Al fresco à la carte in central Madrid
The newly renovated Mercado de San Miguel is a beaux arts masterpiece housing an amazing assortment of Spanish food and drink. Inside the iron and glass market, 33 vendors vie for the attention of your taste buds, so grab some cash from the ATMs across the street and head in. Wander around first, to see what catches your eye. Paella? Manchego? Jamon? Champagne and oysters? Make your choices
after seeing all that’s offered. Then rehearse your basic Spanish, head up to the counter, place your order, pay and collect your food.
After making all of your stops (you want something to drink, right?), it’s time to dig in. There are tables and chairs in the center and along the wall. Seating is very limited, and during peak times it is non-existent. It is best to go after the breakfast but before the lunch crowd arrives. An added bonus for the traveler is that most of the food is portable. Stop here in the afternoon to grab a picnic supper or a lunch for tomorrow’s flight home.
Know Before You Go
The market is open Monday through Friday from 5:30am to 8:30pm and Saturday from 9:30am to 2pm. It is closed on Sundays along with everything else in Spain. The market can be crowded, so try to avoid going there when the work crowd is eating breakfast or lunch. If there are no seats available, grab your food and head to Plaza Mayor.
This is worth at least one of your meals in Madrid. There is something for everyone and it is all delicious.