Mercado de San Antón in Madrid, Spain

by JudithG

By Judith Glynn Chueca is a vibrant, landmark close to Gran Via in Madrid. Its trendy marketplace has levels of food shops topped off with rooftop restaurants and a bar.

Sticking to a Spanish tradition that markets are the main square of a neighborhood, it took five years and 15 million euros to accomplish the transformation of Madrid's Mercado de San Antón into a 21st century local marketplace several years ago. Also accomplished by the architects, themselves residents of the colorful Chueca neighborhood, was the integration of tradition with modern and ecologically-driven design.

This is the second transformation in Madrid to revitalize run-down markets into modern structures for locals and tourists alike. It will undoubtedly give the Mercado de San Miguel, located near the Plaza Mayor, strong competition.

Marketplace Layout

This marketplace has a large skylight that streams sun into the gleaming and open interior comprising of three distinctly different food encounters.The first level of 12 stalls sell meat, cheese, seafood, fruit, flowers, pastries and other items, some precooked.

Level two is 11 stalls of prepared foods. Public seating on this level is corrala style, which intentionally replicates a Spanish patio for people watching.

The third level has two restaurants and a long terrace for enjoying drinks. Additionally, a standard supermarket is below ground level, plus a parking garage holds 80 cars with hook-ups for electric-powered vehicles. Adding to the user-friendly atmosphere here is free wifi and air conditioning throughout.

Inside San Anton Marketplace
Inside San Anton Marketplace
Judith Glynn
Bocadillo de Jamon
Bocadillo de Jamon
Judith Glynn

What to Eat and Do on Level Two

Nibble your way from stall to stall. It's where Spain's renowned tapas menu meets Madrid chic dining on the run. It's also less intimidating here, especially for non-Spanish speakers, to see the dishes, the prices and point to choose. Food stalls are by non-competing products such as sushi, Greek, Italian, foie gras, juice, pastry, etc.

Prices are excellent and approximate in this article. Combine three tapas-size dishes of pasta such as Risotto al Funghi Porcini, Melanzane alla Parmigiana and Pasta Siciliana into one meal. A dish of Estofado de Toro (bull stew) costs four euros. Pollo Asado (roasted chicken) with two vegetables is 4.90 euros. Two oysters cost 1.50 euros, topped off with 2.50 euros for a glass of white wine.

Also located on Level Two and behind a glass wall is a large exhibition space. Exhibitions currently planned include book events, culinary tastings and workshops.

Duckburgers at San Anton Market
Duckburgers at San Anton Market
Judith Glynn
Small Servings of Bull Stew
Small Servings of Bull Stew
Judith Glynn

What to Eat on Level Three

La Cocina de San Antón on the third level has two restaurants.  One innovation there is that raw food can be purchased in the marketplace and then be prepared on site.

The staff advises the best way to cook the meat or fish. Be sure to alert the food clerk that your purchase is going upstairs. Also available is a terrific and inexpensive menu del dia (three courses).

The lounge terrace has roof-top views of Madrid and busy Chueca streets below. It's definitely the place to see and be seen.

If You Go

Mercado de San Antón is located between Calle Augusto Figueroa and Calle de Barbieri. Closest Metro is Chueca, steps from the market, in the vicinity of Gran Via. For information about Madrid tourism information in general, contact the Madrid Tourism office. Numerous airlines service Madrid, a city with accommodations for all budgets. 

Updated: 11/24/2013, JudithG
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JudithG on 07/07/2013

I'm a FOS -- Friend of Spain. Spent a lot of time there. This place is terrific for nibbling.

ologsinquito on 07/07/2013

What a fascinating place and what great photos. It looks like an incredible experience.

Mira on 06/21/2013

Next time I'm in Madrid . . . :)
Thank you for sharing!

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