The historic Mercado de San Miguel, just off Plaza Mayor, has become one of the liveliest culinary spots in the city since it reopened in 2009 after a nearly six-year restoration. Prices are higher than Madrid’s more traditional markets, but neither the atmosphere nor the food at the market’s 30+ stalls disappoints.
In fact, along with a fish stall, there is only one bank of fruit and vegetables, both with very inflated prices. The rest of the market is occupied by bars, which serve drinks and tapas, and the market still has a small central area where you can sit (at less busy times inside the market).
A stroll through the Mercado de San Miguel means listening to countless different languages and people from all over the world, celebrating the cuisine of all regions of Spain. The program on the market is eating, and almost all bars and counters serve ready-made meals, including tapas and desserts.
The wrought-iron-and-glass Mercado de San Miguel is a real work of art. It was a local market, opened in 1916, after almost 80 years of planning and construction! It is one of the few modernist iron structures still to be seen in Madrid, along with the Atocha and Delicias train stations.
The market has not always been as prosperous as it is today. In the 1980s, the old San Miguel Market was going through a period of decay. People had changed their consumption habits and the city did doubt about its function as food market. After almost closing its doors in the last decade of the twentieth century, it was bought by a group of investors.
In 2009, privatized and renovated, the market reopened as a gastronomic center.
I recommend you to visit the the market during the week and before dinner time, when it’s quieter. But if the crowds don’t bother you, try going too during the weekend.
The Mercado de San Miguel is very lively place both day and night, and can be very crowded depending especially on weekends. So be particularly careful with your belongings! There can be pickpockets in the market, and they take advantage if you get distracted. To avoid getting robbed, have a loot at this advice on street safety.
The Mercado de San Miguel is in Plaza de San Miguel next to the Plaza Mayor, in the heart of Madrid.
The market hours are:
Check updated information on the official website of the market.
You can see the Mercado de San Miguel if you follow walk 1 of my ‘Madrid In 9 Walks’ guide.