The idea of a ‘gastromarket’ is already familiar in Europe. A good example is London’s Borough Market, famous for its ecological and crafts products. In Madrid, San Miguel, San Antón and the Isabela markets (scheduled to open in spring 2012) have become favourite venues for culinary connoisseurs.
With the exception of Isabela market, the others are old markets that have been refurbished to accommodate space for presentations and culinary events (such as the "best restaurants" award by Metrópolo magazine, and demonstrations of so-called ‘Madrid Fusión’ cuisine). They have also become popular locations at which to sample select products.
MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL
Built between 1913 and 1916, San Miguel Market is reminiscent of Paris’ Las Halles market and in general of European markets built from iron. Some of the highlights amongst the market’s stands are:
Pinkleton & Wine
This winery offers wines for sale and tasting, with expert assistance from staff. They stock almost all of Spain's ‘denominaciones de origin’ wines. They specialize in offering special and rare labels by the glass as well as by the bottle.
Daniel Sorlut's 'Special Oysters' at Mercado de San Miguel
This minute stand is managed by Daniel Sorlut, one of France’s most important oyster producers. You can enjoy a serving of the prized mollusc accompanied by a glass of champagne. This is one of San Miguel’s most popular venues, and you will always find a crowd, whatever the time of day. The menu offers three types of oysters, all of excellent quality, and described as “Intense sea flavour,” “Nutty nuances,” “Sweet taste.” They are served with lemon, though connoisseurs prefer them au naturel. LUXOS recommends the ‘Daniel Sorlut special oysters’ of incredible size, which require three years of expert care to bring them to highest quality.
La Fromagerie de Madrid
This cheese shop owned by Frenchman Philippe Olivier presents an extensive selection of cheeses from France and Spain. You will also find more unusual cheese varieties from around the world, such as the Italian truffled pecorino. You can also enjoy tapas based on their many types of cheese.
In this exclusive shop you can taste various qualities of this quintessentially luxury food, accompanied by chilled vodka.
This Japanese stand presents an assortment of Sushi, Maki and the more elaborate salmon Temaki. The Japanese beer Kirin provides the perfect beverage to pair with it.
image by Laura Tomàs Avellana
San Antón market was built in 1945, and it has recently closed for some years due to structural problems. After extensive restoration work, the market has risen from the ashes, and it now has a completely renewed appearance. With an innovative structure in wood, steel and glass combined to perfection and three highly attractive floors, this market is in a modern and welcoming setting. Each stand has its own ‘show-cooking’ area, so explore and enjoy.
La Alacena Victor Montés
By far the best location to enjoy an aperitif, and sample exquisite dishes of superb quality. Its bar is not to be underestimated, with creations that are perfectly tailored for discerning palates. LUXOS recommends: Broad beans with foie gras and free range eggs with olive bread. Do not miss the world famous croquetas!
Here you will find fresh natural products, including lots of fruit, in an attractive and original range of healthy tapas that change every season. Savour natural juices in different formats, new flavours and combinations. Try their salads, sandwiches, pastries or their fruit snacks.
Savour Greek cuisine at its best. You will find traditional and sophisticated dishes, including many unfamiliar specialities. highlights include Tzatziki (yoghurt cream with cucumber and hierbabuena), an excellent Hummus, and Melitzana, all great as starters.
You can also find classics such as Dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice), the fantastic vegetarian or veal Moussaka, authentic beef skewers, and chicken meatballs with dried fruits.
Puturrú de Foie
Puturrú de Foie is synonymous with culinary excellence. It has become an international benchmark for pintxos, made from duck and goose, with creative wine pairings. Foie is ideally accompanied by Muscat and other white wines from Navarra. We recommend tasting the grilled Extra Fresh Foie with Añana sea salt, though other unmissables include the foie croquettes, mushroom risotto with foie or micuit stuffed piquillo peppers. Service is always impeccable which makes this a unique and exquisite culinary location.
Marisquería Sabores del Mar
At this seafood shop, you can enjoy most delicious dishes and skewers made using freshest seafood. Stop by and enjoy an exquisite aperitif with a glass of champagne or Albariño, and choose from a variety of French or Galician oysters. Also recommended are their superb rice dishes, their famous tuna tartare with Wassabi sauce, and the traditional Galician-style octopus.
La Cocina de San Antón
One of the highlights at San Antón is the impressive terrace lounge of the restaurant, located on the third floor, which offers a romantic view of Madrid’s rooftops. The restaurant offers “market cuisine” based on fresh seasonal products. It is a type of fusion cuisine that combines Mediterranean products with Asian culinary principles. In addition, La Cocina de San Antón offers a new idea, cooking products that you choose at any of the market stalls. They'll cook it exactly how you want it.
This new market located in Paseo de la Habana will open in spring 2012. It is a sleek building with a screen façade, and carefully designed interiors in wood, steel and glass. The architecture is an innovative combination of tradition and modernism. The total floor space of 3,000 square metres on four floors includes a wide variety of sweet and savoury gourmet products, jamones ibéricos, an exquisite selection of cheeses, breads, wines, chocolates, preserves, and classic and novel tapas. On each floor, there is a terrace on which you can enjoy the exquisite foods under Madrid’s blue sky. The space is subdivided by floor, with, on the ground floor, breakfast cafes, chocolates and desserts; on the first floor, tapas bar, beers and wines; and on the second floor, alta cocina prepared by Hotel Urban’s Michelin-star chef Joaquín Felipe.
Read more: Madrid's gastronomic markets: part two