Let's Tapear! The Madrid Tapas Route
Mercado de San Miguel
First of all, congratulations. You are at the Mercado de San Miguel, a real foodie heaven of Madrid.
My name’s Melissa, and I’m an English teacher and sometimes writer, living in this wonderful city I call home. On one of my first trips here, a friend insisted that I come and try the tapas bar just inside the main entrance of the Mercado de San Miguel. So it's the perfect place to start a tour about tapas in Madrid.
Before we start walking, let me explain a few things. You should be standing opposite the ‘Mercado de San Miguel’. It has a large, wrought iron structure on its roof with the words ‘Mercado de San Miguel’ on it. There are also steps leading up to large glass doors in front of it. If you can see that, you’re in the right spot.
Also, please keep your phone out of sight or in a pocket or a bag. Madrid isn’t unsafe but you're more likely to find pickpockets and thieves here in the centre.
Take note, some of the spots on this tour don't accept credit cards. This is often the case with the more traditional tapas bars so make sure you come armed with cash.
In general, you can expect to pay between 2.50 and 7 euros for a single tapa so the average price for one tapa might be around 5 euros.
If you need to draw cash before we get going there's an ATM not far from here at number 9, Plaza de San Miguel. To get there walk down the right side of Mercado de San Miguel, turn right at the T junction and you'll find a BBVA ATM on your left. Just pause the tour, then come back to this spot and resume when you're ready.
[2 SECOND PAUSE]
So, before the Mercado de San Miguel existed a church stood here. That church was knocked down in 1809 and out of the rubble, a new market grew.
This new market was based outside on the cobbled streets until the late 1800s, when officials realised that an open-air market in the city centre posed certain public health issues.
So, in 1915 they decided to install a covered market and the result is the Parisian-style structure you see today. The structure underwent conservation works in 1999 but, despite this upgrade, the market's fortunes were already on the wane because of competition from local supermarkets.
Eventually a group of architects and gastronomes, collectively known as ‘El Gastrónomo de San Miguel’, came to the rescue, with a concept that dramatically reversed the market's fortunes.
Nowadays, the Mercado is a gourmet attraction where you'll find a range of gastronomical treats. There are around thirty stalls inside, run by some of Spain’s most successful food producers.
There is freedom to wander around the Mercado de San Miguel. The only downside to this market can be the crowds.
One more thing, I'll be pointing out quite a few spots along the way. If you want to stop at any of the places for a bite or drink, just end the tour. When you're ready to keep going, choose to resume the tour from the closest location. This will ensure you get directions on where to go next.
So let's get going. With the Mercado de San Miguel on your right, start walking along the road and keep to the left.
I'll briefly explain how VoiceMap works as you go.
It uses your location to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. This means that you can put your phone away now. Don't worry if I'm silent for a while, when I'm not giving directions or telling stories. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know.