Eating my way through Madrid: the market, the “museum of ham” & the tapas

by Karisa

Usually when I get to a new city, I kick things of with some major sightseeing.  But in Madrid, I kicked things off with some major eating! (followed by some major walking to keep a handle on my growing buttocks region)

3 cool eating spots I really loved were:

  • Mercado de San Miguel (Address: Plaza de San Miguel, s/n 28005):
    This market is open Mon to Sun – Mon, Tue, Wed & Sun from 10am to midnight and on Thu, Fri & Sat from 10am until 2am.
    It is the place for people to come together, chat, drink, eat and be happy (well I certainly was).  There’s everything from a little beer house, to a wine bar and various little tapas places where you can pull up a seat.  They also have a good selection of fresh & tasty things to take home with you and enjoy later.
    The night I was there, it was packed, and this was at 10:30pm, in the middle of the week.  So I can only imagine what it’s like on a Friday night.  Let me show you around:
  • If you’re a meat lover, then Museo del Jamon – which roughly translates to “Museum of ham” – is the place you wanna be. (Address:  they have a few stores across Madrid – I went to one just off Puerto del Sol on La calle de Alcalá)
    My trusty Eyewitness travel guide advised me to sample the Ibérico ham – it’s the most expensive and best and it’s made from (vegetarians, close your ears now) the small, black-hoofed Iberian pig.  It didn’t specify exactly which part, so I’ll leave that up to you to come up with a few guesses.  But what I can tell you is that it’s damn tasty.
    I also tried some of their salami & cheese, served on small bread rolls with a glass of wine and then they give you a free small portion of some kind of ham salad.  The salad was really yummy, the wine not so much – like drinking vinegar – but then again, you’re not really there for the wine, are you.DSC01115museodeljamonDSC01118If you like something, you can also purchase some ham in take-away form & scoff it down like a little piggy in your hotel room… #happiness
  • Then I tried a few tapas spots, but Casa Labra was definitely my favourite (Address: Calle Tetuan 12, close to Puerto del Sol).
    They’ve been around since the 19th century and they specialise in
    cod an cod croquettes.  It’s a great oldschool pub style eating & drinking spot.  You can see its jam-packed with cool history and it’s definitely a favourite amongst both locals and tourists alike.
    I went for a selection of their cod tapas, paired with a ice cold beer and it was simply heavenly.
    It was really busy when I got there, but a lovely old Spanish guy let me share his little standing table outside.  He couldn’t speak a word of English, and the only Spanish I know is how to say “one beer please” (that’s una cerveza por favor), but somehow by pointing at things in my travel guide, we managed to have a pretty indepth conversation about Madrid.  I really love unexpected travel moments like those…
    DSC01262DSC01263DSC01267The general vibe of the place is quite happy and relaxed and you see everyone there from the trendy 20 somethings to the “golden age” folks, all mixed together in one place.  I think that adds an extra special something to it.

Now obviously I could never get around to trying every awesome dining spot in Madrid, this city’s waaaaay to big.  But these were my favourites from the few days I was there and definitely the places I’d take people to if I ever have to play tour guide.

Basically you can get any and every type of food in Madrid.  The selection is great.  So foodies (and easy going eaters) should be very happy here.

Next up, we’ll take in the sights, the history & the culture…


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