The capital of Spain is a bustling, vibrant and cosmopolitan city where culture and cuisine come together to attract millions of tourists every year. In recent times, former street markets have become temples of the most sublime Spanish cuisine, served in a contemporary and casual setting. Mercado de San Miguel and Platea Madrid are perfect examples of this new trend.
One of these gastronomic enclaves is the new Mercado de San Ildefonso, opened in June 2014 and located in the old traditional emporium of the same name. It is a new concept for leisure, enjoyment and socializing around food, in the style of the street markets you find in cities like London, New York, Singapore or Bangkok.
San Ildefonso is an extension of the bustling, cosmopolitan Fuencarral Street where it is located. The market retains the original cobbled floor and is completely open to the outside through large casement windows.
You will not find stacked boxes of vegetables or fruit at San Ildefonso; nor will you see the meat or fresh fish for sale. The offer is based mainly on cooked products, upscale fast food if you will. It is perfect for a break after a day of shopping, or a place to meet friends after a hard day’s work. It is also an alternative for an aperitif, and a strategic stop for locals and tourists between the trendy neighborhoods of Malasaña, Chueca, and Tribunal.
The new San Ildefonso Market has nearly 7,500 square feet of space where visitors will find 18 food stalls, three bars with high tables flanked by stools, and two terraces. The main terrace has a wooden grandstand in the style of the neighborhood plazas. The second terrace is a secluded smoking corner, surrounded by greenery like a small urban park.
The interior design firm Cousi and Madrid’s Tenconten Studio opted for a layout that draws from the esthetics of industrial buildings. The roof is crisscrossed by metal beams and exposed pipes. It also has natural wood finishes, iron, copper, and steel, plus vintage Parisian lamps from the 1920s.
The stalls are famous for the quality and uniqueness of their food. Some of them enjoy a great culinary prestige, and the others belong to young emerging entrepreneurs with proven success. They all share a common goal: the passion for their craft and the desire to showcase the best cuisine in Spain. At San Ildefonso, you will find Iberian ham and sausages, cheeses, and gourmet burgers; fruit and slush, seafood, eggs prepared in various ways, coffees, champagne and a variety of interesting wines. You will not want to avoid the preserves and pickled vegetables, croquettes, fried fish, grilled vegetables and salads. All this in an innovative and fun space in the heart of Madrid. ■