The San Antón Market. Chueca’s culinary epicentre
Chueca is well known for being the centre of bars, restaurants and clubs for the LGTBI+ community, but has also become the focal point of attraction for national and international foodies thanks to its diverse culinary offerings in the new San Antón Market. Here you can find anything, from the finest delicatessen stalls to food bars where you can sit and enjoy their specialties accompanied by artisan beers, vermouths and quality wines. You can also enjoy dinner sat comfortably at the market’s rooftop restaurant or just have cocktails and drinks in the evening whilst you relax overlooking the rooftops of Madrid.
A market with history
The San Antón Market isn’t new. Despite its modern appearance, designed by the architects María García del Monte and Ana María Montiel Jiménez from the Ataria studio, the history of this market dates back to the nineteenth century. During that period, in Chueca, there was an outdoor flea market near the San Antón church. Later, in 1945 the market opened its doors for the first time and in the same place where it stands today, becoming for decades the main supplier of goods in the neighbourhood.
At that time it was an austere building, built of concrete pillars, an example of the scarce building materials available when Spain was still trying to recover from the misery caused by the Civil War. At the beginning of this century, the Asociación de Comerciantes del Mercado de San Antón (the market’s trade association) decided to modernise the market so that it would be more in line with the current era and the type of public that had been visiting Chueca since the end of the twentieth century, turning it into one of the most lively, original and influential neighbourhoods of the city.
Entering the San Antón Market
The façade of the San Antón Market is a large red brick canvas with no openings other than the large access doors, nothing like the austere building with a bright interior it was before. It has four commercial floors and three underground, these being the car park, storage rooms and refrigerated rooms.
From Augusto Figueroa street you can enter the Supercor supermarket located on the ground floor and access to the first floor via the escalators, where you will find fresh food stalls (butchers, fish mongers, delicatessen…) as well as other stalls selling cheeses, pickles and more goods. On this floor there is also a gastrobar, ideal for enjoying an aperitif and fine creative tapas.
The second floor of the San Antón Market is probably the most attractive due to the view of the market below. It is almost impossible not to take a photo overlooking the lower floors from here. This is the reasons why it is the most instagrammable area.
In addition, this floor is irresistible due to the aromas coming from the many food stalls (to take away or eat in), most of which have an open kitchen and prepare their dishes right in front of you. If you decide to eat here you must arrive early, even if it is only for an aperitif or a snack, as space is quite limited and the number of diners is high, especially during weekends and holidays.
The stalls offer quality drink as well as sea food, smoked products, sushi, foie gras, Canarian style food, typical tapas and there is also an interesting (because of its variety) wine bar. For those that have a sweet tooth you can enjoy dessert at one of the San Antón Market’s patisseries.
Restaurant with terrace and incredible views
On the roof is the terrace and restaurant La Cocina de San Antón, one of the liveliest places of the San Antón Market at any time of day. It is the perfect place to use as an excuse to meet friends, colleagues and family. When the weather is nice, their 400 m2 terrace-lounge turns into the best place to enjoy an aperitif overlooking the rooftops of the neighbourhood and part of the centre of Madrid.
Whether you decide to have lunch or dinner, the restaurant offers a varied menu of dishes made with seasonal products inspired by national and international cuisine. La Cocina de San Antón has a close tie with Cinco Jotas, who produce one of the best acorn-fed Ibérico hams in the country, as well as other meat products coming from their legendary Iberian pigs.
Something to remember is that with their Cooking Experience you can buy any products from any of the stalls in the market and take them to the restaurant to have them cooked by one of their chefs to your liking.
After dinner, the San Antón Market terrace turns into one of the most popular and lively places in Chueca. Its views and atmosphere are one of the main reasons for its popularity, as well as its cocktail bar, where gin and tonics are made with gins from a variety of countries.
Their experts in mixology show outstanding creativity. In addition, their opening hours are quite extensive, so you can enjoy the first drinks of the night here and then continue in the many bars and restaurant of the area, not only for the LGBTI+ community.
Information of interest
How to arrive
- Metro: Chueca and Gran Vía stations
- Bus: EMT, lines 2 and 3
- Train: Renfe Cercanías [Commuter trains] (Recoletos station)