  They also offer paella, yogurt, pizza, sushi and more.
  • The market can get really busy during lunch hours.  When I say busy, I mean packed.  It is not even possible to walk around the halls or order without competing with 20 people.  Go early or late to enjoy a more serene ambience.
  • Keep one of your purchase receipts if you want to use the restroom free of charge.
  • The eating area is very small.  Prepare to eat while standing.
  • The market is open 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Sundays to Wednesdays and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Thursdays to Sundays.
  • Find more information about Mercado San Miguel here:

What would you like to try at this market?

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What to try at the Mercado San Miguel, one of the best markets in Madrid, Spain.



  1. Dios mio! Too much good food to see (and you tasted). I will have to find a way to go back to Madrid and find this market.
    Photo Cache recently posted..People WatchingMy Profile

    • The place was insane! I wanted to keep visiting and visiting. I already miss the variety and treats.

  2. Oh my goodness – this food market is amazing! It looks like you could get lost in there all day. I have been going to a Spanish Tapas cooking class this past 3 Monday’s, so your post has been a feast for the eyes to me. Have a great week. I will look forward to seeing more of Spain through your blog. It has been great to meet you through “Imag-in-ing”
    Life Images by Jill recently posted..Camping in the Dryandra Woodland, Western Australian wheatbeltMy Profile

  3. The Mercado San Miguel looks amazing! So much choice, but yes, I would definitely want to visit while quieter. Everything looks tasty – except maybe the imitation baby eels!
    Karen @ Pieces of Contentment recently posted..Around TownMy Profile

    • I am a fan of market. I will keep in mind the one your mentioned in Philadelphia. The good was delicious! I visited each day I was in Madrid. I liked it ’cause you weren’t restricted to one things or style.

    • Madrid is a great city. You would love it. It has an incredible arts scene, amazing food and friendly locals. It delivers what you expect (or more!).

  4. Wow, I can understand why this place was a must see! I would like to eat there too, it would be a hard decision on what to eat though.There is so much food to pick from. Wonderful post and photos. Thanks for sharing your trip! Enjoy your day!
    Eileen recently posted..Hoh Rainforest, Olympic Nat’l ParkMy Profile

    • Yes, it is hard to pick. I think that is why I kept going, to try different things. But, you can always go with friends, order several things and share.

    • The market was reopened about 6 years ago (after a renovation). Maybe it wasn’t open when you visited. Twelve years ago, I visited Madrid for the first time. Of course, the market wasn’t there (at least, in its current splendor).

    • Agree! Thanks for stopping by.

    • This place was in all the lists I read about top markets in Madrid. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be that awesome. I think that is one of the reasons I travel: to be surprised.

    • Thanks Lyndall. I hope I can stumble upon other similar places in the future.

  5. Oh my goodness! You just had me drooling over your page and running to my fridge to cut off a bit chunk of cheese! I have never seen such a delectable array of foods in one place. You must have thought you had died and gone to “food heaven”! Love all the varieties of olives.
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Feet on My Hometown: Burleigh HeadsMy Profile

    • Kathy, your description is a pretty accurate account of how I reacted. There was so much stuff to eat. I wanted to try everything.

  6. Ok I’d probably have ditched everything else and just spent my 17 days here eating my way around all the stalls.YUM! Looking forward to reading all about your trip.
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted..Wanderlust Animal EncountersMy Profile

    • The good thing is that all the cities we visited have their own markets. So, each stop was an opportunity to have great food and have a taste of the local specialties.

  7. OMG, those TAPAS! I want to eat them all!! Spain is a place I’ve been wanting to visit for the longest time ever – mainly for the Gaudi buildings. But all those food, I think I am going to LOVE Spain when I go there. Just not sure when. What’s up with the grumpy gingerbread men though. #TravelTuesday
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted..{Travel Tuesday #18} Tokyo Kids-Friendly Attractions (By Region)My Profile

    • I think you are going to love Spain. If you love food, this is the place to be. I do not know what was going with the grumpy gingerbread men but I though they were cute.

    • Corinne, have you been to Bilbao before? If not, you are going to love the city. There is plenty to eat and do. I was actually surprised by Bilbao and the Basque Country. I wasn’t expecting it to like it that much.

    • Jan, great to know you have visited the Mercado.. What you had when you visited?

  8. Wow Ruth, so much deliciousness in one post! What beautiful photos, now I am hungry. That cafe looks amazing and all that cheese! Thank you for sharing, have a wonderful weekend 🙂
    Angie Rose recently posted..Finding Treasures At Todd Farm AntiquesMy Profile

    • Angie, it was a great experience. We did cheese tasting and everything we tried was delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Wow – what a fantastic gastronomic experience. I spent a couple of days in Madrid, but did not visit Mercado San Miguel — my loss! It looks amazing. I think I’ll be getting my share of codfish in Portugal next month. I hear it’s very popular there, too. Madrid is wonderful and I want to return – next time I’ll go to market.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..There’s No Place Like Rome: Instagram HighlightsMy Profile

    • Hope you can get back to Madrid soon. I want to go back soon. I visited several mercados but this one was the best. I am sure you are going to find great codfish dishes in Portugal.

  10. OMG awesome!!!! So many cool sights, and such yummy looking food! Your posts always make me hungry for something other than veggie burritos, which is my go to breakfast lunch and dinner. 😉

    Glad you’re back, and happy to hear you had such an awesome trip!
    Kelly Del Valle recently posted..Hiking Adventure || The Vandal CavesMy Profile

    • Hi Kelly, it is good to be back. You know a lot of times I am going to have something yummy in the blog. So, better to visit with a full stomach. Ha, ha!

    • Yes, you do! Spain is great.

    • I guess it feels good to remember the Mercado. We are know following it on social media so we can see all the food photos.
      Ruth recently posted..Mercado San Miguel in MadridMy Profile

  11. Welcome back, Ruth! Wow..that’s quite a trip to Spain. Can’t wait to read the stories. I love love Mercado de San Miguel. We ate there everyday during our two visits to Madrid. It’s such a great place and all of your delicious looking photos brought back such wonderful memories. Our whole family especially loved Horno San Onofre. I still dream of their pastries!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Strolling through Boston Common and the Public GardenMy Profile

  12. What lovely photos! I’ve missed you, but if this is what we get when you go away, then it was worth it! I cannot wait to see the rest of your photos.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Photo Friday gain this week! We’re so happy to have you back!
    Jen recently posted..Photo Friday – Western Australia Wildflowers via PurfylleMy Profile

    • Hey Jen! I had plans to continue my online activities while on the trip. But, you have no idea of how tired I was after sightseeing and walking around. Some days, we were walking 10 to 12 miles a day. Plus, the WiFi in some hotels were not that good and I had no energy to fight that. Glad to be able to share my experience.

    • Thanks Stella! Those are good choices. The cheese was excellent in here.

  13. I was blown away by Spain too, Ruth. I visited Madrid some years ago and your post about Mercado San Miguel reminded me a lot about that trip. I visited the market and I remember drooling over everything there. Great pictures!

    • Thanks Anda! Food in Spain is so good. There are some restaurants here in Southern California but nothing compares to the real thing. I was impressed with Madrid’s food scene.

  14. Looks like you’ve been having a wonderful time, the food looks so yummy! Madrid is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it, especially the food. I think I could spend all day just wandering around and trying things. – Tasha
    Natasha recently posted..Eyes On The SkyMy Profile

    • Tasha, our last day of the trip was spent in Madrid. Like you mentioned, we took it easy and walk around eating some good food. I was the perfect end to an amazing trip.

    • I wish the same thing. Recently, a new commercial development was opened close to where I live. I went to take a look and nothing looked out of the ordinary in terms of food. I don’t know why they do not open a market / food hall concept. That will be more appealing to the locals.

    • It is so great. I understand why you keep reading about it.

    • Thanks Tara! Do not take this market from your list. You will like it for sure.

  15. My mouth is watering looking at all your photos and reading the descriptions. This mercado must be enormous. I need to remind myself to show up very, very hungry as I don’t know if I could limit myself to just a few of these delights.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Someday, I will visit BudapestMy Profile

    • I would say the market is big enough. It is not as big as other markets I visited in Spain. However, since this one is a bit smaller, it is easy to navigate. It is a great place and I think it should be visited if you are in the city.

  16. A great write up of all the stalls – it’s such a fantastic place isn’t it? I was happy to spend all day here sampling all the delights. Thanks for bringing back good memories and for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted..Holiday Snapshots #40 Hurghada, EgyptMy Profile

  17. Hi Ruth, and welcome back! I spent quite a bit of time at the Mercado San Miguel when I was in Madrid. Loved it! I couldn’t get enough of the different cheeses and olives. I loved the sherry corner, and there was also a lovely wine bar that I frequented. It definitely is popular place in Madrid. Anytime I went in it was busy.
    Nancie recently posted..Canada: Three Nova Scotia Comfort FoodsMy Profile

    • Great to hear you have been! Yeah! We couldn’t get enough either. That is why we went every day we were in Madrid. We found it not too crowded early morning and late night.
      Ruth recently posted..Strolling Around Madrid CentroMy Profile

  18. Welcome back, can’t wait to hear all your stories 😀 I’ve been to Spain four times, but haven’t made it to Madrid yet, but that’s where my next trip to Spain will be. I’d like to visit this market, because I love the one in Barcelona. 🙂
    Vlad recently posted..Through My Lens: Wandering In MalmoMy Profile

    • Vlad, yes, you have to visit Madrid. It is very different form Barcelona. Sometimes, I wish I could move to Europe. It will be great to travel all around.

  19. Oh my goodness what an amazing place!! Your photos made everything looks so delicious! I’ve never been to a food market quite like that, but I know I would want to try everything!! Definitely a must see place when in Madrid! Thanks for sharing!
    Nancie Lee recently posted..Hanging Around Chloride Ghost TownMy Profile

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