Category Archives: Plaza Mayor

Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Madrid

What is it?

My favourite place in Madrid, this should be top of your to-do list.  With an energy and buzz that reminds me of New York, Mercado de San Miguel is what living is all about. Think Borough Market Spanish style and you’re getting a little closer to conjuring up the vibe of this gastronomical treasure.

What’s inside?

Step inside the elegant glass structure and you’ll enter what can only be described as a culinary Paradise. From seafood paella and every type of croqueta your heart could desire to oysters, frozen yoghurt and sweet treats to melt even the hardest heart, this is Eden if ever there was one.

Who goes there?

Full of tourists from every corner of the globe sipping wine and beer whilst savouring tapas at chic high tables running the length of the market, this is a place buzzing with energy. I’ll never forget visiting Mercado de San Miguel having just left the corporate world – the happiness etched across the market sellers’ faces was tangible and striking. Simple pleasures. Food for thought.

Will you like it?

And a food lover you should be if you come here. If you’re happiest eating, you’re in for a treat.

Why visit? 

This is a place which will tease every sense and catapult you full-throttle into joie de vivre.

The only warnings are as follows: 1) Don’t let your bag out of your sight 2) Bring an empty tummy 3) Be prepared to feel bloated after a visit.

This is an experience to be embraced. This is living.

Contact:

Plaza San Miguel, 28005, Madrid

Nearest tube: Opera

Las Carboneras, Madrid

Reputedly the best-known flamenco bar in Madrid, Las Carboneras is a once in a lifetime experience.

Where is it?

Nestled behind Mercado de San Miguel in a jazz-club like hideaway, this is a world away from the classic ‘one-man band’ flamenco show. Featuring a quartet of dancers (flanked by two singers and guitarists), they dance one by one in dimly-lit surrounds, their focus broken only by applause. The intensity of their footwork builds skyward through the wooden stage, interrupted occasionally by a pit-pat of cheers from their comrades.

What is it?

Flamenco may seem flamboyant, but this is a serious affair. Uniting passion and control, severity and seduction, the alluring and the disarming, this is mind-boggling, soul scratching stuff. The dancers’ rhythmic movements are mesmerising, enrapturing the audience in a trance-like state whilst keeping them at a distance all at once. For no matter how musical you may think you are, this is a beat you can’t catch. The singers’ soulful wailings may capture your soul but there’s an eerie divide between audience and performer that cannot be crossed. Like a witch casting a spell, it’s engaging and alienating all at once. Eerie, powerful, elusive, it’s about feeling, not thinking. Even the Rastas stage-side, renowned for their rhythm, couldn’t get the beat.

Why go?

With personas as different as chalk and cheese, from the flamboyance of the opening dancer throwing her peach train around the stage in peacock-like fashion to the terrifying severity of her velvet-clad counter-part, flamenco at Las Carboneras is a sight to behold. A feast for the senses if ever I saw one, it’ll leave you changed. Go.

Contact:

Website

Address: Plaza del Conde de Miranda, 1, 28005 Madrid

Tel: 915 42 86 77

Hours: 19:30-24:00

Tickets:

Drink and Show - 33.40 euros

Tapas and Show - 65 euros +