Sunday 20 October 2019

Sarah Caden's Madrid Markets... variety is all in


Sarah Caden
Sarah Caden

Sarah Caden

A weekend is too short to spend on sit-down meals. If this is your attitude, then Madrid is the weekend destination of your dreams. Madrilenos are all about the small plates, while their food markets offer a glimpse of their 'marathon, not a sprint' approach to eating and drinking.

Madrid, bang in the centre of Spain, has a land-locked heat that makes it comfortable to stroll around, even in winter. And that's what they do there - wander from place to place, for small bites and beers.

Saturday afternoon, check out Platea, on the edge of the Barrio Salamanca designer shopping district. Here, you can nibble on seafood, oysters, dim sum, jamon and croquetas, while a DJ creates a chilled-club atmosphere in this former theatre.

On Saturday night, Chueca is the district to explore, where old-school and modern tapas bars sit cheek by jowl. Check out El Tigre, where they take the traditional approach of a free plate of tapas with every drink. En route from there to nearby upscale Mercado de San Anton, check out Kallo, a small brewery majoring in unusual and lively beers.

On Sunday, tourists predominate at Mercado San Miguel, close to Plaza Mayor. Nearby Mercado San Fernando is more rough and ready. The clientele seems almost strictly local, gathered for simple tortillas, spicy stews, South American specialities, and even Asian.

Variety is all in Madrid, and the markets are the measure of that. You won't go hungry, but you won't go to just one place, either.

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