Madrid: Mercado de San Miguel

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Mercado de San Miguel _

Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel is a wonderland for people who love food and wine.  Frank and I strolled through this bright, glass-enclosed mecca of food and drink on our first day in Madrid at which point I vowed to make many return trips during our three weeks in Spain.  Mission accomplished.  We stopped for a quick bite or to pick up a few things for dinner countless times.  It helps that it’s right in the middle of all the action in old town Madrid.


Mercado de San Miguel appeared to be full of people having a glorious time at every hour of every day.  We would get there early, long before a typical Spanish lunch and there would still be people tucked into every corner, sipping gorgeous glasses of wine and nibbling on some of the most delicious small plates of food I had in our time in the city.

(Clara was particularly keen to help Frank order octopus.)

Mercado de San Miguel

When you arrive at the market, here’s what you do – 1) wander until you find a table 2) pounce on said table and grab any stools in the vicinity (though most likely it’s standing-room only) 3) leave an anchor-person behind to hold the table 4) grab every delicious thing you see and a glass of wine for you and the person back at the table who is likely hungry and wondering what’s taking you so long.  Repeat.

Mercado de San Miguel

Here are a few of the hits:

Things on toast.  These are the original tapas, and those I tried at Mercado de San Miguel were incredibly creative.  By far the most delicious one was a slaw that was heavily (to nearly the point of excess) dressed in an avocado mayo and topped with crispy ham and fried onions.  Frank said it tasted like an upscale version of everything good about a Big Mac.  After another bite, I couldn’t disagree.  Honorable mention goes to those shrimp over avocado and garlic aioli.

Mercado de San Miguel tapas 2

Things on skewers.  These are perfect wine-sipping nibbles.  There were at least 20 combinations of savory snacks on skewers.  The briny olives and onions with sweet sun-dried tomatoes spoke to me.

Mercado de San Miguel tapas 1

Octopus (pulpo).  With paprika.  Frank has been talking about Spanish “pulpo” since he was in Madrid last year.  It’s perfectly prepared so the texture is like a very tender steak.  It’s topped with olive oil, salt, and tons of paprika.  I ate half the plate.

Mercado de San Miguel tapas 3

And finally, this jamón.  Seriously.  There aren’t enough words to describe the buttery, deeply savory, salty goodness of this jamón.  Some of the magic I found is having it served this way, in tiny rich slices that you eat with crackers.  If I ever think of becoming a vegetarian again, the mere memory of this jamón might be enough to dissuade me.

Mercado de San Miguel tapas 4

Even after all those visits, I never got to try the burrata station where they had baseball-size burrata on toast with toppings that were all over the map from sweet to savory.  I also didn’t have my fill of croquetas, although I ate many.  

All the more reason to go back.

Mercado de San Miguel

If you’re going to be in Madrid, more information on Mercado de San Miguel can be found at

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. Love your blog. We are from Ireland, one coeliac, one not. I am just researching places to eat when we get to Madrid this weekend and came across your blog. Can’t wait to get to the Mercado, it sounds fab.

    1. You’ll love it, Susan, and tons of options for all diets. I think you’ll both be charmed by Mercado de San Miguel – we could have eaten there every day and never run out of options!

  2. I’m so jealous I wish I could visit such lovely places. The closest thing I have ever experienced is Napa Valley. My favorite wine is from Bennett Lane Winery. They have the best red and white blends and they offer a bunch of different types of wine. They have an awesome website

    Thank for a great blog

  3. This looks like my type of place Jess! Love the instructions on what to do when you get there but most of all I love your gorgeous helpers. So cute!

    1. Thanks so much Carlayn – it was so much fun…although I’m still recovering from all the travel (and eating)! 😉