Walking from Plaza Mayor toward Plaza de Ville on Calle Mayor in Madrid, I passed Mercado de San Miguel. It appeared to be a very popular grocery market. People were streaming in and out so fast, the door almost looked to be revolving. So, I had to stop in to see what all the hoo-ha was about.
Mercado de San Miguel is one of the oldest covered markets in Madrid. It was recently refurbished with an iron and glass facade and a beautifully soaring wood and iron roof. The 33 vendors inside offer everything from fruits and cheese (more than 100 varieties) to fish and fresh pastas. But, probably the most unique aspect of this market are the mini-restaurants--places to sit, drink and eat. Shoppers, tourists, businessmen and women alike were ordering bocadillos (sandwiches), desserts, tapas, beer and even wine.
Some shoppers were purchasing foods to cook at home -- whole chickens, beautiful cuts of meat and fresh breads. While others were there to eat lunch or catch up with friends over a tapa and glass of wine. I was most amazed to find an oyster bar, a wine bar and a cava (champagne) bar.
After wandering around for nearly half an hour taking it all in, I decided to join in the "locals" way. I ordered a glass of champagne and strolled over to the cheese stall (yes, you can take your beverage with you) where I picked up an assortment of six cheeses. While sipping and nibbling, I continued to the stall next door for Jamon Iberico. Finishing my aperitivo (snack) and craving more, I visited the wine bar for a fabulous glass of rioja (red wine). With glass in hand, I made my way through the stalls for hot tapas and bocadillos. It was a fantastic lunch and a whole lot of fun!
Mercado de San Miguel is open Sunday-Wednesday from 10 AM to 10 PM; Thursday-Saturday from 10 AM to 2 AM.