One of my current favourite places in Madrid to have tapas is San Miguel Market, in the centre of the city. It is one of the most ancient markets in the city and recently it has been transformed in a gourmet area, very attractive for locals and tourists.
It is located in a remarkable turn of the 20th century building which seems somewhat out of place among the stone and mortar buildings that surround it. And it is a beautiful example of iron-made architecture with a beautiful roof, columns and decoration that have been able to stand on foot. Now this ancient market has been transformed in a gourmet area.
Before it was a market there had been a church, which burnt down and was finally demolished in the times of Jose Bonaparte. Afterwards a market took place in this area. It was dedicated to fresh products, especially fish.
In 1909 the current San Miguel Market was built following the style of the markets in Paris with big glass and iron buildings. During the Civil War the market was closed but fortunately not destroyed. In 1951 it reopened selling mostly products from the areas surrounding Madrid and provided many well known restaurants with its goods like Lhardy, Casa Botin o Edelweis.
In the last year of the XXth century the activity of the market decreased and in 2003 the building was bought by a group, El Gastronomo de San Miguel, and the restructuring began. The building itself redesigned in order to maintain the historic aspects and also fulfil the needs of today.
The market is set up by means of two central mall kiosks with high tables along the place and there are 33 stands in hands of professionals that not only sell their their products, but also offer their advise to the clients. There is a flower shop, a fishmonger, a butcher, a bakery among many other stands offering all kinds of food and also kitchen utensils and even a bookstore related to cuisine. The offer is really wide: Swedish tapas, oysters, bulk fruits, cold meats, chocolates, ice creams, fresh pastas, a great variety of cheeses, handmade, organic baker’s shops, etc.
In short, it is a wonderful place to have some tapas or drink some wine or beer. A place not to be missed if you are visiting Madrid, it is really worth to step inside if you are by the Main Square (in fact, it is located just 60 meters from it). And like I was telling you in the beginning of the post, it is one of the places I love most in Madrid, really yummy!