Alicante Central Market, tradition and a gourmet touch
Lovers of good food, especially Mediterranean, shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Alicante Central Market. An authentic popular market full of fresh and manufactured products, spread out over two floors of a beautiful building from the beginning of the 20th century located at the end of La Rambla in Alicante.
Their stalls display (and sell) the best fruits from the Levantine orchards, those from the Mediterranean coast and also many other products from distant lands, with the common denominators being quality and variety.
In any case, and even if you’re not a great fan of gastronomy, it’s worth taking a walk, if only out of curiosity, among the hundreds of stalls in Alicante’s Central Market, to observe and enjoy its magnificent daily atmosphere.
The Alicante Central Market and its historical context
The Alicante Central Market is, without a doubt, the biggest market in the city. Because nowhere else in this beautiful place can you find such a quantity and range of products, presented in the most diverse and attractive ways.
What’s more, with the exception of wholesale markets, it is also difficult to find elsewhere items as fresh and with as much quality as those on sale in the different stalls at the Alicante Central Market. In fact, these are the main hallmarks of this market, which began its journey at the beginning of the 20th century.
Alicante’s Central Market is actually the successor of two other markets that existed at the end of the 19th century (Puerta del Mar and García Calamarte), both of which were much smaller. They also weren’t very hygienic, which led the local authorities to decide to build a new sales centre, in accordance with the prevailing hygiene standards.
For the construction of Alicante’s new Central Market, part of the land occupied by the 17th century wall was used, which was built to defend the city from attacks of all kinds, which caused frequent disturbances in the lives of its inhabitants.
The project and construction were in turn commissioned to the architects Juan Vidal Ramos and Francisco Fajardo Guardiola. Both proposed a building with a rectangular shape, with large corridors and high ceilings, in line with the style of other markets of the time. For example the Valencia Central Market or Barcelona’s Boquería Market.
Typical products from Alicante in an eclectic market
The building of this food market has touches of Modernism and eclecticism. It was built, partly with brick, with a gable roof, spread over two floors and with large stained glass windows under the roof that combine to achieve a lovely natural lighting effect.
One of the most significant parts of this Central Market in Alicante is the so-called Rotonda, which occupies one of the sides of the main façade and is covered by a striking semi-spherical roof.
The almost 11,000 square metres of this market are occupied by nearly 300 stalls (commercial units). Most of them sell fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood (which occupy the bottom part), meat and sausages, poultry and eggs (which occupy the top part).
We must also mention the salted and picked product stalls… Many of these spaces have been refurbished in recent years, changing both their layout and their appearance, to adapt to the new times and attract a new, younger and more demanding public.
In this sense, stalls have also emerged specialising in other types of ingredients, such as oils, coffees, wines and all kinds of gourmet products. Some of the traditional stalls have been replaced by bars and small restaurants, ideal for the afternoon tradition of tardeo (an aperitif).
In other words, more and more residents and visitors to the city are coming to Alicante’s Central Market not with the intention of doing their daily shopping here, but to have a midday or after work aperitif.
In this sense, this is a great place to meet friends and family for a beer, wine or a vermouth and enjoy, right here, some of the best products Mediterranean gastronomy has to offer.
Interesting places at the Alicante Central Market
There is such a variety of products at Alicante’s Central Market that it becomes difficult to choose stalls, bars or restaurants without fear of missing out on some of the main ones. Even so, these are some of the best suggestions, both for buying and eating at the market itself:
- Cafeteria Anamar: a good place to have a bite, although the quantity may be more than expected. For example, its scrambled egg sandwiches with ham and cheese.
- José Fuster: this stall is one of the best known in the Alicante Central Market. And it is because of the quality of its bay fish and because several generations of people from Alicante have bought here, including several prestigious chefs.
- Juanelo: impressive for its selection of the best pieces of local and seasonal fish. The prices may be somewhat higher than those of other market stalls, but the quality warrants this.
- Juncal: this stall is a real temple of seafood. A good part of the items for sale come from the not so distant bays of Santa Pola and Villajoyosa (or Vila Joiosa).
- Salzillo: coffees with varying origins, exotic teas, infusions with all kinds of flavours and combinations and lots of herbs and spices. All this is the speciality of this fragrant stand.
- Katana: without a doubt this is one of the best gastronomic experiences at the Alicante Central Market. And also one of the most surprising. Peruvian, Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean fusion cuisine from the raw material that surrounds it, that is to say, what is found in the market stalls themselves. All based on a brilliant idea from the Italian Davide Bersan.
Information of interest
How to get to Mercado Central de Almería:
On foot: The market is located close to Puerta de Purchena and Avenida Federico García Lorca, one of the city’s main avenues.
By bus: Buses L2, L11 and L18 can drop you off near the market.
By car: It is best to leave your vehicle in the underground car park on Rambla Obispo, located by the market. The streets around the market are pedestrianised, so you won’t be able to park in the area.