Madrid's Market of Tapas
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
While on our last European adventure we got stranded in Madrid Spain. I guess getting stranded in Madrid isn't the worst thing in the world.
This was the beginning of our trip and we were ready to get our vacation on the way. We get to the airport, check in, and then all of a sudden- "There's a tornado in Dallas(where our connecting flight is) and all flights into Dallas have been canceled". This is when we get on our cell phones and start finding some alternatives. The "best" that the agents at the gate was telling people to come back the next day after the tornado was done and then proceed to the destination. Our destination was Paris and getting up at 4 am, for a 7am flight, just to get back to the airport wasn't in our plans. Not to mention that we had to be in Paris by 1 pm the following day to catch our connecting flight to Vienna Austria. This was our first trip planning mini layovers in different locations- there might be some unforeseen complications when you travel, so try to roll with the punches. Lewife hops on the phone with customer service and I get on google to find some flights to Paris. Turns out...no luck whatsoever. Lewife does find a flight going to Madrid however and the flight is with the One World Alliance.
One World Alliance
Yes, yes I know this article is supposed to be about food but airline information is needed.
Anyway, after traveling as much as we have we have become members with a few different airlines. This has been a benefit for cheap flights (the flight to Paris was only $138 for both of us, and it has benefits in rescheduling flights. There are a few different partnerships but this flight we were flying with American Airlines. American Airlines is in the OneWorld alliance-
The Oneworld Alliance was created in 1999. The desire was to be the first choice airline alliance for the world’s frequent international travelers. Their services and benefits, as first initially outlined were:
Smooth transfers for passengers traveling across all partners
Uniform and greater support to passengers regardless of member airline
Better round-the-world ticket offerings and routings
Enhanced cooperation to provide more rewards
Wider recognition and easier access to more airport lounges.
More codeshare agreements/connecting flights among member airlines
So knowing that American was in the OneWorld Alliance we looked at flights leaving San Francisco going pretty much anywhere in Europe. Iberia was that airline. We organized it over the phone, mention that you are a OneWorld Alliance member(but they will ask you member number over the phone). Also, it's a lot easier for customer service reps to find the flight you are trying to get on if you know the flight number-such as AA2734. After talking with them for a few minutes we secured a layover flight in Madrid. We were able to stop in Madrid for one night and then continue to Paris in the morning. I'll cut the details short *large breath* exceptwehadtoflyintoadifferentairportandthentakeabustotherightairportandthenmakeittoournextflightwithinthreehoursoflanding *exhale*.
Mercado De San Miguel-The Market of Tapas
After arriving in Madrid we headed to our hotel near the airport and slept for a few hours. After refreshing for a little bit we went into downtown. We had been to Madrid once before and had found some amazing places to eat.
We started off on Tripadvisor to find some of the highest rated tapas(small bites) in Madrid. We went to the location, in the middle of a small square in a residential part of town and then we remembered- MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL!
Well at this point our Uber had left and we were on the hunt to return to MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL. Turns out we were just two blocks away- God I love Europe.
A mixture of an indoor supermarket, butcher shop, bakery, fleamarket, bar (yes a mixture of all of those amazing things) and you get MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL. It may be muggy and hot outside-but the mercado has air conditioning for you. The mercado may be busy- but you will not wait long. The air may smell of paella- so you will eat some, after your cone of Iberico ham. Am I starting to show what this place is...
After you do a trip around the market you will need to divide and conquer what you want to get. Do you start with Spanish olives, or go straight to the empenadas? Fresh seafood or wine? Again, being stranded in Madrid wasn't so terrible.
If there is one thing that I can say negative about MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL is it's expensive. Yes you could find tapas at cheaper locations, and I'm sure that they are just as good down the street, but MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL is more of an experience than a restaurant. And if you are looking to scratch a tapas itch in Madrid there is no better spot.
The can't misses of Mercado De San Miguel
Paella, olives, ham oh my!
Start your round of tapas pleasure around the Paella stations. After getting your taste, go to the next store and get some iberico ham.
Just a basic overview- paella is a slow cooked rice dish that has a sticky consistency. It's flavored primarily with meat, seafood, garlic, stock, paprika, and saffron-make sure to get some of the crunch at the bottom of the pan. Iberico Ham- another Spanish delicacy- are acorn fed pigs that when properly sliced have a nutty and salty taste. It's no wonder why these hams sell up to $1000 per leg.
Following the paella and jamon iberico, make your way to the center of the market and pick up a few empenadas.
While you wait for the store owners to heat up the empanadas go to the next stall and pick up a fruity cocktail and have some of the best olives you will ever eat in your life! These Pelotin olives are simply the best we've ever eaten ever. They are small, with pits, but the flesh of the olive is very meaty and has a buttery olive flavor that whenever we go to Spain we make sure to seek them out.
At this point in your dining you might find yourself drawn to Spanish cheese or another round of meat.
One of the best things about this market is pricing is clearly labeled. As we mentioned before, this isn't the cheapest meal that you'll find in Madrid, but with the plethora of options and the sights and smells it is a must.
Don't forget to finish your tapas adventure without some good old fashioned desert. Or if you don't have a sweet tooth maybe nature's candy?
Whatever you might be in the mood for Mercado de San Miguel has something to fulfill your need- aslongaswhatyouarelookingforisSpanishtapas- and it is a must visit on your next trip to Madrid. You might even see us there enjoying it next to you.