Tapa Thursdays: The Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid

When I came to Spain to study, my first meal was far from memorable – a slop of mayonnaise, potatoes and nothing else discernable. I was convinced that I didn’t like Spanish food, nervous to move back and not whiddle away to nada.

Turns out, I like Spanish food, and a little too much.

I was invited on the Signature Tour of Madrid Food Tours, a relatively young business venture designed to showcase the Spanish capital’s culinary treats. Mercado de San Miguel was one of our locations along a route that included several stops and twice as many tapas.

The market was bustling, even at 11:30 in the morning. Stands ring the outside of the glass-plated hall, with high tables in the middle, making the market an idea place to mingle. Vendors sold everything from vermouth and Spanish wines, to pintxos and paellas that were ready to eat, to dried legumes and fresh seafood. A treat for both my eyes and my stomach, as we stopped to sample several foods along the way.

The market has a long history – from the times of Napoleon when it was an open-air market! The market then moved indoors, as an iron and glass structure was made to house it. In 2009, it reopened as a gastronomic capital, becoming popular with tourists who visit Madrid for its proximity to the historic center.

If you go: the Mercado de San Miguel is mere steps away from the Plaza Mayor and Calle Mayor in a square of the same name. From Sunday – Wednesday, vendors are open from 10am until midnight, with hours extended until 2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Go with an empty stomach for nibbling!

I was invited as the gracious guest of Madrid Food Tour, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I feel one of the reasons we’re friends is because we both enjoy eating way more than is healthy.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Shouldn’t you be in bed?! Don’t you have a job now to get up for!? And, when you and the Sister Wife make your trip out here, Ishall fetch you from the airport in Madrid and take you here to munch. It can get overwhelming, but it’s a great introduction to madrileño food. Or, I’ll just have Lauren take you while I stay in Seville.

      • My job doesn’t start until Monday. I shalst send you an email tomorrow. It’s literally on my to-do list! And I’ll fast for a week so I can truly all that España has to offer.

      • *truly enjoy

        Ok, now I’ll go to bed.

  2. Aw, San Miguel! There is an olive stand there where I’ve tried some of the best olives I can remember!

    Sometimes the market has special events, too; 2 years ago I went there on Christmas Eve to hear a choir sing carols. This turned out to be hilarious–the carolers downed a drink after every song and by the end were having more fun than the audience.
    Cassandra recently posted..Gallivanting to GuimarãesMy Profile

  3. ah, I love this mercado!! and hubby was in heaven once he found those oysters 😉

    say, don’t you mean extended to 2 a.m. (instead of p.m.) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday? makes more sense yes?
    tobyo recently posted..Our visit to Córdoba, EspañaMy Profile

  4. I know for a fact that the mercado is open longer than 2 PM Thursday-Saturday. 😀 I went there many times while living in Madrid, usually on the weekends and it was definitely open then. Probably just a typo, like Tobyo said.

    I loved taking friends here who were visiting Madrid for the first time, it felt like a great intro to Spanish food. My parents loved it when they came to visit me. Pretty sure I got my parents to try croquetas from the same croquetas stand.
    amelie88 recently posted..Road tripping à la française (part 4): Saint-Suliac, fish nets, and Beauty and the Beast?My Profile

  5. I love these kinds of markets. Reminds me of Borough market in London. YUM!
    Forest Parks recently posted..Budget Bus Travel in New Zealand: My Comprehensive GuideMy Profile

  6. Sorry forgot to check the notify of new posts by mail button :), so leaving a new comment to do so!
    Forest Parks recently posted..Budget Bus Travel in New Zealand: My Comprehensive GuideMy Profile

  7. You lucky little … being invited, sigh!
    Kaley [Y Mucho Más] recently posted..Literal TranslationMy Profile

  8. Whoa! I can’t believe how late they are open (although I know that’s not so late for Spain standards I guess). Too great.
    Alex @ ifs ands & butts recently posted..mercado de san miguel.My Profile

  9. I would TOTALLY go there. It looks amazing!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..Travel Writers’ Guide: 110 Street Markets Around the WorldMy Profile


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